Re: [medievalsawdust] Re: Dovetails
>"Ah well, sorry about your chest,This is, to me, literally incredible. Do you seriously mean to imply that
>Herr Meisterburgher, that happens sometimes. Nothing can be done
>about it, as that's the only way to do that. My father taught me
>that way, and his father taught him that way and on and on. Who am I
>to change the tradition? Of course I care very much about the
>quality of my work, as you can tell from the intricate carvings, but
>this failure is simply a limitation of the material"
people in the early 16th c. - a time when the most basic assumptions about
society and the world were being questioned and refuted - were just too
stubborn and stupid to think about their own work?
The artisan making a dovetailed chest in, say, 1510 (about when Durer was
drawing them) had not learned it from three generations of tradition. This
was something new, that became popular across Europe within a single
generation. (Unless all those chests were the products of workshops in
Italy that had been quietly making them for local markets for a hundred
years. As I said before, I'm not so familiar with Italian practices.)
>Or is some other mindset getting in the way?Definitely must be, since your hypothesis does not seem to fit the
observations. So what other reasons might there be? I have suggested:
1. The shortcoming of acutely-angled dovetails was not as serious as it
2. Dramatic dovetails were what the market demanded at the time.
To address #1 - has anyone here actually made a chest with dovetails using
period angles? I have made a few practice pieces, and found that such
dovetails simply require greater care and better wood. Maybe we are
over-emphasizing the drawbacks. This idea gets some support, I think, from
the fact that hundreds of these chests have survived intact to the present day.
Point # 2 is predicated on the assumption that people will figure out ways
to achieve what their customers want. I think this has considerable
evidence throughout history.
Furniture and Accessories
For the Medievalist!
- I am interested in locating some details
(including images) as to the construction of the
St. Paulinus (died 358AD) Trèves (transferred
395AD) coffin "joined by means of dovetailing".
As the wood is described as 'cedar', there is
some question as to where the coffin was made.
From page 219,
Battiscombe, C. F. The Relics of Saint Cuthbert; Studies by Various
Authors. Oxford: Printed for the Dean and Chapter of Durham Cathedral
at the University Press, 1956. OCLC 4071903
footnotes 10/11 refer to detailed accounts of the
coffin in Bonner Jahrbücher vol. lxxvii, 1884,
pp. 238 ff; vol. lxxviii, 1884 pp. 173
Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn, and Rhine
Province (Germany). Bonner Jahrbücher. 1842.
ISSN:0067-9976 OCLC Number: 3459165 or OCLC
Number: 213803943 microfilm, OCLC Number: 297237884 eJournal
If anyone has seen the coffin or the journal
articles referenced above (or preferably a more
recent analysis in English), please post the
information. It would be most appreciated,