Author Topic: Traditional methods and techniques...  (Read 4431 times)

Allan D. Brown

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Traditional methods and techniques...
« on: August 29, 2008, 03:46:18 PM »
Adam Cherubini's articles/blogs have fueled my interest in learning more about traditional woodworking methods. Are there any groups in Texas (or surrounding areas) that are dedicated to the construction methods and techniques used by 18th and 19th cent. artisans?  I've obviously discovered the Lone Star Chapter of the SAPFM, but would like to find a group dedicated to the methods, as well.
Thanks,
Allan

NLandry

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Re: Traditional methods and techniques...
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2008, 05:48:01 PM »
Allan,

There is no group that I know of in Texas dedicated solely to 18th & 19th century woodworking  methods and techniques.  Many of the Lone Star Chapter members do use traditional methods of work and construction.
If you will give me a call, I will be happy to fill you in.  (281) 859-3326.

Allan D. Brown

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Re: Traditional methods and techniques...
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2008, 07:53:04 AM »
Thanks for the response, Norman. I'll try to give you a call later today. Looking forward to it.
Allan

Adam Cherubini

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Re: Traditional methods and techniques...
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2008, 09:21:00 AM »
A group of us talked about this issue in Williamsburg.  I don't think there's any organization dedicated to this mission, despite the fact that there are many folks interested in one.  I've been trying to push the sapfm to accept traditional methods as their core mission.  That day may yet come. 

For now, my experience is that there are few individuals, let alone groups who have all the answers.  Rather, many of the folks I've encountered have a single piece of the puzzle.  The DoD calls this sort of situation, a "net" approach.  No organization.  No leader.  And I think the period woodworkers I've encountered are no less tenacious as those the DoD uses the term "net" to describe.  I apologize for the association. 

When will "net" period woodworking become an organization?  I don't know.  In the meantime, it's my goal for 2009 to share more and reach out further West.  I encourage those of you with similar interests to increase your level of sharing. Write more.  Photograph and video more.  And get out there and meet people.

For those of you who joined me for coffee in Williamsburg, do a wiki search on "Junto".  Pay careful attention the questions Ben had for the "Leather Apron Club".  I see many similarities.  I'd like to reconvene a meeting in Williamsburg next January, this November at the Woodworking in America Conference in KY and wherever else I travel.  Again, I encourage you to do the same.  If I'm not there, please cc me the minutes.

Adam

Allan D. Brown

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Re: Traditional methods and techniques...
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2008, 10:28:35 AM »
Thanks for your posting, Adam. In my naiveté, I thought such a formal body or organization must surely exist. When finding none, I posted on the SMC forum (Neanderthal -- hand tool group) asking if folks would like to create a group dedicated to the pursuit of traditional methods and techniques for woodworking in the 18th & 19th centuries. Although several respondents thought it would be of interest, the majority of posters believed that the current hand tool forum was a sufficient venue for such exchange. At least the SMC generated some responses; my query to SAPFM revealed even less interest.

The desire is for more than simply how to use what tools in what circumstances. Rather, it is the desire to understand -- as Adam writes, the Arts and Mysteries of the craft of centuries-old cabinetmaking. What influenced their design decisions? What were the driving economic, political and aesthetic factors that influenced decisions in commerce, material choice, tool availability, etc.?

The fact that, today, we as craftsmen, hobbyists, artists, et al, spend vast sums of money for modern tools (router bits, jigs, etc.) and training (any number of week-long schools) to learn how to build a replica of something like a Secretary is an enormous tribute to the original artisan who produced it under (by today's standards) somewhat primitive conditions. I believe that our technology -- while making such a reproduction easier and within the reach of many -- has wrongly emphasized tolerance and precision at the expense of the aesthetic choices of the original creator. Many of these on-line forums drone on endlessly about tool purchases, or mundane activities like sharpening, etc. Not to say that these aren't useful discussions on occasion, but it's disconcerting when people are unable to differentiate between the desire to learn about period craftsmanship and merely using old tools. For those with little desire for inquiry, the mechanical triumphs artistry every time.

I would hope that the current “net” association – as Adam has described it – of those pursuing these questions would transform into a formal and cohesive body with a purpose more noble and enlightening than just instructing “how-to”.
Allan

Adam Cherubini

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Re: Traditional methods and techniques...
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2008, 08:27:43 AM »
"I would hope that the current “net” association – as Adam has described it – of those pursuing these questions would transform into a formal and cohesive body with a purpose more noble and enlightening than just instructing “how-to”. "

It can, but it's going to need your help.  I hope you contacted Norm.  I talked to him on the phone before.  He's a neat guy and very generous with his time.  Get involved.  Start your own "Junto".  When there are enough junto cells, a larger organization can form.  Maybe it's time for me to start a Philadelphia based Junto.  We might be able to meet where the first Junto met!

Adam

ASwartz

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Re: Traditional methods and techniques...
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2008, 11:25:04 AM »
Allan -- Where in Texas are you?  As Norman noted, the closest thing to a formal organization in this area is the Lone Star Chapter, which meets quarterly in Houston.  Norman has done a wonderful job of organizing informative, content-rich meetings.  This is probably the best starting point.  Even if the formal meetings do not delve into the specific content you're looking for, you will have the opportunity to develop an informal network of individuals who share common interests.  I'd also suggest using (as you have) the SAPFM message boards to stimulate discussion on topics of interest to you.  You'd be surprised at the wealth of knowledge here, all you have to do is tap into it.  In any event, you're going to have to be both creative and proactive to find what you're looking for. 

Allan D. Brown

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Re: Traditional methods and techniques...
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2008, 02:47:20 PM »
I'm located in Lubbock, Texas -- a ways from Houston, but still just a quick plane trip. Norm has been a real pleasure to talk to, and extremely knowledgeable and helpful. I agree that to achieve my goals creativity and resourcefulness are going to be key -- period woodworking as espoused by Adam C. and Dean Jansa isn't exactly mainstream stuff. But, thanks to Dean, we've got a google group set up and are beginning to share information among a handful of folks.
Allan