I picked up the tool chest yesterday and slipped it in place by my workbench. I own so many chests it could be embarrassing were I not using them to store the tools we do our research and revision in. Many of the ones I own now are still stateside USA, but one day we will auction them off I am sure. I have decided to replicate this one as a pattern for making one because it seems like a practical size as a smaller chest for modern woodworkers without a bunch of bulky wooden planes to house. Those that do have can simply scale up. When craftsmen traveled they used chests like this one to traverse the seas and the continents. Especially those from the Britain and that includes Scotland and the Scots carpenters and joiners well famed for fine workmanship. Speaking of which.
I did the deal with Bill, the canny Scot that always gets more out of me than any of the other dealers I deal with but we still parted friends. He looks out for things for me and of course I think I showed you these two panel gauges before some time. Yesterday I cut up some of the tabletops for the new replication series I am doing on the table build and it was a joy to use something made by a man 80 or 90 years ago as a special tool for his kit. Sometimes using something like this is viscerally sensing in that his fingerprint is all over the design. It’s so well thought through and balanced. I picture him staring like me at a lump of partially shaped rosewood and thinking how this thing can be enhanced. Pulling the gauge line along the tabletop created a good line to cut to and soon I was gluing up the new tabletop ready for the next stage of filming.
There has been something about this table that has really made me look differently at life as a whole. Abandonment seems always a negative anyway but this piece wasn’t just abandoning something because t wasn’t functioning or nicely made with quality joints. I imagine it being discarded because “people don’t like brown furniture these days.” How sick is that. “and they like the nice stuff they can buy in packs from IKEA.” Sicker still. A CNC machine cuts everything out and a robot creates the rest and a person in a lab designs it on a computer somewhere in a different country and then I buy a “brown furniture” piece for £3 after is served for 140 years. Unlocking past methods and techniques is one of the most enriching experiences there is. Interpreting chatter marks from a spokeshave and knowing by experience that the marks only come from wooden ones is my reward to express for others. How do you expelling so valuable a thing?
The videos are very different than our usual work. Tomorrow I should be done with the series but the experience of buying the tables, transforming issues and recreating pieces that are now influencing my next years modern designs is priceless. I so love not working for money everyone. I so have loved my life living and being a lifestyle woodworker. No flat packs and no flat screens, no flat bed delivery trucks but multidimensional three-dimensional lifestyle woodworking I can live with until I pass.
Using recycled wood like this I don’t feel guilty working with real mahogany. I am glad I do and can. I sense the same my forebears did in working such fine wood and it really is a good resource for us. I just imagine how the Victorian joiners felt when they chopped and planed and chiselled such sweet wood with such even grain in wide boards. It has been a privilege all the way.