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Re: [MedievalSawdust] antiquities and making it look older

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  • James Winkler
    Yea... the Victorians had a major thing for getting in touch with the past ... not normally a past that anybody else recognized... but... well, one might make
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 1 3:36 PM
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      Yea... the Victorians had a major thing for "getting in touch with the past"... not normally a past that anybody else recognized... but... well, one might make a strong argument for them being the forebears of all re-creationists...  with a passion!!
       
      The late 16th c. 6-board oak chest that I have also has a rather interesting Victorian modification.  The chest itself is pretty plain... the back hinges aren't original as the lid had been repaired at one point... but you can see the pattern and nail location of the original hinges (iron on oak over time = a black stain... good for 'reading' what happened in the past)...  the chest hasn't been refinished... but, on the front is this cheesy 'lock plate' of thin iron that’s kinda' rusty and 'rustic' looking.  (there is no lock in the chest and the fact that the whole front plank is still there with no place that indicates a lock or anything had ever been cut in at any time...)...  But, the Victorians apparently believed that chests "should" have had locks... and were prone to putting such things on...  its not even a good fake lock plate... the keyhole is kinda' funky looking...
       
      The chest though is an amazing study in late medieval woodworking... the original part of the top appears VERY smooth... but looking at it with the right light shows... adz marks!!  The top wasn't planed... but worked with some sort of a chip removing tool... and amazingly well worked too...  (might have been hand worked with a very shallow chisel...  no way of telling for sure...).
       
      The provenience on the chest was provided by the London auction house I bought it through... and they were the ones who identified the 'Victorian modification'...
       
      Gotta' love the Victorians... 
       
      ... but you're right... it’s a very intriguing question regarding how any culture so far removed from our own viewed or thought about their possessions...  we can get some glimpses... but will ever be frustrated by never being able to know for sure... 
       
      Chas.
       

      My original point on the whole issue and the reason I brough it up is because I watched a Antiques Roadshow (I think UK) a while back and someone had a big long chest (about 12') that was carved like many of the medieval chests we study, but the appraiser mentioned it was much newer and was actually a victorian piece made to look medieval and then antiqued. then the whole sand thread got me thinking again on the point that the victorian's were paying big bucks for "historical" pieces, is the whole thing a relatively modern idea of old = valuable or is it something that has been going on for a number of years. It's an interesting point but I have never found any evidence one way or the other.
       
      Mark / Cered
       
       
    • Bill McNutt
      So, pictures, oh keeper of the artifact? Master Will http://tech.cls.utk.edu/wood ... From: James Winkler [mailto:jrwinkler@msn.com] Sent: Tuesday, February
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 1 7:20 PM
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        So, pictures, oh keeper of the artifact?

         

        Master Will

        http://tech.cls.utk.edu/wood

         

        -----Original Message-----
        From: James Winkler [mailto:jrwinkler@...]
        Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 6:37 PM
        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] antiquities and making it look older

         

        Yea... the Victorians had a major thing for "getting in touch with the past"... not normally a past that anybody else recognized... but... well, one might make a strong argument for them being the forebears of all re-creationists...  with a passion!!

         

        The late 16th c. 6-board oak chest that I have also has a rather interesting Victorian modification.  The chest itself is pretty plain... the back hinges aren't original as the lid had been repaired at one point... but you can see the pattern and nail location of the original hinges (iron on oak over time = a black stain... good for 'reading' what happened in the past)...  the chest hasn't been refinished... but, on the front is this cheesy 'lock plate' of thin iron that’s kinda' rusty and 'rustic' looking.  (there is no lock in the chest and the fact that the whole front plank is still there with no place that indicates a lock or anything had ever been cut in at any time...)...  But, the Victorians apparently believed that chests "should" have had locks... and were prone to putting such things on...  its not even a good fake lock plate... the keyhole is kinda' funky looking...

         

        The chest though is an amazing study in late medieval woodworking... the original part of the top appears VERY smooth... but looking at it with the right light shows... adz marks!!  The top wasn't planed... but worked with some sort of a chip removing tool... and amazingly well worked too...  (might have been hand worked with a very shallow chisel...  no way of telling for sure...).

         

        The provenience on the chest was provided by the London auction house I bought it through... and they were the ones who identified the 'Victorian modification'...

         

        Gotta' love the Victorians... 

         

        ... but you're right... it’s a very intriguing question regarding how any culture so far removed from our own viewed or thought about their possessions...  we can get some glimpses... but will ever be frustrated by never being able to know for sure... 

         

        Chas.

         

         

        My original point on the whole issue and the reason I brough it up is because I watched a Antiques Roadshow (I think UK) a while back and someone had a big long chest (about 12') that was carved like many of the medieval chests we study, but the appraiser mentioned it was much newer and was actually a victorian piece made to look medieval and then antiqued. then the whole sand thread got me thinking again on the point that the victorian's were paying big bucks for "historical" pieces, is the whole thing a relatively modern idea of old = valuable or is it something that has been going on for a number of years. It's an interesting point but I have never found any evidence one way or the other.

         

        Mark / Cered

         

         



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      • James Winkler
        Humm.... well... OK... ;-]) I ll break out the trusty camera tomorrow and see if I can t get some good shots... Chas... So, pictures, oh keeper of the
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 1 9:18 PM
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          Humm.... well... OK...  ;-])     I'll break out the trusty camera tomorrow and see if I can't get some good shots...
           
          Chas...
           

          So, pictures, oh keeper of the artifact?

           

        • Tim Bray
          Chas, ... Very cool! I wonder how one might discern between the marks of an adz vs. a chisel. For that matter, are you certain it could not have been a
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 1 10:40 PM
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            Chas,

            >The chest though is an amazing study in late medieval woodworking... the
            >original part of the top appears VERY smooth... but looking at it with the
            >right light shows... adz marks!! The top wasn't planed... but worked with
            >some sort of a chip removing tool... and amazingly well worked
            >too... (might have been hand worked with a very shallow chisel... no way
            >of telling for sure...).

            Very cool! I wonder how one might discern between the marks of an adz vs.
            a chisel. For that matter, are you certain it could not have been a
            broadaxe? They can give a very flat surface, in good hands.

            Cheers,
            Colin




            Albion Works
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            For the Medievalist!
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          • James Winkler
            Definitely not a broadax... unless it wasn t that broad.. the marks are extremely shallow and no more than a half inch or so wide... (you have to have the
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 2 5:40 AM
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              Definitely not a broadax...  unless it wasn't that broad.. the marks are extremely shallow and no more than a half inch or so wide...  (you have to have the light just right and look at just the right angle to see them...) and almost look like the surface was just being scuffed by the too....
               
              RE: gesso build up... so Brian uses fiberglass, eh?  The first intro into how the shields were constructed I ran into was an article in an old 'Chroniqe'...  ;-])  Interesting... 
               
              Chas.
               
              ======================

              Chas,

              >The chest though is an amazing study in late medieval woodworking... the
              >original part of the top appears VERY smooth... but looking at it with the
              >right light shows... adz marks!!  The top wasn't planed... but worked with
              >some sort of a chip removing tool... and amazingly well worked
              >too...  (might have been hand worked with a very shallow chisel...  no way
              >of telling for sure...).

              Very cool!   I wonder how one might discern between the marks of an adz vs.
              a chisel.  For that matter, are you certain it could not have been a
              broadaxe?  They can give a very flat surface, in good hands.

              Cheers,
              Colin

            • kjworz@comcast.net
              Could the marks have been made by a Jack Plane/Fore Plane with a camber to the iron? -- -Chris Schwartz Silver Spring, MD ======================== Definitely
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 2 6:07 AM
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                Could the marks have been made by a Jack Plane/Fore Plane with a camber to the iron?

                --
                -Chris Schwartz
                Silver Spring, MD


                ========================

                Definitely not a broadax... unless it wasn't that broad.. the marks are extremely shallow and no more than a half inch or so wide... (you have to have the light just right and look at just the right angle to see them...) and almost look like the surface was just being scuffed by the too....

                RE: gesso build up... so Brian uses fiberglass, eh? The first intro into how the shields were constructed I ran into was an article in an old 'Chroniqe'... ;-]) Interesting...

                Chas.

                ======================
              • Bill McNutt
                I ll swap you. I ve got some pics of a 13th century document chest from the Merchant Adventurer s Guild Hall in York. Master Will ... From: James Winkler
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 2 7:35 AM
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                  Message
                  I'll swap you.  I've got some pics of a 13th century document chest from the Merchant Adventurer's Guild Hall in York.
                   
                  Master Will
                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: James Winkler [mailto:jrwinkler@...]
                  Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 12:18 AM
                  To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] antiquities and making it look older

                  Humm.... well... OK...  ;-])     I'll break out the trusty camera tomorrow and see if I can't get some good shots...
                   
                  Chas...
                   

                  So, pictures, oh keeper of the artifact?

                   



                  <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
                       http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/


                • julian wilson
                  If I may be permitted to contribute to this thread? In my opinion, given the ability of any really-gifted woodworker to replicate older work , and even to
                  Message 8 of 18 , Feb 2 10:44 AM
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                    If I may be permitted to contribute to this thread?
                    In my opinion, given the ability of any really-gifted woodworker to replicate "older work", and even to "antique it" if the customer wants that done - the only way to accurately date any item made from timber is to take a  "core" from a hidden section of the article and send the core to a Dendrochronology Lab. That will at least tell you when the timber was felled.
                     
                    When - in my "mundane" job in the UK Construction Industry - I was tasked with the Post of Project Manager for the restoration of the "Old Rectory", in Northfleet, Kent - that is exactly what I did, to confirm the date of the beams of the roof structure and of the timber frame. We took about 30 cores from various beams, - and Nottingham Uni's Dendro Lab. confirmed that 90% of the timber had been felled in 1487. Which agreed nicely with the documentary evidence the Client/Developer [Hunter-Sapphir plc] had assembled from other sources.
                    Messrs. Wiltishiers' did exactly the same thing when they restored the Mast House at Chatham's "Historic Dockyard" just a few miles eastwards down the road from Northfleet.



                    Yours in service,
                    Julian Wilson,
                    [aka. Messire Matthew Baker/Matthieu Besquer, Governor & Castellan of Jersey, 1486-1497: - "Si vis pacem, para bellum"]
                    late-medieval Re-enactor; & Historian and Master Artisan to
                    "The Companie of the Duke's Leopards",
                    [the only medieval living-history Group
                    in "olde" Jersey]


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                  • Dan Baker
                    On a related subject..... I usually assume that as a craftsman making things that I will be using, or selling, or bartering, etc... That I am selling new
                    Message 9 of 18 , Feb 2 1:13 PM
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                      On a related subject.....

                      I usually assume that as a craftsman making things that I will be
                      using, or selling, or bartering, etc... That I am selling new stuff.
                      Therefore anything I make should look new, not antique whether real or
                      artificially. I feel that if my persona is 15th century, and I am
                      making a 15th century piece, it should look like I just made it.
                      Wouldn't you agree?

                      -Rhys
                    • julian wilson
                      Dan Baker wrote:On a related subject..... I usually assume that as a craftsman making things that I will be using, or selling, or
                      Message 10 of 18 , Feb 2 1:56 PM
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                        Dan Baker <LordRhys@...> wrote:
                        On a related subject.....

                        I usually assume that as a craftsman making things that I will be using, or selling, or bartering, etc... That I am selling new stuff.
                        Therefore anything I make should look new, not antique whether real or artificially.  I feel that if my persona is 15th century, and I am making a 15th century piece, it should look like I just made it.
                        Wouldn't you agree?
                        REPLY
                        In response to your posit - it would depend upon the rationale behind what I might be making and why. 
                        If I am making furniture and other wooden equipment for our Companie to use, I tend to vary the finishes between, say, - "that chest was my grandsire's, which my sire left unto me" [2 generations of use, and showing the scars and patina thereof] - to  entirely new items, fresh from the Master Carpenter's joinery shop.
                        As far as our Companie is concerned, we feel it would not look "right" to have everything seeming brand new, in a Household that had been established for several generations.
                        Items would have been passed-down, and would have acquired varying degrees of patination  and distressing through "long and honourable service"



                        Yours in service,
                        Julian Wilson,
                        [aka. Messire Matthew Baker/Matthieu Besquer, Governor & Castellan of Jersey, 1486-1497: - "Si vis pacem, para bellum"]
                        late-medieval Re-enactor; & Historian and Master Artisan to
                        "The Companie of the Duke's Leopards",
                        [the only medieval living-history Group
                        in "olde" Jersey]


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                      • Dragano Abbruciati
                        I agree........... Unless, of course, you are a 15C German with a treasured 13C Norse chest. Dragano Dan Baker wrote: On a related
                        Message 11 of 18 , Feb 2 3:23 PM
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                          I agree...........  Unless, of course, you are a 15C German with a treasured 13C Norse chest.
                           
                          Dragano

                          Dan Baker <LordRhys@...> wrote:
                          On a related subject.....

                          I usually assume that as a craftsman making things that I will be
                          using, or selling, or bartering, etc... That I am selling new stuff.
                          Therefore anything I make should look new, not antique whether real or
                          artificially.  I feel that if my persona is 15th century, and I am
                          making a 15th century piece, it should look like I just made it.
                          Wouldn't you agree?

                          -Rhys


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                        • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                          ... Underhill has a good discussion of tool marks in one of his books ( can t remember which one off the top of my head though.... ) ===== Baron Conal O hAirt
                          Message 12 of 18 , Feb 2 6:23 PM
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                            >
                            > Very cool! I wonder how one might discern between
                            > the marks of an adz vs.
                            > a chisel. For that matter, are you certain it could
                            > not have been a
                            > broadaxe? They can give a very flat surface, in
                            > good hands.
                            >
                            > Cheers,
                            > Colin


                            Underhill has a good discussion of tool marks
                            in one of his books ( can't remember which one
                            off the top of my head though.... )



                            =====
                            Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                            Aude Aliquid Dignum
                            ' Dare Something Worthy '



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                          • Keith Dombrowski
                            I d like to see that one myself... -Kean
                            Message 13 of 18 , Feb 3 6:37 PM
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                              I'd like to see that one myself...

                              -Kean

                              On 2 Feb 2005 at 10:35, Bill McNutt wrote:

                              > I'll swap you. I've got some pics of a 13th century document chest from
                              > the Merchant Adventurer's Guild Hall in York.
                              >
                              > Master Will
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: James Winkler [mailto:jrwinkler@...]
                              > Sent: Wednesday, February 02, 2005 12:18 AM
                              > To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] antiquities and making it look older
                              >
                              >
                              > Humm.... well... OK... ;-]) I'll break out the trusty camera
                              > tomorrow and see if I can't get some good shots...
                              >
                              > Chas...
                              >
                              >
                              > So, pictures, oh keeper of the artifact?
                              >
                              > Master Will
                              > http://tech.cls.utk.edu/wood
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > _____
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                            • Tim Bray
                              Hey Chas, ... Sounds like it could be a jack plane... how long are the individual tracks ? This is the kind of thing that fascinates me: trying to examine the
                              Message 14 of 18 , Feb 9 9:36 PM
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                                Hey Chas,

                                >Definitely not a broadax... unless it wasn't that broad.. the marks are
                                >extremely shallow and no more than a half inch or so wide... (you have to
                                >have the light just right and look at just the right angle to see them...)
                                >and almost look like the surface was just being scuffed by the too....

                                Sounds like it could be a jack plane... how long are the individual "tracks"?

                                This is the kind of thing that fascinates me: trying to examine the
                                surfaces of object to deduce how they were worked. Wonder if any grad
                                student in Archaeology has ever done a thesis on this, looking at medieval
                                furniture to identify tool marks? The marks of the saw, plane, and chisel
                                are pretty common; and of course axe marks on large timbers. I've often
                                wondered if it would be possible to identify scraper marks, perhaps with a
                                binocular microscope.

                                How would the marks of an adze differ from those left by a broadaxe, for
                                example?

                                Just to offer another question that might be addressed this way: It is
                                possible to create the hollows in linenfold panels in two different ways -
                                with a carving chisel (gouge), or with a hollowing plane. Which method was
                                actually used (or were both)? Seems like the chisel would leave different
                                tracks than the plane - you should be able to see the tiny ridges left when
                                the gouge stops before being struck again, whereas the plane leaves a level
                                and smooth surface.

                                Cheers,
                                Colin


                                Albion Works
                                Furniture and Accessories
                                For the Medievalist!
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                              • Bruce S. R. Lee
                                Colin Have you looked at the book by Leonard Lee on sharpening? He goes into some detail on the types of wood failure/cutting from chisels, planes & scrapers -
                                Message 15 of 18 , Feb 10 4:23 AM
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                                  Colin

                                  Have you looked at the book by Leonard Lee on sharpening? He goes into some
                                  detail on the types of wood failure/cutting from chisels, planes & scrapers
                                  - type 1 & type 2 as they are referred to. At the microscopic level I think
                                  the surface difference is mainly due to the cutting angle of the blade &
                                  wether there is a 'mouth' opening to confine the shaving.

                                  regards
                                  Brusi of Orkney

                                  snip
                                  >How would the marks of an adze differ from those left by a broadaxe, for
                                  >example?
                                  >
                                  >Just to offer another question that might be addressed this way: It is
                                  >possible to create the hollows in linenfold panels in two different ways -
                                  >with a carving chisel (gouge), or with a hollowing plane. Which method was
                                  >actually used (or were both)? Seems like the chisel would leave different
                                  >tracks than the plane - you should be able to see the tiny ridges left when
                                  >the gouge stops before being struck again, whereas the plane leaves a level
                                  >and smooth surface.
                                  >
                                  >Cheers,
                                  >Colin
                                • kjworz@comcast.net
                                  Leonard Lee is also full of some hooey. His book is good, but has some errors, and is a bit dated. He insists that block plane performance is compromised
                                  Message 16 of 18 , Feb 10 4:35 AM
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                                    Leonard Lee is also full of some hooey. His book is good, but has some errors, and is a bit dated.

                                    He insists that block plane performance is compromised because the "lever cap/cap iron" is too far back, but this is irrelevent with a bezel up plane blade. His experiments on skewed plane blades, HE says, are conclusive, yet you can drive a truck through the holes in his methodology.

                                    It's dated in his obvious omission of new development that came after he published. ScarySharp (tm) techniques aren't well known to him at printing, nor those Japanese Shapton stones.

                                    That said, without Mr. Lee, my tools would have been much duller. CrO is the good stuff.... So I owe him the CrO tip and the basic hand sharpening technique I started with, and his treatise on grinder wheels is wonderful.

                                    --
                                    -Chris Schwartz
                                    Silver Spring, MD


                                    >
                                    > Colin
                                    >
                                    > Have you looked at the book by Leonard Lee on sharpening? He goes into some
                                    > detail on the types of wood failure/cutting from chisels, planes & scrapers
                                    > - type 1 & type 2 as they are referred to. At the microscopic level I think
                                    > the surface difference is mainly due to the cutting angle of the blade &
                                    > wether there is a 'mouth' opening to confine the shaving.
                                    >
                                    > regards
                                    > Brusi of Orkney
                                    >
                                    > snip
                                    > >How would the marks of an adze differ from those left by a broadaxe, for
                                    > >example?
                                    > >
                                    > >Just to offer another question that might be addressed this way: It is
                                    > >possible to create the hollows in linenfold panels in two different ways -
                                    > >with a carving chisel (gouge), or with a hollowing plane. Which method was
                                    > >actually used (or were both)? Seems like the chisel would leave different
                                    > >tracks than the plane - you should be able to see the tiny ridges left when
                                    > >the gouge stops before being struck again, whereas the plane leaves a level
                                    > >and smooth surface.
                                    > >
                                    > >Cheers,
                                    > >Colin
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                  • Tim Bray
                                    Brusi, ... No, I haven t felt the need; never had much trouble getting things sharp. But I m seeing a lot of references to it and beginning to understand
                                    Message 17 of 18 , Feb 10 8:43 AM
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                                      Brusi,

                                      >Have you looked at the book by Leonard Lee on sharpening?

                                      No, I haven't felt the need; never had much trouble getting things
                                      sharp. But I'm seeing a lot of references to it and beginning to
                                      understand there's more to it than just how to sharpen. Maybe I'll look
                                      for a cheap used copy.

                                      > He goes into some
                                      >detail on the types of wood failure/cutting from chisels, planes & scrapers
                                      >- type 1 & type 2 as they are referred to. At the microscopic level I think
                                      >the surface difference is mainly due to the cutting angle of the blade &
                                      >wether there is a 'mouth' opening to confine the shaving.

                                      Yes, and there's also a difference in the way they are used, which ought to
                                      leave traces in the wood.

                                      Cheers,
                                      Colin


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                                      Furniture and Accessories
                                      For the Medievalist!
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