Good morning! I hope you all had a good weekend and are ready for the week to get rolling. I know I’m not (I’m blaming it on allergies) but here’s hoping better things for you. It’s a big week with Woodworking in America taking place so take time to read the forum now before you start trying to keep up with all that is going on in Cincinnati. Remember, if you have a question about our products, procedures in our books or anything related to Lost Art Press, the fastest way to get an answer is our forum. Check it out here.
Plow Plane: Avoiding Tear-out Adrian is making frame-and-panel doors with quartersawn wood that has some wild grain on the edges. The question is, are there any tricks for avoiding tear-out on the edges of the groove? Weigh in here.
Barrister Book Shelf Russell has some antique and collectible books that he would like to protect and he is considering building a barrister book shelf to do so. He is wondering if anyone out there has built one before. Perhaps you have some pointers for him?
Shellac and Milk Paint Has anyone used shellac over milk paint? And if so, how did it turn out? A few readers have given there opinions and one caught my eye. George coated his milk paint with General Finishes Enduro and I loved the result (picture at top). What is your solution?
Roy’s Spring Pole Lathe Completed I have seen a lot of people excited to try building this project shown in Popular Woodworking Magazine. This is the first image I have seen of someone’s completed project. Congrats Markus, and it sounds like you are having a lot of fun with it!
It was a grueling week at the Appalachian Shangri-la as Michele and I spent more than 40 hours reviewing the page proofs of “Roubo on Furniture Making;” me reading aloud every jot and tittle (including punctuation and typography), while she followed along in my replica of the original French volume. It was a paradoxical sprint and marathon as we raced to review in minute detail each word, number and illustration of the new almost-450-page book. We stopped frequently to clarify the meaning or context of a word, phrase, or sometimes even a whole paragraph, leaving approximately a bazillion notations on the pages, mostly about capitalization and italics.
One thing is certain – it does reinforce the assertion that “l’Art du menuisier” was a work for the Ages and can serve as a vital part of any contemporary woodworker’s tutelage, now and for the conceivable future.
Consuming the entire manuscript in one stretch gave us, for the first time, the so-called “view from 40,000 feet.” And what a magnificent view it is! Not only did our appreciation grow through this high-altitude panorama, but we also began to notice subtle and not-so-subtle themes emerging, concepts and phrases we had not noticed before when we were focusing on much smaller units of the whole. This new appreciation was so affecting it provided us with the impetus to actually change the name of the book.
For our first volume, “Roubo on Marquetry,” I chose the lead portion of the title, “To Make As Perfectly As Possible,” from a phrase that Roubo used as exhortation throughout those sections of his original masterpiece. Never mind that it brought about perhaps the most unwieldy title of any woodworking book anywhere, ever. “To Make As Perfectly As Possible: Roubo on Marquetry” does not roll effortlessly off the tongue or the keyboard. Our expectation was that this lead phrase would serve equally well in the title for “Roubo on Furniture Making” and any subsequent volumes, which it would have done admirably, but after this week we are heading in a new rhetorical direction.
Throughout the often lengthy, detailed passages – and “Roubo on Furniture Making” is almost twice as long as “Roubo on Marquetry” – the Master invoked the sentiment and phrase, “with all the precision possible,” and we are eagerly purloining it as our own for this book.
So, I will be hand-delivering our marked-up copy of the proofs of “With All The Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture Making” to Lost Art Press this coming Thursday at the Crucible Tool premier.
John and I finished building the above rolling book display this afternoon. Pocket screws and Dragonply aren’t my favorite materials, but they do get the job done in a hurry.
If you are in the area tomorrow, please stop by and check out our new holdfasts, T-shirts and two new Roman workbenches. Also, the Main Strasse Oktoberfest celebration is running this weekend. Good news: good beer and sausages are two blocks away. Bad news: Parking won’t be as easy.
No matter who shows up, I’ll be there rasping my new vise nuts so they fit my hands just right. (Wow, after reading that sentence I doubt anyone will show up tomorrow.)
A few days ago I was working my way through a German website and in a footnote came across two verses of a 19th century Shaker song. I found the song in the Smithsonian Folkways collection and it turns out the two verses on the German site were the second and third verses. Here are the notes from the Smithsonian collection:
“They sang whenever there was an appropriate occasion…at work…at social gatherings…while marching from one place to another.
One of the songs they sang while at work expresses eloquently their passion for perfection in everything they did and in every item they made.”
So far I have not found the title of the song (if there is one), no sheet music and no recording. It is up to you to sing the song as you see fit.
Next week, Woodworking in America will command all our attention. We’ll be selling books and tools in the Marketplace, Raney Nelson and I will be teaching classes upstairs for registrants and we will officially launch Crucible Tool. Here are some details.
Crucible Tool We’re holding a launch party on Thursday night at our Covington storefront. We are booked up, so if you don’t have a ticket, please visit us in the Marketplace on Friday and Saturday where we will have tools for you to check out. During the launch event, we will demonstrate (and sell) our holdfasts and the second tool in our line.
I’ll be honest, we have been working like crazy to build up inventory, but I’m not sure how many units of our tools we will have on hand. Getting our production levels cranked up has been a challenge.
Lost Art Press Lost Art Press and Crucible Tool will share a booth at the Marketplace for Woodworking in America. We’ll be selling our full line of books and tools – plus special T-shirts and posters. You’ll be able to try the tools out, check out all our books and even try out the two Roman workbenches I’ve built this summer.
However, we won’t have our storefront on Willard Street open during Woodworking in America. Our companies are – in essence – three guys. And we will both be working hard at Woodworking in America with no time to keep the storefront open. Sorry. I wish we had a way to make everyone happy here.
Classes at Woodworking in America I’ll be teaching three classes at Woodworking in America and moderating a roundtable discussion amongst the leading planemakers of the day. Raney Nelson, who is one of the three principals at Crucible, will also be teaching classes. Check out his classes here. Here are the official descriptions of my classes:
Nails & the Decline of Western Civilization Class Times: Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. In the early 19th century, nails represented one-half of one percent of the country’s GNP. That percentage is equivalent to everything that everyone in the country today spends on computers and personal technology in a year (a lot). This country was built with nails. But about 1860, something horrible happened: Nails became terrible, and furniture makers rightly turned their backs on this once-critical fastener. What happened? And what can we do to restore the nail to its rightful place in the shop and as a historical hero? It’s easier than you think. Come learn everything you need to know about nails.
The Roman Workbench – How does it Work? Class Times: Sunday, 8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. The Romans (or perhaps the Greeks) invented the woodworking bench, and this robust and simple design lasted more than 1,500 years. Then the form disappeared. Christopher Schwarz has spent years studying benches, and he’s built two of the most famous Roman-style workbenches: one from 79 AD that was shown at Herculaneum, and another from 1505 that was both the last Roman bench and the first modern one – a fascinating example. During this session, Chris takes you on a tour of how these two benches work and shares his thoughts on why they have survived in isolated pockets of civilization, such as Estonia and rural Maine. Participants will even get the opportunity to try the benches for themselves.
Build a Chair without Chairmaking Tools Class Times: Sunday, 11:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. Many woodworkers are put off by chairmaking because you typically need a lot of specialty tools, green wood and skills that are outside of the typical garage workshop. For the last 12 years, Christopher Schwarz has been developing a number of techniques and joints that allow the typical entertainment-center-building woodworker to make a traditional chair without investing in a lot of new tools, having to take a week-long class or having to chop down a tree. If you own a jack plane, a brace and a spokeshave you are almost there. Come see.
Planemaker’ Roundtable Class Times: Saturday, 1:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. The plane is one of the fundamental tools of woodworking – even if you use machines, you likely pull out a block plane from time to time. In this roundtable discussion, Christopher Schwarz moderates a discussion of handplanes in the modern shop. With Konrad Sauer, Raney Nelson, Caleb James, Terry Saunders of Lee Valley, Thomas Lie-Nielsen of Lie-Nielsen and more.
Somehow all of this will happen, and it will be as mind-blowingly awesome as it always has been for the last eight years. So if you are in Covington next week, please stop by the booth and say hello.