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Sneakin' up on period (was: Viking ? Chair)

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  • jrwinkler@msn.com
    ... viking chair than a modern camp chair.
    Message 1 of 8 , Sep 26, 2002
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      >> Although I'm an authenticity policemen in training, I'd rather see a
      "viking chair" than a modern camp chair.  <<

      Ulrich
       
      ============
       
      RE: the authenticity policeman thing...  interestingly, I don't believe in "authenticity police"... nor do I believe in "anti-authenticity Gestapo"...  both are extreme points of view that, in my experience, generally have a hard time understanding or appreciating the middle ground.  This is not to downplay my respect for people who do the research to know what is appropriate to period and what isn't and then make a conscious choice of where and how to deviate from that point.   I like to be "close to authentic" to a point...  but, for example, I rarely use period woods... primarily because the stuff I build is intended for fairly regular use.  Good ol' #2 common pine is lighter (makes the truck happy) and cheaper (makes the wife happy) that other materials...  and if it gets dinged up I feel less upset about it than if it were European Walnut or some period species of oak...  to truly "get period", in my opinion, you'd have to use period tools on period woods with period fastenings/adhesives and period finishes... etc., etc., etc.   Great stuff if you're doing it for a research project or a serious recreation site...  but for what most of us do... "period informed" is pretty adequate.   Again... in my opinion.   If ya' wanna' really get "period" with stuff... ROCK ON... and send pictures!!!

      But regarding your second point... ABSOLUTELY!!!  A near hit is, IMO... a much preferred course than white plastic garden chairs!!!  ;-)  In fact, that is exactly the concept that got me started in all of this about 8 years ago...   kinda' took the edge off of things to see a beautiful medieval pavilion setup... banners flying...  Wal-mart metal folding lawn chair out front...  ;-(   Problem for me was actually finding "period" furniture that was actually "functional" in an SCA context (there's that research thing again)...
       
      My three cardinal rules for deciding what furniture I want to build for camping are:
       
      1:  Must be "period informed"... or if "Hobby-useful" must look like something that just-maybe-might-possibly-if-the-light-was-right look medieval
      2:  Should pack well either by collapsing/folding or (in the case of the chests) pack well by being a nice box into which other stuff fits well, and
      3:  Should be relatively easy to build by folks with average woodworking skills... or the help of somebody with average woodworking skills.
       
      I play a 14th c. persona in the SCA... however most of my kit can be traced to 16th c. Germany!   Not exactly "holding tight" to my persona's time and place... but it makes for a pretty good looking pavilion.
       
      My kit is a two stage project... first, build period informed stuff that gets rid of all the plastic and modern stuff...  working out transport issues, etc...  then (the stage I'm in now...) start rebuilding everything but trying to make it closer to my time/heritage.   I occasionally get sidetracked by misc. projects that others are interested in...  but hey, its all fun.  As Charlie pointed out, "Rome wasn't built in a day..."  ;-) 
       
      An additional issue for me in making construction decisions is the overall presentation of the pavilion itself...   we're trying to build an environment... getting the whole "look and feel" thing down, so looking at little things like hangings, bed coverings, etc. is as important as the furniture that they set off. 
       
      Still in all... we aren't above the plastic cooler (tucked into a wooden chest)... the use of Stanley hinges (unless I get off my duff and make some or find a good smithy willing to barter) or using a futon as a mattress rather than a canvas sack with straw ticking... [this last one has the additional benefit of keeping my lady from divorcing me...]
       
      Have fun... make stuff...
      Chas.
       
    • Avery
      ... use period woods... primarily because the stuff I build is intended for fairly regular use. Good ol #2 common pine is lighter (makes the truck happy) and
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 3, 2002
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        Charles said:
        >I like to be "close to authentic" to a point... but, for example, I rarely
        use period woods... primarily because the stuff I build is intended for
        fairly regular use. Good ol' #2 common pine is lighter (makes the truck
        happy) and cheaper (makes the wife happy) that other materials... and if it
        gets dinged up I feel less upset about it than if it were European Walnut or
        some period species of oak...

        There was a point where I would have agreed with this. Then one day I
        needed a fairly wide piece of knot free pine. Great googly moogly! My
        choices were this weird composite stuff - like oversized butcher block - and
        paying though the nose. Since then I've kind of leaned towards white oak
        for my SCA furniture needs. While a board foot of white oak weighs more
        than a board foot of pine, I can get by with thinner material, so the weight
        of the project isn't too much more. More importantly, it's much more
        durable than pine, so it doesn't ding with nearly the vigor pine does.

        >to truly "get period", in my opinion, you'd have to use period tools on
        period woods with period fastenings/adhesives and period finishes... etc.,
        etc., etc.

        True, but I think there is another level in there. There is a true period
        reproduction with all that implies, but there is also a level of
        reproduction that isn't absolutely period, but would require disassembly of
        the piece, chemical analysis or the like to prove it.

        Avery
      • jrwinkler@msn.com
        Avery wrote: True, but I think there is another level in there. There is a true period reproduction with all that implies, but there is also a level of
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 3, 2002
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          Avery wrote: "True, but I think there is another level in there.  There is a true period
          reproduction with all that implies, but there is also a level of
          reproduction that isn't absolutely period, but would require disassembly of
          the piece, chemical analysis or the like to prove it."
           
          Absolutely...  this is where I use the term "Period Informed"...  i.e.: It looks like a duck, kinda' walks like a duck but cackles like a chicken.  ;-)   In many cases, even having the original in your hands doesn't provide ALL the information you'd need to write the definitive "everything you ever wanted to know" paper on the piece... AND... just because you might get all the info on one piece... it doesn't mean they didn't change something the next time around!  As Avery is implies... no matter how deep ya' dig there is, in all probability, SOMETHING you're never gonna' know about any particular piece and will have to make an educated guess about.
           
          I guess a good question would be...  in the woodworking world... what actually defines a piece as being "appropriately" period?  Construction techniques, choice of materials, proportions, the right nails or glue???   Does using hand saws make a piece more period than using your Craftsman table saw?   Does the set (or lack thereof) of the tooth on the handsaw have a bearing?   Do we need to set up a saw pit in the back yard... (NO AVERY... I AIN'T DIGGIN' A PIT!!!!) so that we can cut the logs with the appropriate grain???  
           
          How period is "period" and what defines it?
           
          Just askin...
          Chas.
           
           
           
           
        • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
          ... You would also have to consider where the item you are reproducing can from.... down to the village and the shop. The techniques for making two boxes
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 3, 2002
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            >
            > I guess a good question would be... in the
            > woodworking world... what actually defines a piece
            > as being "appropriately" period? Construction
            > techniques, choice of materials, proportions, the
            > right nails or glue??? Does using hand saws make a
            > piece more period than using your Craftsman table
            > saw? Does the set (or lack thereof) of the tooth
            > on the handsaw have a bearing? Do we need to set
            > up a saw pit in the back yard... (NO AVERY... I
            > AIN'T DIGGIN' A PIT!!!!) so that we can cut the logs
            > with the appropriate grain???
            >
            > How period is "period" and what defines it?
            >
            > Just askin...
            > Chas.
            >
            You would also have to consider 'where' the
            item you are reproducing can from.... down
            to the village and the shop. The techniques
            for making two boxes could vary based on
            what the craftsman was taught.

            Consider this, would the cabinetmaker be the
            one splitting and smoothing his own planks
            or would he get them from someone whose entire
            business is making planks....or from an
            apprentice. ( No Charles )

            Would he make his own hinges, nails, clasps....
            He would probably get them from a blacksmith.

            Would a seamtress have to weave her own fabric?



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            Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
            Aude Aliquid Dignum
            ' Dare Something Worthy '

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          • jrwinkler@msn.com
            ... one splitting and smoothing his own planks or would he get them from someone whose entire business is making planks....or from an apprentice. ( No Charles
            Message 5 of 8 , Oct 3, 2002
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              Conal wrote:

              >> Consider this, would the cabinetmaker be the
              one splitting and smoothing his own planks
              or would he get them from someone whose entire
              business is making planks....or from an
              apprentice. ( No Charles )

              Would he make his own hinges, nails, clasps....
              He would probably get them from a blacksmith.

              Would a seamtress have to weave her own fabric? <<
               
              Good points... but this raises yet another of them interestin' authenticity questions...  What aspect are we trying to authentic in?
               
              I would contend that if one is trying to BE an authentic medieval carpenter then all of the above issues would come into play...
               
              If you were simply trying to recreate a period piece and the THING you were making is intended to be as authentic as possible... then the cultural division of labor thing can kinda' goes out the window... and ya' gotta' do what ya' gotta' do...  (unless you can barter with a local sawyer and blacksmith.
               
              Its a process or product question... unless you're REALLY geeky and want to be authentic in process AND product!!!
               
              Then, of course there's simply understanding (the academic aspect) of having a solid grasp of the authentic KNOWLEDGE of what you're doing and electing to modify, ignore, change, etc. that in the actual practice of what you know.
               
              But... to either work at BEING the authentic craftsman and practicing your art in a period manner... or learning a bunch of diverse skills that a period craftsman wouldn't dream of or stand a chance of getting involved in order to produce a period THING... both require the underlying period KNOWLEDGE.    Without that aren't ya' simply makin' stuff up???
               
              Chas.
               
              Great discussion of the philosophic aspects of what we're doin' by the way...  ;-)


            • vinlandar
              I agree on the great discussion. I hope this will be a useful contribution. For my purposes, (described in an earlier post,) I am working at producing
              Message 6 of 8 , Oct 3, 2002
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                I agree on the great discussion. I hope this will be a useful
                contribution.
                For my purposes, (described in an earlier post,) I am working at
                producing household and farm items that my Norse farmer character
                might not necessarily have been able to make himself, so I don't mind
                not doing everything with period tools and glues, etc. As long as
                the non-period production and fastening techniques don't keep the
                piece from looking as period as I can make it, I feel I am alright.
                On the other hand, pottery is one of the techniques my character
                has learned from his Anglo Saxon neighbors, and so I am trying as
                close as I can to duplicate the methods, clays, glazes etc. that I
                can to pottery of that period and that location, allowing for imports
                from more distant locations which indeed were found in the area.
                Even that requires some compromise, though, because glazes of the
                period used lead to make them smooth and flowing. I am not willing
                to use lead in my cooking and eating items for the sake of period
                accuracy, so I seek out safer materials that give a similar effect.

                -Charlie


                --- In medievalsawdust@y..., jrwinkler@m... wrote:
                > Conal wrote:
                > Then, of course there's simply understanding (the academic aspect)
                of having a solid grasp of the authentic KNOWLEDGE of what you're
                doing and electing to modify, ignore, change, etc. that in the actual
                practice of what you know.
                >
                > But... to either work at BEING the authentic craftsman and
                practicing your art in a period manner... or learning a bunch of
                diverse skills that a period craftsman wouldn't dream of or stand a
                chance of getting involved in order to produce a period THING... both
                require the underlying period KNOWLEDGE. Without that aren't ya'
                simply makin' stuff up???
                >
                > Chas.
                >
                > Great discussion of the philosophic aspects of what we're doin' by
                the way... ;-)
              • jrwinkler@msn.com
                ... period used lead to make them smooth and flowing. I am not willing to use lead in my cooking and eating items for the sake of period accuracy, so I seek
                Message 7 of 8 , Oct 3, 2002
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                  >>  Even that requires some compromise, though, because glazes of the
                  period used lead to make them smooth and flowing.  I am not willing
                  to use lead in my cooking and eating items for the sake of period
                  accuracy, so I seek out safer materials that give a similar effect.  -Charlie  <<

                  Yer' a wise fella' Charlie!!  ;-)   Every passion must have its meets and bounds...   from a functional point of view this makes good and sane sense...  on the other hand, using proper safety precautions there is nothing from stopping you from perhaps making a few demonstration pieces with the period lead based glaze to gain an the first hand knowledge of what differences (if any) might exist in the quality of finish, workability, etc. between the period version of the glaze and its modern analog.   This is the KNOWLEDGE part...  that I talked about in an earlier post...    
                   
                  Your examples illustrate what I was trying to say very well...  one standard of authenticity in one context... a different one for the other.   Different approaches for different goals yet both based in an inherent understanding of what IS correct and then making conscious decisions of where and how to deviate from that standard.
                   
                  Chas.
                   
                   
                • Dan Baker
                  Master Charles, did you change your email? ... -- YIS, Lord Rhys, Capten gen y Arian Lloer Privateer to the Midrealm Arafu at dawnsio mewn adlaw ...Take time
                  Message 8 of 8 , Oct 4, 2002
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                    Master Charles, did you change your email?


                    >From: jrwinkler@...


                    --
                    YIS,

                    Lord Rhys, Capten gen y Arian Lloer
                    Privateer to the Midrealm

                    Arafu at dawnsio mewn adlaw
                    ...Take time to dance in the rain...

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