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