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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?

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  • conradh@efn.org
    ... I m looking at several of them in a book a friend picked up for me in England years ago. There are a couple of 6-board chests with no obvious joinery
    Message 1 of 23 , Jul 2, 2010
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      On Thu, July 1, 2010 12:59 pm, Bill Schongar (bschonga) wrote:
      > Hi folks,
      >
      >
      > Does anyone have any references or thoughts for what type of joints
      > would have most commonly been used on a small box or coffret from the 13th
      > century (England or France, if geography matters)?
      >
      > I was thinking of using dovetails or a rabbetted butt joint with
      > dowels, but have been unable to find anything in the books I have on what
      > would be appropriate. Since one of the examples I've seen is covered in
      > leather, it unfortunately didn't help identify the joints.
      >
      I'm looking at several of them in a book a friend picked up for me in
      England years ago. There are a couple of 6-board chests with no obvious
      joinery (without even the usual iron bindings). The photos show the front
      and top of each--the fastenings don't show but the text says they are
      pegged. No mention of corner joinery. Both are from 1360 or so, by
      tree-ring dating of the oak.

      The "Trial of the Pyx" coffer is much larger, made of quarter-sawn (or
      riven?_ oak in a sort of foreshadowing of the paneled construction that
      would become popular a little later. Four heavy vertical planks frame the
      chest, two at front and two in back. The ends, and the lighter horizontal
      boards forming the middles of the front and back, are doweled into these
      big stiles. The end boards are slightly recessed, the three front boards
      are flush with the stiles. The stiles extend slightly at the bottom,
      serving as feet. It has an internal till. Two plain iron strap hinges
      extend clear across the 3-board lid, and hasps are hinged from them that
      engage a pair of internal locks. (There was originally a third hinge,
      strap, hasp and lock, but they have gone missing.) The hardware is
      obviously clinch-nailed, but the text says the rest of the fastenings are
      dowels. Made around 1300.

      The only others I see from your period are one that is nearly and one
      completely iron-bound. They are made of pine and willow, probably to cut
      the weight which will be bothersome with all that metal. No mention of
      joinery, which is probably irrelevant because the iron holds it together.
      (In one, the _wood_ is irrelevant, since the chest is entirely covered
      with sheet metal and bound with iron straps over that!)

      So what I found here, at least, is either doweled or held together by its
      hardware. I know other examples from this era were nailed. If dovetails
      were known (and they go back to ancient Egypt!), they don't seem to be
      common yet; they became so by a couple centuries later. The _Standebuch_
      of Jost Amman (Frankfurt am Main, 1568) shows a number of clearly
      dovetailed chests.

      The book is _Early Chests in Wood and Iron_, a pamphlet from the museum of
      the Public Records Office. (These chests were there because at at least
      one point in their history, they were used to store documents.) Photos
      and text by Celia Jenning. HMSO, London, 1974.

      FWIW, Ulfhedinn
    • julian wilson
      ... wrote:   ... the 13th ... MUCH GOOD STUFF SNIPPED FOR BREVITY The _Standebuch_ of Jost Amman (Frankfurt am Main, 1568) shows a number of clearly
      Message 2 of 23 , Jul 2, 2010
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        --- On Fri, 2/7/10, conradh@... <conradh@...> wrote:



         

        On Thu, July 1, 2010 12:59 pm, Bill Schongar (bschonga) wrote:
        > Hi folks,
        >
        >
        > Does anyone have any references or thoughts for what type of joints
        > would have most commonly been used on a small box or coffret from the 13th
        > century (England or France, if geography matters)?

        MUCH GOOD STUFF SNIPPED FOR BREVITY

        The _Standebuch_
        of Jost Amman (Frankfurt am Main, 1568) shows a number of clearly
        dovetailed chests.

        The book is _Early Chests in Wood and Iron_, a pamphlet from the museum of
        the Public Records Office. (These chests were there because at at least
        one point in their history, they were used to store documents.) Photos
        and text by Celia Jenning. HMSO, London, 1974.


        COMMENT

        Gentles of the List,
         the most detailed examination of a number of late-medieval chests is to be found in the 3rd Volume of the Trust's report on the copntents of the salvaged hulk of the "Mary Rose".
        I know because I was interested in making a replica of the barber Surgeon's Chest.
        In the archeologist's report on that chest, the Expert makes the definitive statement that it is England's earliest-dated extant chest showing dovetails, and suggests that the artifact must have been made in Continental Europe "where dovetailing was a common woodworking technique, apparently unknown - or at least un-used - in the British Isles in the late medieval period".
        Further, deponent sayeth not.
         Matthewe Baker.
      • Bill Schongar (bschonga)
        This is a huge help, thanks! And many thanks to everyone else who has provided input as well - I now have two more books to go find and add to the library.
        Message 3 of 23 , Jul 2, 2010
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          This is a huge help, thanks! And many thanks to everyone else who has provided input as well – I now have two more books to go find and add to the library.

           

          -Liam

           

           

          From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of conradh@...
          Sent: Friday, July 02, 2010 3:58 AM
          To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?

           

           

          On Thu, July 1, 2010 12:59 pm, Bill Schongar (bschonga) wrote:

          > Hi folks,
          >
          >
          > Does anyone have any references or thoughts for what type of joints
          > would have most commonly been used on a small box or coffret from the 13th
          > century (England or France, if geography matters)?
          >
          > I was thinking of using dovetails or a rabbetted butt joint with
          > dowels, but have been unable to find anything in the books I have on what
          > would be appropriate. Since one of the examples I've seen is covered in
          > leather, it unfortunately didn't help identify the joints.
          >
          I'm looking at several of them in a book a friend picked up for me in
          England years ago. There are a couple of 6-board chests with no obvious
          joinery (without even the usual iron bindings). The photos show the front
          and top of each--the fastenings don't show but the text says they are
          pegged. No mention of corner joinery. Both are from 1360 or so, by
          tree-ring dating of the oak.

          The "Trial of the Pyx" coffer is much larger, made of quarter-sawn (or
          riven?_ oak in a sort of foreshadowing of the paneled construction that
          would become popular a little later. Four heavy vertical planks frame the
          chest, two at front and two in back. The ends, and the lighter horizontal
          boards forming the middles of the front and back, are doweled into these
          big stiles. The end boards are slightly recessed, the three front boards
          are flush with the stiles. The stiles extend slightly at the bottom,
          serving as feet. It has an internal till. Two plain iron strap hinges
          extend clear across the 3-board lid, and hasps are hinged from them that
          engage a pair of internal locks. (There was originally a third hinge,
          strap, hasp and lock, but they have gone missing.) The hardware is
          obviously clinch-nailed, but the text says the rest of the fastenings are
          dowels. Made around 1300.

          The only others I see from your period are one that is nearly and one
          completely iron-bound. They are made of pine and willow, probably to cut
          the weight which will be bothersome with all that metal. No mention of
          joinery, which is probably irrelevant because the iron holds it together.
          (In one, the _wood_ is irrelevant, since the chest is entirely covered
          with sheet metal and bound with iron straps over that!)

          So what I found here, at least, is either doweled or held together by its
          hardware. I know other examples from this era were nailed. If dovetails
          were known (and they go back to ancient Egypt!), they don't seem to be
          common yet; they became so by a couple centuries later. The _Standebuch_
          of Jost Amman (Frankfurt am Main, 1568) shows a number of clearly
          dovetailed chests.

          The book is _Early Chests in Wood and Iron_, a pamphlet from the museum of
          the Public Records Office. (These chests were there because at at least
          one point in their history, they were used to store documents.) Photos
          and text by Celia Jenning. HMSO, London, 1974.

          FWIW, Ulfhedinn

        • Gille MacDhnouill
          One other source are the so-called medieval church chests. There s a reprint of a turn-of-the 20th century survey of English chests that illustrates the
          Message 4 of 23 , Jul 2, 2010
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            One other source are the so-called medieval "church chests." There's a reprint of a turn-of-the 20th century survey of English chests that illustrates the various joinery (and carving) used on these chests. (http://home.teleport.com/~tcl/cc.htm) Now mind, these are large coffers designed to protect vestments and alms, but you could reasonably extend the methods to smaller boxes. These chests, btw, were mostly thick and wide legs with panels and the floor of the chest let in to groves on the edge and face of the leg. The ends were re-enforced with decorative wooden cross-pieces, and the hinges for the lids were formed from a lid batten and integrated into the back leg, and then almost universally repaired at a later date.

            Note that some small (and even largish) chests/strongboxes in the 12-14th centuries were made by hollowing out a log segment, and reinforcing the whole thing with iron straps, so there really was no "joinery" per Se.

            Hope this helps,
            -----Gille MacDhnouill
            Working wood in Milton, PA
            Abhainn Ciach Ghlais, AEthelmearc.

            --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Schongar (bschonga)" <bschonga@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi folks,
            >
            > Does anyone have any references or thoughts for what type of joints
            > would have most commonly been used on a small box or coffret from the
            > 13th century (England or France, if geography matters)?
            >
            > I was thinking of using dovetails or a rabbetted butt joint with
            > dowels, but have been unable to find anything in the books I have on
            > what would be appropriate. Since one of the examples I've seen is
            > covered in leather, it unfortunately didn't help identify the joints.
            >
            > Thanks,
            > -Liam
            >
          • AlbionWood
            The few from that era that I ve seen in museums appeared to have been joined by treenails. Most are also covered with leather and/or gessoed, covering
            Message 5 of 23 , Jul 2, 2010
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              The few from that era that I've seen in museums appeared to have been
              joined by treenails. Most are also covered with leather and/or gessoed,
              covering whatever joinery is present... so no reason for fancy woodwork.
              Rabbeting is probably OK, I know I've seen it on some coffers but
              not sure of the 13th century. (Really need to get my photos databased.)

              No dovetails for 13th c. England or France. Despite having been known
              in the Roman period, and despite a few tantalizing documentary
              references, these seem to have fallen completely out of use in Northern
              Europe from the early MA until the 15th century.

              Cheers,
              Tim


              Bill Schongar (bschonga) wrote:
              > Hi folks,
              >
              > Does anyone have any references or thoughts for what type of joints
              > would have most commonly been used on a small box or coffret from the
              > 13th century (England or France, if geography matters)?
              >
              > I was thinking of using dovetails or a rabbetted butt joint with
              > dowels, but have been unable to find anything in the books I have on
              > what would be appropriate. Since one of the examples I've seen is
              > covered in leather, it unfortunately didn't help identify the joints.
              >
              > Thanks,
              > -Liam
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              >
              >
              >
            • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
              Early Chests in Wood and Iron and? I think I missed the other title.... Baron Conal O hAirt / Jim Hart Aude Aliquid Dignum Dare Something Worthy
              Message 6 of 23 , Jul 3, 2010
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                Early Chests in Wood and Iron

                and?

                I think I missed the other title....
                 
                Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                Aude Aliquid Dignum
                ' Dare Something Worthy '



                From: Bill Schongar (bschonga) <bschonga@...>
                To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Fri, July 2, 2010 11:20:01 AM
                Subject: Thanks! RE: [MedievalSawdust] Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?

                 

                 

                This is a huge help, thanks! And many thanks to everyone else who has provided input as well – I now have two more books to go find and add to the library.

                 

                -Liam

                 

                 

                From: medievalsawdust@ yahoogroups. com [mailto:medievalsaw dust@yahoogroups .com] On Behalf Of conradh@efn. org
                Sent: Friday, July 02, 2010 3:58 AM
                To: medievalsawdust@ yahoogroups. com
                Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?

                 

                 

                On Thu, July 1, 2010 12:59 pm, Bill Schongar (bschonga) wrote:

                > Hi folks,
                >
                >
                > Does anyone have any references or thoughts for what type of joints
                > would have most commonly been used on a small box or coffret from the 13th
                > century (England or France, if geography matters)?
                >
                > I was thinking of using dovetails or a rabbetted butt joint with
                > dowels, but have been unable to find anything in the books I have on what
                > would be appropriate. Since one of the examples I've seen is covered in
                > leather, it unfortunately didn't help identify the joints.
                >
                I'm looking at several of them in a book a friend picked up for me in
                England years ago. There are a couple of 6-board chests with no obvious
                joinery (without even the usual iron bindings). The photos show the front
                and top of each--the fastenings don't show but the text says they are
                pegged. No mention of corner joinery. Both are from 1360 or so, by
                tree-ring dating of the oak.

                The "Trial of the Pyx" coffer is much larger, made of quarter-sawn (or
                riven?_ oak in a sort of foreshadowing of the paneled construction that
                would become popular a little later. Four heavy vertical planks frame the
                chest, two at front and two in back. The ends, and the lighter horizontal
                boards forming the middles of the front and back, are doweled into these
                big stiles. The end boards are slightly recessed, the three front boards
                are flush with the stiles. The stiles extend slightly at the bottom,
                serving as feet. It has an internal till. Two plain iron strap hinges
                extend clear across the 3-board lid, and hasps are hinged from them that
                engage a pair of internal locks. (There was originally a third hinge,
                strap, hasp and lock, but they have gone missing.) The hardware is
                obviously clinch-nailed, but the text says the rest of the fastenings are
                dowels. Made around 1300.

                The only others I see from your period are one that is nearly and one
                completely iron-bound. They are made of pine and willow, probably to cut
                the weight which will be bothersome with all that metal. No mention of
                joinery, which is probably irrelevant because the iron holds it together.
                (In one, the _wood_ is irrelevant, since the chest is entirely covered
                with sheet metal and bound with iron straps over that!)

                So what I found here, at least, is either doweled or held together by its
                hardware. I know other examples from this era were nailed. If dovetails
                were known (and they go back to ancient Egypt!), they don't seem to be
                common yet; they became so by a couple centuries later. The _Standebuch_
                of Jost Amman (Frankfurt am Main, 1568) shows a number of clearly
                dovetailed chests.

                The book is _Early Chests in Wood and Iron_, a pamphlet from the museum of
                the Public Records Office. (These chests were there because at at least
                one point in their history, they were used to store documents.) Photos
                and text by Celia Jenning. HMSO, London, 1974.

                FWIW, Ulfhedinn


              • i_odlin@hotmail.com
                ... Aaaaaaaaaaaand we re off! The betting windows are now closed, ladies and gentlemen as the horses are reaching the first quarter-mile post... -Iain
                Message 7 of 23 , Jul 3, 2010
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                  --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, AlbionWood <albionwood@...> wrote:
                  > No dovetails for 13th c. England or France. Despite having been
                  > known in the Roman period, and despite a few tantalizing
                  > documentary references, these seem to have fallen completely out
                  > of use in Northern Europe from the early MA until the 15th
                  > century.

                  Aaaaaaaaaaaand we're off! The betting windows are now closed, ladies and gentlemen as the horses are reaching the first quarter-mile post...

                  -Iain
                • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                  Rule 1 - never say never Rule 2 - never say always The best you can say is you do not know of any examples of dovetails in England and France in the 13th
                  Message 8 of 23 , Jul 5, 2010
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                    Rule 1 - never say never
                    Rule 2 - never say always

                    The best you can say is you do not know of any examples of 
                    dovetails in England and France in the 13th century
                     
                    Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                    Aude Aliquid Dignum
                    ' Dare Something Worthy '



                    From: "i_odlin@..." <i_odlin@...>
                    To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Sat, July 3, 2010 10:27:54 PM
                    Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?

                     

                    --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, AlbionWood <albionwood@...> wrote:
                    > No dovetails for 13th c. England or France. Despite having been
                    > known in the Roman period, and despite a few tantalizing
                    > documentary references, these seem to have fallen completely out
                    > of use in Northern Europe from the early MA until the 15th
                    > century.

                    Aaaaaaaaaaaand we're off! The betting windows are now closed, ladies and gentlemen as the horses are reaching the first quarter-mile post...

                    -Iain


                  • Eric
                    I agree with both Conal and Tim. While one should be careful to not deal in absolutes (as Conal said), according to every thing I know about extant examples,
                    Message 9 of 23 , Jul 5, 2010
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                      I agree with both Conal and Tim. While one should be careful to not deal in absolutes (as Conal said), according to every thing I know about extant examples, dovetails were not a common method of joinery in Northern Europe or Britain during the early portions of the SCA period (as Tim said). Tim also alluded to the fact that rare examples will occasionally crop up that would disprove that statement.

                      Let me give an example based on our own period. Are flying cars period for late 20th century? Basically not, but during my whole life (since 1960) there have been different people and companies that have produced single or a small number of working flying cars available for sale. I even saw one operate as a small child at an airshow and owned a small, working, plastic model of that design. So, if someone asked five hundred years from now, if flying cars are period for the late 20th century, what would your answer be?

                      In Service to the Dream,
                      Eirikr Mjoksiglandi
                      Ashgrove, Barony of Altavia, Caid


                      --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Rule 1 - never say never
                      > Rule 2 - never say always
                      >
                      > The best you can say is you do not know of any examples of
                      > dovetails in England and France in the 13th century
                      > Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                      >
                      > Aude Aliquid Dignum
                      > ' Dare Something Worthy '
                      >
                      > --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, AlbionWood <albionwood@> wrote:
                      > > No dovetails for 13th c. England or France. Despite having been
                      > > known in the Roman period, and despite a few tantalizing
                      > > documentary references, these seem to have fallen completely out
                      > > of use in Northern Europe from the early MA until the 15th
                      > > century.
                      >
                    • Bill McNutt
                      That it s an outlier, and a reproduction or a piece of utility gear - but not that it s a common practice. Will From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                      Message 10 of 23 , Jul 5, 2010
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                        That it’s an outlier, and a reproduction or a piece of utility gear – but not that it’s a common practice.

                         

                        Will

                         

                        From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Eric
                        Sent: Monday, July 05, 2010 11:36 AM
                        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?

                         

                         

                        I agree with both Conal and Tim. While one should be careful to not deal in absolutes (as Conal said), according to every thing I know about extant examples, dovetails were not a common method of joinery in Northern Europe or Britain during the early portions of the SCA period (as Tim said). Tim also alluded to the fact that rare examples will occasionally crop up that would disprove that statement.

                        Let me give an example based on our own period. Are flying cars period for late 20th century? Basically not, but during my whole life (since 1960) there have been different people and companies that have produced single or a small number of working flying cars available for sale. I even saw one operate as a small child at an airshow and owned a small, working, plastic model of that design. So, if someone asked five hundred years from now, if flying cars are period for the late 20th century, what would your answer be?

                        In Service to the Dream,
                        Eirikr Mjoksiglandi
                        Ashgrove, Barony of Altavia, Caid

                        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:

                        >
                        > Rule 1 - never say never
                        > Rule 2 - never say always
                        >
                        > The best you can say is you do not know of any examples of
                        > dovetails in England and France in the 13th century
                        > Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                        >
                        > Aude Aliquid Dignum
                        > ' Dare Something Worthy '
                        >
                        > --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com,
                        AlbionWood <albionwood@> wrote:
                        > > No dovetails for 13th c. England or France. Despite having been
                        > > known in the Roman period, and despite a few tantalizing
                        > > documentary references, these seem to have fallen completely out
                        > > of use in Northern Europe from the early MA until the 15th
                        > > century.
                        >

                      • Mike from NH
                        Ok, here is something I did a little looking at, if you can say your mentor traveled, or learned from a traveler, you might want to think about China,
                        Message 11 of 23 , Jul 5, 2010
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                          Ok, here is something I did a little looking at, if you can say your mentor traveled, or learned from a traveler, you might want to think about China, according to one reference I found, they've have joints like dovetail joints sence before 1100, here is the link.

                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Chinese_wooden_architecture

                          Yours in Service
                          Michael De La Coteau
                          (Michael of the Hill)

                          --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Rule 1 - never say never
                          > Rule 2 - never say always
                          >
                          > The best you can say is you do not know of any examples of
                          > dovetails in England and France in the 13th century
                          > Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                          >
                          > Aude Aliquid Dignum
                          > ' Dare Something Worthy '
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > ________________________________
                          > From: "i_odlin@..." <i_odlin@...>
                          > To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                          > Sent: Sat, July 3, 2010 10:27:54 PM
                          > Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, AlbionWood <albionwood@> wrote:
                          > > No dovetails for 13th c. England or France. Despite having been
                          > > known in the Roman period, and despite a few tantalizing
                          > > documentary references, these seem to have fallen completely out
                          > > of use in Northern Europe from the early MA until the 15th
                          > > century.
                          >
                          > Aaaaaaaaaaaand we're off! The betting windows are now closed, ladies and gentlemen as the horses are reaching the first quarter-mile post...
                          >
                          > -Iain
                          >
                        • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                          There are also Egyptian dovetails in BC time. ( cannot recall any more specific details off the cuff ) Use them or don t... I don t care, but don t invent
                          Message 12 of 23 , Jul 5, 2010
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                            There are also Egyptian dovetails in BC time.
                            ( cannot recall any more specific details off the cuff )



                            Use them or don't... I don't care, but don't invent 
                            'kidnapped by gypsies and sold to Asian pirates'
                            type stories to try to justify them...

                            The apprenticed to a master that learned in Japan is
                            kinda cheesy and 'bad form' in my opinion.


                             
                            Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                            Aude Aliquid Dignum
                            ' Dare Something Worthy '



                            From: Mike from NH <fantasydesigns2002@...>
                            To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Mon, July 5, 2010 2:58:43 PM
                            Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?

                             

                            Ok, here is something I did a little looking at, if you can say your mentor traveled, or learned from a traveler, you might want to think about China, according to one reference I found, they've have joints like dovetail joints sence before 1100, here is the link.

                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Chinese_wooden_architecture

                            Yours in Service
                            Michael De La Coteau
                            (Michael of the Hill)

                            --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > Rule 1 - never say never
                            > Rule 2 - never say always
                            >
                            > The best you can say is you do not know of any examples of
                            > dovetails in England and France in the 13th century
                            > Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
                            >
                            > Aude Aliquid Dignum
                            > ' Dare Something Worthy '
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ________________________________
                            > From: "i_odlin@..." <i_odlin@...>
                            > To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                            > Sent: Sat, July 3, 2010 10:27:54 PM
                            > Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Type of joinery in 13th C coffret?
                            >
                            >
                            > --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, AlbionWood <albionwood@> wrote:
                            > > No dovetails for 13th c. England or France. Despite having been
                            > > known in the Roman period, and despite a few tantalizing
                            > > documentary references, these seem to have fallen completely out
                            > > of use in Northern Europe from the early MA until the 15th
                            > > century.
                            >
                            > Aaaaaaaaaaaand we're off! The betting windows are now closed, ladies and gentlemen as the horses are reaching the first quarter-mile post...
                            >
                            > -Iain
                            >


                          • conradh@efn.org
                            ... Beautifully said! It s very much an issue for the history of tools, too. In 1505 a Nuremberg engineer named Loffelholz designed and drew in his notebook a
                            Message 13 of 23 , Jul 5, 2010
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                              On Mon, July 5, 2010 8:35 am, Eric wrote:
                              > I agree with both Conal and Tim. While one should be careful to not deal
                              > in absolutes (as Conal said), according to every thing I know about
                              > extant examples, dovetails were not a common method of joinery in
                              > Northern Europe or Britain during the early portions of the SCA period
                              > (as Tim said). Tim also alluded to the fact that rare examples will
                              > occasionally crop up that would disprove that statement.
                              >
                              > Let me give an example based on our own period. Are flying cars period
                              > for late 20th century? Basically not, but during my whole life (since
                              > 1960) there have been different people and companies that have produced
                              > single or a small number of working flying cars available for sale. I
                              > even saw one operate as a small child at an airshow and owned a small,
                              > working, plastic model of that design. So, if someone asked five hundred
                              > years from now, if flying cars are period for the late 20th century, what
                              > would your answer be?
                              >
                              Beautifully said!

                              It's very much an issue for the history of tools, too. In 1505 a
                              Nuremberg engineer named Loffelholz designed and drew in his notebook a
                              startlingly advanced workbench for his day--it's about two-thirds of the
                              way to the sort of cabinetmaker's bench that became common in the Germanic
                              world by 1700 or so. It had a twin-screw face vise and a fully enclosed,
                              moving-dog tail vise, with multiple recesses for a planing stop that seem
                              to have also served as stops for the tail vise.

                              The trouble comes in figuring out whether anything came of this. Was Herr
                              Loffelholz a secretive dreamer like Leonardo, filling notebooks with
                              clever ideas that made no difference because he kept them so secret?

                              Half a century later, bench vises show up in half a dozen shops in the
                              _Standebuch_, also from Nuremberg. _Not one_ of those vises look like the
                              1505 examples, and not one is in any sort of woodworker's shop! They're
                              metal, and all used by high-end specialty metalworkers. They look like
                              the ancestors of a blacksmith's leg vise, not any sort of Loffelholz
                              derivative.

                              Context: The 1500's were a time in which the south German cities led the
                              world in metal technology, and in particular seemed to be systematically
                              exploring uses of screw threads. The first bench vises, the first rifled
                              guns, the first use of a screw press for printing, and the first use of
                              threaded fasteners, both wood screws and nuts and bolts--all show up first
                              in the south German cities, in or just before the first half of the
                              Sixteenth Century.

                              So it's like the flying cars, or like asking if internal-combustion motor
                              vehicles are period for the 19th Century. Of course they are--the first
                              IC driven car (which the Swiss inventor even called a "char") actually ran
                              down Swiss roads in 1803! All through that century, various inventors
                              built things that a) could run, and b) were such a pain in the ass to run
                              that they never really caught on.



                              Old-school craftsmen could be awfully conservative. My guess would be
                              that Loffelholz made a bench like his drawing, for his own use, and tried
                              to interest woodworkers in it. He himself was a user and contributor to
                              the exciting new screw technology, the one that led to the metalworking
                              vises we see illustrated sixty years later. But the woodworkers were used
                              to their old ways of holding the work, and held back for a while.
                              _Eventually_ they got the idea too, but unfortunately we have this gap in
                              the record between 1505 and around 1700. By 1700 the traditional
                              cabinetmakers bench with all the trimmings was widely used across Germany
                              and had spread to Scandinavia. Obviously, it developed in Germany
                              sometime during those two centuries, but on the evidence of the Standebuch
                              it had not caught on as early as 1565.

                              This sort of conservatism persisted--in the late 1700's Roubo could
                              illustrate a cabinetmakers bench, but said the only workers in France who
                              used them were German emigres! Nuremberg and Paris are not that far
                              apart--during the 1700's they were connected by regular stagecoach
                              service. Those benches were still not widely used in England for much
                              later, and many English cabinetmakers to this day still have no use for
                              tail vises.

                              So yeah, you can drive an 1801 Trevethick or an 1803 Rivaz to your Regency
                              event, and document it. But to be fair and honest, along with it consider
                              developing the persona of a cutting-edge engineer or mad scientist. Much
                              the same sorts who were demonstrating the flying car you saw. To
                              (finally!) get back to dovetails, how about a cover story to go with them,
                              about travel and training in Germany or the like? And perhaps put in some
                              other distinctively German features in the woodwork?

                              Ulfhedinn
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