Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 16 to 30 of 46

Thread: Accuracy in historic pieces

  1. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    springfield,or
    Posts
    265
    Quote Originally Posted by James Pallas View Post
    Of course they did. They invented the tools we use today. Marking gauges, dividers, rafter squares with 1/100 inch notched scales so you can set dividers with it etc. They also spent 5 to 7 years learning under a master.
    I understand they invented the tools, but in my mind that doesn't mean the tools are as precision made as today. Were wood planes milled to the same precision specs as say a lie-nielsen or veritas?

    Henry Ford invented the model-T..... Its no where near the same precision machine as a Ferrari. Just because someone in time invented something, it doesn't mean the original person / tool is as good / capable of the precision of today.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    springfield,or
    Posts
    265
    And to follow up on that. I understand in hand tool woodworking its the craftsman and not the tools.
    Last edited by Michael J Evans; 06-08-2020 at 1:56 AM.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,815
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Evans View Post
    This probably is a dumb question, but in the rub joint, would both pieces have been clamped together in a vice and planed together as to cancel out an errors. Or does that only work for the squaring of it and not the lengthwise edge?
    I use match planing as you describe for long rub joints.

    I typically square both boards, first (to the limits of my ability) and then "fold" them together before taking a pass or two.

    I suppose if you're proficient at squaring an edge, it's not necessary - but I take a few minutes to get the better fit.

    Verification with a light source is recommended.

    FYI - I was taught to "spring" longer boards (more than 18") so the ends of each board touch first.

    In my opinion, rub joints are best for very thin materials or pieces that aren't very wide, where the weight of the piece will distort the joint as it cures.

  4. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Rafael Herrera View Post
    Warren, Mr. Charlesworth's method sounds very simplistic and impractical for long work pieces. Are there techniques that ensure straight edges or well mated edges to do rub joints?
    Yes, the method suggested will make even more of a hollow on longer joints.

    I think that a lot of people would like a flow chart for this task. Follow these steps to ensure flatness. A better approach is to test with straight edge and plane the high spots only, whether they be at the ends, or somewhere in the middle. For truing a board, we flatten a face and use a square to ensure squareness for the edge. For making a joint, however it is more accurate to use winding sticks on the edge to ensure flatness. And in the end, with one board still in the vise, the mating board is laid on top to see if it mates. We can look for light along the joint, rock it to see if there is a slight wind and also swivel the board to see if it is humped in the middle or tight at the ends.

    I once did some research on spring joints. It appears that they were first used on machine made joints in the late 19th century. I read an explanation written at that time, but I did not have enough experience with a machine jointer to understand the problem they were trying to correct.

    Nicholson (1812) explains the technique of match planing when talking about making winding sticks and straightedges, but says this technique was not used for making edge joints. In those days joints were made before flattening the face sides so fastening them in the vise face to face was not so practical. For hand work, I recommend making the joint before planing a face side.

    And one more thing. There was an article about making Starrett squares about 30 years ago. For their finest squares they had a man sitting in a darkened area with one light bulb across the room. He had a granite surface and some reference squares and he would hold the new square up against the reference and look at the light. Then he would make adjustments with a sandpaper file. This is precision at its finest.
    Last edited by Warren Mickley; 06-08-2020 at 7:51 AM.

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    New England area
    Posts
    293
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Evans View Post
    Hi all
    I'm sure some of you around here have spent time looking at antique furniture/joinery, etc. I am curious as to how accurate the Craftsman of old really were?
    I know that a piece of joinery 200 years old has probably changed substantially since it was made, but realistically how accurate was the work? Do you think they worked to the same tolerances we can today, or even cared to?

    Thanks
    Michael
    Watch this four part series:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bhu7HjIGAk&t=52s

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    springfield,or
    Posts
    265
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Guest View Post
    Charles,
    Thank you for sharing that. The work is truly inspiring.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    1,800
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Guest View Post
    just watched them. Thanks for the link.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  8. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Mueller View Post
    Iím curious, Brian, if they were museum, private collection or run of the mill antique store pieces. The reason I ask, is I have a turn of the century piece and the hand cut dovetails are not exactly great. It may have been a mass produced piece, donít know. But like today, I suspect there was a full range of quality being offered at various price points.
    After about 1850 (maybe earlier) most furniture was factory made, meaning made using power tools. To get hand made furniture you have to go back to maybe 1820 or earlier. Are you sure those are hand cut dovetails? Was it a commercial piece or a commissioned piece?

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    1,800
    My favorite historic pieces are from around the turn of the century, so most of the joinery was machine made. I did see a few hand made pieces in a museum in Newport, RI a couple hears ago. They were masterworks. I asked a docent to open a drawer for me so I could see the dovetails. The spacing and sizing was not perfectly uniform, but the fit between pins and tails was very precise. In my mind this spoke to a skilled craftsman freehanding the position and size of tails and transferring them to the pin board very accurately.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,815
    Let us not forget Chippendale employed hundreds who worked for very little pay, to escape brutal farm labor.

    Emulating this degree of refinement, working solo, is an endeavor that will consume *all* resources, at the expense of everything thing else.

  11. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Matthews View Post
    Let us not forget Chippendale employed hundreds who worked for very little pay, to escape brutal farm labor.
    I suspect that journeyman cabinetmakers in London at that time were paid better than in America today. A cabinetmaker could buy six or eight hand forged chisels for a day's pay. Just try to buy a hand forged chisel today.

  12. #27
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    South Coastal Massachusetts
    Posts
    5,815
    Quote Originally Posted by Warren Mickley View Post
    I suspect that journeyman cabinetmakers in London at that time were paid better than in America today. A cabinetmaker could buy six or eight hand forged chisels for a day's pay. Just try to buy a hand forged chisel today.
    Let's break that down, shall we?

    How many forges were running, back in Chippendale's heyday? You're inferring that those makers commanded similar pricing to today's makers.

    Do tell.

    Hitchens' razor applies

  13. #28
    Having visited Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC and Williamsburg, VA many times, and that we like to stay in historic B&B's I've looked at a lot of antique furniture. I've concluded what you see in museums is not the way a lot of furniture was built.

    I've seen lots of really sloppy dovetail drawers behind a gorgeously carved or veneered drawer fronts. I've seen dovetails actually nailed through the tails. Maybe a fix or maybe made that way?

    Pieces put together with no regard for wood movement, and big cracks in side panels and tops.

    I've also seen a lot of stuff simply nailed together. I've seen quite a few table or dresser tops nailed on with cut nails, so I know its original.

    So my point is, there were all calibers of craftsman even back then, but we tend to think of them all as "masters".

    That said, for me, its the design of the furniture that is so endearing, and the craftsmanship is up to the builder.

  14. #29
    Join Date
    Dec 2019
    Location
    The old pueblo in el norte.
    Posts
    472
    My mother had a thing for old furniture. Growing up in Europe meant that these items were plentiful (it also shifts the value of the term 'old', not much is really old in the US), and because the cachet of 'antique furniture' hadn't hit yet, they were reasonably priced. I saw all manner of quality, both in the house and while being dragged to go look at potential purchases. I suspect it was in line with what was paid. In pieces that were 'middle of the road' it was pretty obviously visible joinery and surfaces that were paid attention to only. Some pieces were certainly utilitarian, in these joinery was gapped but remained pretty stout (let's keep in mind that we're seeing survivors only). The take away? There's always been a wide assortment of pricing for goods and services, the more you're willing to pay the better the quality (as the more the time spent on it is worth).

    But this post is about accuracy, which is all about relative fit. People have been scribing and using knife lines for centuries and measuring just induces errors. Besides, this isn't metal, where the tolerances of the available tools has continually improved.
    ~mike

    scope creep

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Location
    New England area
    Posts
    293
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael J Evans View Post
    Charles,
    Thank you for sharing that. The work is truly inspiring.
    It is indeed, and extremely accurate as well.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •