Article Index Arts Mysteries

Arts & Mysteries: Joyners vs. Carpenters, 1631

Period woodworking trades in London were strictly regulated. by Peter Follansbee pages 58-60 I’ve temporarily put down my 5⁄16″ joiner’s mortising chisel in favor of a 2″ chisel for chopping carpenter’s mortises. I’m timber framing a workshop, and while whomping away on 2″-wide mortises, I have time to think. My principal...

Arts & Mysteries: Give Me a Brake

Get some splitting leverage with this simple contraption. by Peter Follansbee pages 58-59 Reach for a froe, and you should immediately think, “Give me a brake.” The brake can be a constructed workholding device, or just a couple of logs. Its function is to trap your workpiece in such a way...

Arts & Mysteries: Furniture – It’s Meant to be Used

In some contemporary households, 17th-century style storage prevails. by Peter Follansbee pages 58-59 I once sold a chair to a woman who later told me how much she loved it. “I never let anyone sit in it!” she exclaimed, apparently to show me how special it was to her. I told...

Arts & Mysteries: A Disappearing Favorite

Will our grandchildren ever get to work with lightweight, versatile ash? by Peter Follansbee p. 50 My kids are often telling me that this or that toy is their favorite, but it seems that there are several that get this descriptor. Maybe they are rubbing off on me, but I find...

Arts & Mysteries: 21st-century Craft Education

Always remember where you (and your work) came from. by Peter Follansbee page 46 How we go about learning to build “period” furniture today is nothing like what the makers of our study pieces did. In the pre-Industrial era, apprenticeship was the principal method of learning any trade. In the English...

Arts & Mysteries: Pre-anarchist’s Tool Chest

‘Thixtell?’ ‘Wymble?‘ Legal records reveal some curious period tools. by Peter Follansbee page 22 Centuries before we all read Christopher Schwarz’s “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” (Lost Art Press), craftsmen compiled lists of what they perceived as a basic set of tools for a young man starting his career in the woodworking...

Lighting Matters

Raking light through windows is the clear winner in a hand-tool shop. by Peter Follansbee page 60 In 2007, I was a speaker at Colonial Williamsburg’s Furniture Forum, and there I met Adam Cherubini. He was in costume in the parking lot, talking period furniture and tools to anyone who’d listen....

Don’t be Such a Square

Make a 45° miter square with help from dividers and a straightedge. by Bob Rozaieski pages 58-50 The very first lesson any woodworker learns is that precise work requires square corners. We ensure that stock is square before cutting any joinery. We check to make sure that casework is square during...