12 August 2010

Classical Joinery

armoire de béguine
This is a post about joinery I had in mind that was triggered by  Christopher Schwarz,  when he mentioned his Classical Joinery course in Germany next September.  But it all started when I saw Norm Abram making a shaker washstand,  I saw the analogy in design with an  'armoire de béguine' I know,  as both use small heavily framed doors.

As a side note: Beguines are religious women, who among other thing translated the scriptures in French around 1250 and disappeared as a religious movement last century. I can't relate any furniture to the beguines apart from this example whose name I know by hearsay.  It is a one man (womens) eating cupboard as a plank can be drawn from under the middle door to serve as a table,  where the door gives access to the food stock and utensils. The small door opening leaves room for a U shaped internal shelve with copper hooks.

shaker washstand (Norm Abram)
Both have points in common but are also different in build up.  In the shaker style massive wooden panels are used joined together with rabbets and dados with the door as an exception.  Where the beguines cupboard solely uses frame and panels for the whole construction.  The panels are plain and thin and well made.  I see it as the product of specialized shops with one specialized in cutting timber for thin panels but also the frames as both are made out of similar oak.

shaker cabinet (Chris Schwarz)
Back to Christopher Schwarz.  His Classical Joinery course works on a small Shaker cabinet and covers "Joinery planes, including rabbeting planes, fillisters, router planes and shoulders.  Cutting joints using handsaws and handplanes, including rabbets, dados, tenons and half-laps."
But what is classical joinery?  For shakers, etc. it can be panel assembly with dados and rabbets where for others it is more a frame and panel situation.