Eckert Update

A couple of things jumped out at me from the latest email newsletter from Henry Eckert. (For those who are not familiar, Henry Eckert Fine Tools Australia are the resellers of Lie Nielsen handplanes and the like, and anyone who has been to a woodshow in Australia has either drooled over the collection of planes on offer, or avoided the stand like the plague knowing their wallet would otherwise explode with excitement!)

One is the latest offering from Lost Art Press (and the remarkable Chris Schwarz): Campaign Furniture. As Chris writes:

For almost 200 years, simple and sturdy pieces of campaign furniture were used by people all over the globe, and yet this remarkable furniture style is now almost unknown to most woodworkers and furniture designers.

“Campaign Furniture” seeks to restore this style to its proper place by introducing woodworkers to the simple lines, robust joinery and ingenious hardware that characterize campaign pieces. With more than 400 photos and drawings to explain the foundations of the style, the book provides plans for nine piece of classic campaign furniture, from the classic stackable chests of drawers to folding Roorkee chairs and collapsible bookcases.

In addition to all that, “Campaign Furniture” contains the first English-language translation of A.J.-Roubo’s 18th-century text on campaign pieces, plus original drawings of dozens of pieces of British campaign furniture culled from original copies of the Army & Navy stores catalogs.

Like all Lost Art Press books, “Campaign Furniture” is produced entirely in the United States. The book is in a 6” x 9” format and hardbound. The interior is full color and printed on paper that is heavy and coated with a matte finish for readability. The interior signatures are sewn for long-term durability.

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The other is a tool care package with Camellia Oil, Tool Polish, and cloths etc to apply, and containers to store. While Silbergleit (Silver Glide) is great on cast iron tools, I hear Camellia oil is also exceptional, penetrating the surface microfissures to really protect against rust/corrosion.

Like “new car smell”, fresh “cast iron gleam” is both very impressive, and equally fleeting (if not a lot faster!), and although Silbergleit protects and lubricates, it is Camellia oil that places like Carbatec turn to, to keep the shop floor tools in new (and cast-iron fresh) condition.

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Grandpa’s Workshop

It has taken some time since I first became aware of this book (through updates during it’s production given by Chris Schwarz on the Lost Art Press blog) for me to finally get around to purchasing a copy.  At last weekend’s Hand Tool event, I asked at the Henry Eckert stand if they had bought “Grandpa’s Workshop” along with the other Lost Art Press books and DVDs they had (and stock).  Unfortunately they hadn’t, but as soon as they got back after the event, it was on its way and sitting at my front door yesterday.

Grandpa's Workshop cover

Grandpa’s Workshop

It is a children’s story, but real-life experiences of the author is apparent in the text as well, the sights, sounds and emotions of being in and around the workshop of a grandfather or similar figure.

Some of the stories told by the Grandfather are pure fantasy, others very much about the stories the tools would tell of their own history, and stories of the history of the boy’s family and ancestors.  As I read the book to my daughter, I hold a hope that one day she will find herself brushing sawdust from her clothes, and remember her father, and grandfather did the same and to continue to pass on a love to being able to physically create through wielding simple tools and working with natural materials.

The illustrations create a very rich experience, obviously meaning a lot more to me than my young charge, but even so, being able to show that I too have tools very similar in shape and function to those depicted in the stories must add a dimension to the stories.  My tools may not have the same history as Pepere’s, but hopefully they will be passed down through the ages so that one day, they too will have many stories to tell.

Wooden Tools

It doesn’t matter when the story was originally written, the language originally used, the country it was set in – the workshop Pepere occupies is as familiar as the one so many of us also occupy, complete with corners of tools no longer required, in a cobweb and dust shroud, and the “couldcomeinhandys”

This may be a children’s story, but it is very much one that so many of us can intimately relate to, and if you are fortunate to have children or grandchildren that you can share this story with, your experience of the book would be so much richer.  But even if not, this children’s story is one we can all read, appreciate and enjoy.

Grandpa & ChildIs it just me, but does the boy look like a young Tintin?

 

A really interesting perspective on elitism, language use, and the real craftsmen who make the objects of our desire, rather than wax lyrical about them, by Chris Schwarz.

 

Lost Art Press

At my first newspaper job, I hated the 2 p.m. mail call. That was when Reese Fant would separate all the day’s mail into the black cubbyholes for the reporters. More days than not, I received a postcard.

The postcards were from a retired high-school English teacher, and just about every day she had some withering comment to make about my grammar, word choice, style (or lack of it).

I hated those postcards at first.

I think you know where this story is going, but I think you’re wrong. The natural story arc is for me to recognize the importance of word precision and embrace the subtleties and nuances of the English language and become an evangelist for its proper use.

Truth is, I hated those postcards at first, and within a couple years I came to absolutely loathe them. In fact, I actively rejected my fine Northwestern University-honed journalism…

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H.O. Studley Tool Chest

I was sure I had posted about the Studley tool chest in the past, so sorry if this isn’t new (but a search of the site didn’t turn anything up!)

Henry Studley was a piano maker from the late 1800s (1838-1925), who is still famous today, not so much for his pianos and organs, but for the magnificent tool chest he made that houses over 300 tools in a 40″x20″ case (closed).

Photo from Fine Woodworking Magazine

There is a poster that FineWoodworking.com sell of the Studley case, and I had it on my iPhone as a screen saver for a long time (although the details are a little hard to see!)  What the poster does not reveal is the magnificent details of drawers and hinged sections, sliding shelves within the drawers etc.

Thanks to IS for linking me to a video by the New Yankee Workshop, we can get to see the real detail that a static photo hides.

And for those particularly interested, Lost Art Press (aka Chris Schwarz and co) are coming out with a book in 2013 specifically about the chest.

Anyone prepared to draw the unit in Sketchup?!

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