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Re: [medievalsawdust] Re: Dovetails

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  • Tim Bray
    ... This is, to me, literally incredible. Do you seriously mean to imply that people in the early 16th c. - a time when the most basic assumptions about
    Message 1 of 46 , Sep 7, 2003
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      >"Ah well, sorry about your chest,
      >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"

      This is, to me, literally incredible. Do you seriously mean to imply that
      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
      seems; and/or

      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.

      Cheers,
      Colin


      Albion Works
      Furniture and Accessories
      For the Medievalist!
      http://www.albionworks.net
      http://www.albionworks.com
    • Beth and Bob Matney
      I am interested in locating some details (including images) as to the construction of the St. Paulinus (died 358AD) Trèves (transferred 395AD) coffin joined
      Message 46 of 46 , Jun 17, 2009
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        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
        http://www.worldcat.org/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,

        Thank you.
        Beth Matney
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