Bit-and-Brace

Bits-and-braces, similar to drills and augers, work by means of either a "twist" (a single-inclined planed wrapped as a helix around a shaft), or a sharpened "spoon" set at the end of a shaft. The "bit" is the cutting part of the tool, and bits are also part of drills and augers. Spoon bits are... Continue Reading →

A Late Period Box Stool

Dedication In A.S. LIV I was honored to be asked by Their Majesties to steward Collegium.  Any event, of course, is a team effort.  Kingdom events add more complexity.  Collegium had the added labor of creating and managing a large on-line database and repository of scholarly works.  This last part was well beyond my skill... Continue Reading →

Saws

I use two types of handsaws during cabinetry: cross-cut and rip saws.  The difference between saws for cross-cutting (sawing perpendicular to the grain) and ripping (sawing parallel to the grain) lie in the tooth shape.  The teeth of cross-cut saws are shaped like the points of knives, whereas those of rip saws are shaped like... Continue Reading →

Axes

Axes are ancient tools, long pre-dating the Middle Ages. During the medieval period they were used for nearly every stage of cabinetry. "Two-handed axes" (axes with long handles, swung with both hands) were the foremost tool for felling trees and cutting wood. These axes had dual-inclined planes, meaning they were beveled on both sides of... Continue Reading →

Mallet

Wooden mallets were ubiquitous amongst the tools of medieval cabinetmakers.  These tools are easily made from scrap wood, customizable, and (unlike iron or steel hammers) do not damage the objects which they are used to strike. As a tool, mallets are force-multipliers: increasing the human arm's ability to drive trenails and dowels, coerce joints to... Continue Reading →

Chisels

Throughout the making of every piece of mobilier I've created, I have found chisels to be essential for paring the cheeks and shoulders of tenons, wasting-out mortises, and forming the dado (groove) on the sides of drawers. Chisels carve or cut by virtue of a single-inclined plane (i.e. beveled on only one side) blade and... Continue Reading →

A Processional for Gerald

The Priory of Saint Catherine, assembled for Gerald's elevation to the Order of the Laurel. Having written lyrics for two peerage elevations before, I had started to feel comfortable in composing them. So when Dame Cristiana asked me to help with Gerald's surprise elevation, I jumped at the chance to write something for this dear... Continue Reading →

From Tree to Chest

Preface As my interest in vernacular furniture has grown, so has my curiosity about the processes which went into making household items. What tools were used to shape and join them? What were the materials and how were those materials prepared? What methods of production did cabinetmakers practice? Inspired by the late Jennie Alexander, author... Continue Reading →

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