Thursday, July 25, 2013

Design Direction

I believe I may have previously confessed my hopeless inability to remember the difference between an ovolo and an ogee, and my tendency to get a nasty headache if forced to differentiate betwixt an astragal and an astrolabe. Well, to my chagrin, I'm no better with furniture design styles than I am with mouldings. However, I ran across a stylish way to at least know your Eames from your Mies - flashcards!

Okay, so modern design isn't exactly my most favourite thing in the world, but I like the idea and the execution makes me want to frame the darn things. Just need something more along the lines of knowing your Chippendale from your Hepplewhite; furniture makers flashcards anyone? Or, come that, ones for terms used for mouldings. Honestly, that might be my only hope...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Steamboat Arabia

Any Kansas City readers out there in virtual land? What can you tell me about the Steamboat Arabia? I ran across this sort of Missouri River obviously-not-as-old (1856) Mary Rose-a-like-ish archaeological find by chance, but unfortunately my patience (and connection) runs out before their site finishes being pretty and what there is appears naturally aimed more at getting me to visit than spare me a trip. But I did find these pics elsewhere:

She seems to have been pretty much carrying the contents of a hardware store when she sunk.

But the glimpses of tools are just enough to be interesting. Boats and tools? My kinda place. Just where is Missouri anyway...?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bamboo Basketry

Basket weaving has something of an "occupational therapy/you're probably cuckoo" connotation to it to my mind, if I'm honest. But on the other hand there's always something very calming and vaguely hypnotic about watching any Japanese craftsperson at work.

Plus there's a really, really interesting technique for thicknessing the bamboo strips that's certainly new to me. The very definition of simplifying your tooling.

So, eight and a bit minutes of Mr Chifuyu Enomoto doing his thing for your attention. (The interesting technique is around the 2:20 mark)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Faded Glories

Whilst looking for something else completely, and not even for the apparently obvious key word, I ran across this set of photos taken at the abandoned works of George Barnsley & Sons, file maker, leather tool maker et cetera.

Sad, yes, but also oddly fascinating. Probably as good a flavour of a Sheffield tool works of the old school as any.

In the same photographer's photo sets is another place of galootish interest; Stanley Tool Works. To be honest I found that just plain depressing; enter at your own risk.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Got Retro Taped

Whilst stumbling over the Handyman's Birthday card last week, I also found something infinitely more interesting. Cast your mind back, if you will, to the very welcome acquisition of my Great-Grandfather's Rabone Measuring Tape. A design classic, these tapes, and oddly satisfying to use.

But there are often problems; the first few feet have usually seen a lot of action and can be very worn and/or missing altogether, they tend to stretch over time, and for the metricated amongst us, they're resolutely Imperial. Unless they're in some other unit of measurement entirely, when you're really all out of luck. But they're so very galootish, no?

Kids! They make a modern version! Can't believe it, but the fad for "retro" may actually have its uses. Look.
Obviously it doesn't have quite the vibe of the genuine article, although I think the price tag for it compared to an old one in as-new condition may actually be better. Plus it has them thar new-fangled centy-meters for the young'uns. So there you are, if you've always hankered for such a thing. 

I'll now go away and sit on my hands and tell myself that actually, no, I don't need one and no, my curiosity does not need to be satisfied about it in any way, shape or form. We'll see how that goes...

Monday, July 08, 2013


Been published a little while now, so I'm probably well behind the curve on this, but I just ran across a book called Woodcut by Bryan Nash Gill. (Incidentally, good artistic and printing credentials to that name, with Nash and Gill.)

So, they're large size prints taken from the cross sections of trees. Which on the face of it makes me go "Oh, well, o-kay..." Of course a lot of art makes me do that, but apparently that's because I'm a philistine, which is probably absolutely true. However, despite my natural inclination to scoff and point out the 1000 more useful ways to use wood, I find myself fascinated by these. Click on the link and actually take the time to look at the sample pages in full screen; I reckon it's worth it. And that's from someone who inevitably skips the how trees grow/study the growth rings portion of every woodworking book owing to terminal boredom.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Handyman's Birthday Card

Well, they tried. They aren't entirely on target, but they tried.

But good news; the matching wrapping paper also has a coping saw on it, and they got that absolutely right. And you know how riled up I can get about that...

Monday, July 01, 2013

Fifteen Second Wonder

Well fifteen seconds must have been the maximum time it took to guess the wotsit. Extremely minimalist tape dispenser it is.

Although stamps is an option too, despite my first reaction being "Huh?" But then it dawned on me that international differences were almost certainly in play and probably stamps are more commonly found in rolls elsewhere. Here in archaic little Blighty we still tend most often to find out stamps in little books. If you see a stamp at all. These days, with franking and the computer-generated postage at the Post Office, philately will get you nowhere.