When we think of Thomas Chippendale, let us never forget his greatest achievement: Cutting his dovetails tails-first. That, and trolling the Frenchies in his workshop for cutting the joint in the opposite manner.
And chairmaker Robert Manwearing, who shall be forever remembered for keeping his chisels sharp with Belgian coticule stones only. None of that low-rent Turkey-stone rubbish with a loogie for lube. (If it ain’t from the Ardennes, it’s crap.)
We all know that Batty Langley was perhaps the world’s biggest fiend for sloping gullets, especially when it came to backsaws he filed for cutting miters. Whilst some might remember his pamphlet “The City and Country Builder’s and Workman’s Treasury of Designs,” his true fame came when he switched to Swiss triangular files, changing the face of the craft forever.
George Hepplewhite worked secretly in metric, which is why the “Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Guide” remains one of the most sought-after pattern books of the late 18th century. The base 10 that is hidden in plain sight in that book will blow your mind, as it has blown the skulls of secret metricians for generations.
And let us never forget Robert and James Adam, who used only second-hand tools that were scrounged from carriage boot sales. They made their own tack rags with only the finest waxes – carnauba, bee and ear – which is why every student at North Bennet Street dresses up as one of the brothers at Halloween.
We will never forget our woodworking heros: William Morris used only a 1:7 dovetail slope to bring handcrafted furniture to the masses. Charles Rennie Mackintosh insisted on a 30° primary bevel and a 5° back bevel on his plane irons, which is why the Glasgow School endures. Gustav Stickley used only laminated steel chisels, which changed the course of furniture design between 1898 and World War I.
And – of course – Sam Maloof used only Titebond II, which spawned two generations of imitators to his curvaceous, Titebond II style.
— Christopher Schwarz
17 thoughts on “Remember This”
The thing you have to remember about satire is that there are always some people who will take you seriously.
The truly wonderful thing about satire is how few appreciate it as such.
A little too much Happy Water, methinks
Beautiful. ‘Nuf said.
Tails first, but only 14 degrees, and nothing but. 1:7 might as well be finger joints.
Half pin on top and half tail on the bottom for drawers.
Crosscut carcase saw for everything, including dovetails.
Tack rags made from the tallow of pendants is best.
35 degrees for everything.
And most important, always Titebond I over Titebond II. Always.
Anyone who says differently is selling something.
I didn’t see that tool he is holding in ATC. Is that a muffler bearing spanner?
Are you considering playwriting? Lots of good material there.
Great posting with context and humor….
Pffff… You probably typed this up on an Apple computer.
If it weren’t for my MacBook Air, I would have never sold a single book.
And let us always remember Christopher Schwarz and his founding of the order of the sacred woobie with it’s followers motto “May your microfiber always be squishy.”
“If it ain’t from the Ardennes, it’s crap.” The same holds true for one day classics in cycling…
La Doyenne is quite the race… La Flèche Wallonne ain’t half bad either.
This makes me think of the Bruces’ Philosophers Song.
There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ya
’bout the raising of the wrist…..
I will accept these entirely and wholly as Gospel and forever preach them to all who will listen.
Thank you for the enlightenment, Chris. It has forever affected my life.
Also, I’ve already forgotten what I had for breakfast today. Pretty sure most of the above will be lost shortly after I click “Post Comment”…
I was taking woodworking classes at a college in LA, and we visited Sam Maloof in his shop. Titebond III was a new product, and there was a bottle on his bench. The next week at school, a lot of TB III showed up on peoples’ benches.
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