Many of you have followed the adventures of “To Make As Perfectly As Possible” for years, including the frustrating chaos of our document flow during Roubo on Marquetry. I am happy to say that most of that particular set of headaches was solved at the outset of “Roubo on Furniture Making,” which is now in the hands of the Lost Art Press elves who make magic happen.
From the outset of “Roubo on Furniture Making,” I treated every individual plate and its accompanying text as a stand-alone unit. Given the badminton game that emerges from creating a volume such as this, that strategy was a lifesaver. Consider the minimum possible travels for each word:
- Michele transliterates the French text. Because she is a translating machine this is actually the least time-consuming part of the project. By far.
- I receive Michele’s transliteration and massage it as extensively as necessary to make it comprehensible to a 21st-century craftsman. This is usually the most time-consuming part of the project.
- My edited and annotated text goes back to Michele to make sure I am not misrepresenting the text.
- Michele reviews it and send is back to me. (Actually, the preceding two steps are repeated several times until we are in agreement.)
- Once we are in agreement we sit together, literally side-by-side as I read aloud every word of the English manuscript while she follows the original French text. We stop and discuss as often as necessary, which can be pretty often.
- Once we complete the read-through, it goes to Philippe Lafargue in France to read our product with the eye of a native Frenchman trained in chairmaking at Ecole Boulle.
- Philippe returns it to me, and I massage his comments into a completed whole.
- It then goes to LAP for a first round of editing.
- It is returned to me to review and if necessary to revise the edits.
- It goes back to Michele and Philippe for one last look.
- Then it goes back to LAP, and they begin to do the magic that they do to make it into a physical book.
To give you a sense of the scale for “Roubo on Furniture Making” (almost twice as big as “Roubo on Marquetry”) we have included the following plates:
Plate 4: The Way to Stack and Saw Wood
Plate 5: The Processes and Tools Used By Sawyers
Plate 8: Samples of Joinery
Plate 9: Doubled Assemblies with Dovetails
Plate 10: Jupiter’s Thunderbolt Joints for Lengthening
Plate 11: Interior View of a Woodworking Atelier
Plate 12: Tools Appropriate for Sawing Wood
Plate 13: Tools Appropriate for Smoothing Wood
Plate 100: The Way to Take Measurements of the Woodwork and to Draw it on the Plan
Plate 101: The Way to Prepare Woodwork to Receive Carved Ornaments
Plate 102: Ways to Glue Wood in Panels Flat and Curved
Plate 103: The Way to Construct Columns in Wood
Plate 104: How to Construct the Bases, the Capitals and the Entablatures in Wood
Plate 105: The Different Ways to Glue Curved Wood
Plate 223: Elevations of Many Modern Chairs
Plate 224: Different Sorts of Folding Seats with Their Illustrations
Plate 225: Plans and Elevations of Different Types of Stools and Benches
Plate 226: Side Views and Elevations of a “Queen’s Chair”
Plate 227: The Way to Make Serpentine Legs, and How to Prepare Frames to Receive Upholstery
Plate 228: The Upholstery of Seats with Caning and the Art of Caning in General
Plate 229: Selection of the Cane, the way of Splitting it and the Caners’ Tools
Plate 230: Developments of the Various Operations of Caning
Plate 231: Plans and Elevations of Cabriolet Armchairs
Plate 232: Different Ways to Construct Arm Rests
Plate 233: Designs and Elevations for a Desk Armchair
Plate 234: The Manner of Determining the Desired Center of All Sorts of Seats
Plate 235: Plans and Illustrations of Many Stylish Chairs
Plate 236: The Plan and Elevation of a Sofa
Plate 237: Illustrations of Many Large Sofas
Plate 238: Way to Draw a Full-scale Pattern of the Curve of a Seat
Plate 239: Development of the Curves of Seat Twisted and Flared
Plate 240: Plans and Illustrations of Different Sorts of Bathtubs
Plate 241: Side-Views and Elevations of Various Convenience Chairs
Plate 242: The Design and Illustration of a French Bed
Plate 243: Development of French Beds
Plate 244: Plans, Sections and Elevations of Different Pavilions
Plate 245: The Way to Draw Extended Curves in use on Bed Canopies
Plate 246: Elevations of a French Bed
Plate 247: Description of Polish-style Beds, their Proportions Shapes and Decoration
Plate 248: Illustrations of a Turkish-style Bed and Its Developments
Plate 249: Plan and Elevations of a Campaign Bed with Its Illustrations
Plate 250: Different types of Seats and Folding Beds or Campaign Beds
Plate 251: Diagrams and Illustrations of a Table and a Camp Bed with their Developments
Plate 252: Description of Daybeds, some Cradles and Cots
Plate 253: Different Types of Table Legs and Their Development
Plate 254: Different Forms and Constructions of Dining Tables
Plate 255: Plans and Elevations of Billiard Tables and Their Development
Plate 256: A Continuation of Description of a Billiard Table and the Instruments that are Necessary to this Game.
Plate 257: Elevations of a shuffleboard and of a Card Table, with its Illustrations
Plate 258: Plans, Cross Sections and Elevations of a Three-way Table
Plate 259: Other Sorts of Game Tables and Their Development
Plate 260: Plans and Elevations of a Desk with its Developments
Plate 261: Plans and Elevations of a Closed Desk
Plate 262: Plans and Elevations of a Roll-top Desk
Plate 263: Further Developments of Roll-Top Desks and Other Writing Tables
Plate 264: Plans and Elevations of a Secretaire and Some of their Developments
Plate 265: Another Portable Secretaire and Small Writing Table
Plate 266: Plans, Sections and Elevations of a Dressing Table and of a Night Table
Plate 267: Elevations of Different Legs of Ornate Tables
Plate 268: Different Types of Screens
Plate 269: Plans and Drawings of an Armoire
Plate 270: Sections and Development of the Armoire Represented in the Preceding Plate
Plate 271: Various Sorts of Shelves and the Profiles Appropriate for Armoires
Plate 272: Plan, Section and Elevation of Buffets
Plate 273: Developments of the Buffet Represented in the Preceding Plate
Plate 274: Side View and Elevations of a Common Commode
Plate 275: Small Commodes, Corner-pieces and Chiffoniers
Plate 276: Plans, Sections and Elevations of a Secretaire in Shape of an Armoire
Plate 308: Squares, the English Saw, and Other tools used by Cabinetmakers
Plate 309: The Bench Lathe for Furnituremakers
Plate 310: Different Poppets, Supports and Tools for Turning
Plate 311: Screw Taps and the Wooden Dies used by Cabinetmakers
Plate 312: Some Machines Appropriate for Making Fluting for Cylinders and Cones
Plate 313: Developments of the Machine for Cutting Flutes
Plate 314: Description of the Machine Commonly Called the Tool for Waves, and the Way of Making Use of It in Different Ways
Plate 315: The Development of the Machine Represented in the Preceding Plate.
Plate 316: More on the Tool for Wave-Making Mouldings
Plate 317: Different Types of Vises for Locksmithing
Plate 318: Different Tools for Working Hard Woods, used by Cabinetmakers
Plate 319: Different Tools Appropriate for piercing metals, used by Cabinetmakers
On top of these sections will be numerous essays enhancing the explanations of the original text.
I hope you will agree that it will be a robust contribution to the body of historic knowledge in the arsenal of contemporary woodworkers.
— Don Williams, www.donsbarn.com
(Editor’s note: “Roubo on Furniture Making” is scheduled for a 2016 release. There will be standard, deluxe and ebook versions of the volume, just like with “Roubo on Marquetry.” More details to come when they are available.)