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An Enzo Mari Table – and a Puzzle

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“Mari is right, everyone should have a project: after all it is the best way to avoid being designed yourself.” — G.C. Argan, L’Espresso, 1974 In 1974, Italian designer Enzo Mari published a series of furniture designs that were free to the public. People were encouraged to use his drawings to produce tables, chairs, beds and bookshelves. What’s more, Mari designed the pieces so they could be made from standardized […]

The post An Enzo Mari Table – and a Puzzle appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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brico
13 days ago
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Schwarz does Mari.
Brooklyn, NY
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How Practical Geometry is practical

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This is a sequel to my previous post: http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2017/11/the-tuckahoe-cabin-geometry.html

Do I think the carpenter who laid out the small simple cabin at Tuckahoe actually drew the arcs on the  ground? or on the floor  - once he had squared the foundation and set the sills?

No, I think he knew the geometry. Someone had already taught him what I drew.
I think he swung the arcs but marked only the foot or so where he  knew the crossings would be. He knew that he wanted to locate the center of each wall, and  - by basic geometric rules - he needed 2 points to draw a line perpendicular or parallel to the wall in question.






Here is a lithograph of Pere Soubise, patron saint of the Campagnons, French carpenters who have finished their apprenticeships and begin traveling from town to town, from job to job to learn new skills. (In English an Apprentice becomes a Journeyman at this stage of his training because he 'journeys'. When he has gained enough experience he is then eligible to become a Master.)

Pere Soubin is probably mythical. But the date of his portrait is known: 1863. Click on the print to read the attribution. 
In 1863 a portrait of an important man included the tool of his trade: Pere Soubise holds a compass.






I have enlarged that part of the image. He holds his hand in  a way that he would if he were using the compass to measure a distance based on the drawing held in his other arm. Or as he would to  mark joist pocket locations on a beam, stepping off from one to the next.

Today a carpenter marks stud spacing with a tape measure that has multiples of 16" highlighted in red. The carpenter doesn't count 16" each time, he uses the tape's marking as a shorthand.
Similarly the framer in 1860 did not need to swing the arc from one point to the next, he used the compass to keep his spacing consistent.




As I was writing this a timber framer who did a lot of repair of old barns mentioned that he often found common rafters laid out at 39.5". 
I laughed and told him he had given me a challenge: Why 39.5"?

Here's the arithmetic: Many of the barns were about 40 ft long. 40 ft = 480" . 12 x 39.5 " =  474", 6" shorter than the barn's length. 3" each end for the end rafters.
However, that begins with the solution. It doesn't address how the framer found his answer.


Here's the  geometry.
The framer knows he will use  3" wide rafters on each end of his 40 ft long  barn, so he will have 474" in between for his rafters.
He wants to figure out what distance will work so he can tell the men working with him where to set the rafters and cut the pockets in the plate. The plate is sitting right there in his framing yard -  which might be the floor of the barn he is building.

He could make a scale drawing on a board and scale up to the plate using his compass, like this:

Or he could stretch his line the length of the plate between his end rafters. Then fold the line in half and and then half again. Now he had the length of the plate divided into 4 equal Parts. ( #1 , # 2)
 He thinks 12 rafters should do it. That means 3 rafters for each Part. But what's the spacing? On the framing floor he draws out a square using the Part as the side.  The handy Rule of Thirds quickly divides the square into 3 equal rectangles and the Part into 3 equal lengths. (#3)
4 parts x 3 divisions = 12 rafters. Good to go.
He doesn't care that the length of each is 39.5". He cares that he has divided his plate evenly. (#4)




Note that the framer does not add, subtract, multiply or divide. He could show this system to someone who spoke a different language. Neither would need know how to read words or compute. They would need to be able to think logically and reason visually.  Geometry is a language in itself.



By the 1860's  - the time of the Pere Soubise portrait - both France and England had standardized dimensions (meters in France, feet and yards in England). Tape measures existed  but were not widely used. Wooden folding rules were popular after the Civil War,  but carpenters still understood and used compasses for layout and design. 

I have met young timber framers who journey as Compagnons.
 For more information about the French Compagonnage historically and today:
http://www.historicalcarpentry.com/compagnonnage.html
And note the compass leaning against a beam in the first engraving.
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brico
79 days ago
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Brooklyn, NY
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The Future of Work

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brico
79 days ago
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Brooklyn, NY
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World's biggest DDoS attack record broken after just five days

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Memcached attacks are going to be this year's thing

Last week, the code repository GitHub was taken off air in a 1.3Tbps denial of service attack. We predicted then that there would be more such attacks and it seems we were right.…

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brico
80 days ago
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Can't beat the brits for headlines, see recent: "Gits club GitHub code tub with ... DDoS drub"
Brooklyn, NY
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A Handmade Christmas

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It’s still hard for me. After hours of working on a small cupboard for my wife this Christmas, I brought the pile of parts to my eight- and three-year-old boys to help me assemble it. I lined up all the parts just so and started the nails in their places before nervously handing them hammers. Every little boy I’ve ever known loves hitting things with hammers. 

Back and bottom boards I have no problem with – it’s the top that makes me nervous. As they drove the parts together, I had opportunity to teach them how to control the hammer’s swing so as not to dent the surface below. Despite our best efforts, the top got a bit dented. By setting the nails below the surface and planing out the dents, I easily erased most of the damage. I did, however, leave the faintest reminder of the boys’ earnest swings. These are their fingerprints.

 

A small pine cat I carved for our seven-month-old

My wife and I have always loved making things and when we give gifts to our kids, we try to give something from our hands and from our hearts. It is an amazing experience seeing joy and gratitude on the face of your child after you’ve spent time creating something specially made for them. My boys are used to this kind of gift giving and look forward to making things for others.

 

Julia and I like to gift this way to each other too. If we aren’t making something with our own hands, we either end up finding beautiful handmade items at antique stores or providing each other the tools or materials to continue the making habit. This is our family’s way of severing ourselves from the destructive cycle of insatiable consumerism that runs deep in our culture. In our family, we try to gift simply and thoughtfully.

It’s not that purchasing new shiny things is always bad. There are products on the market that we cannot make ourselves. There are high-integrity businesses that make quality goods and my conscience is clear supporting them. Saddleback Leather is a prime example of a company we love. While we can’t afford to purchase many items from them, we’ve saved up throughout the years in order to purchase a few of their multi-generational-quality items. This is business at its best.

But more often than not, we make our gifts. Until you’ve experienced the joy of handmade gifting yourself, it’s hard to understand the rationale. For those accustomed to the convenience of Amazon.com and other retail giants, the transition to handmade can be hard. It takes a lot of time. It takes tools, energy, and skill. But these are exactly the things my family values. Teaching our boys hand skills empowers them for their future. They are growing up believing it’s normal to design a gift for a loved one, acquire the appropriate materials, and spend time crafting it.

 

Another side benefit is that it keeps gifting sane. Purposing to make by hand limits our giving to a reasonable quantity. Rather than heaping piles of disposable goods on our loved ones, giving a thoughtful handmade gift is something that is worth passing on to future generations. These are always the most personal gifts. As I examine the things we’ve made for each other over the years, I see love, thoughtfulness, and growth in skill. I think that’s a tradition worth continuing.

- Joshua

 

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brico
133 days ago
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cute cat
Brooklyn, NY
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Prepping an Old French Frame to Ride Once Again

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by Igor

This is Gerard. He's 61(ish) years old and hails from St. Etienne, France.


From the late 1800s to the early 1960s, St. Etienne in the Southeast of France was a hive for frame, component, and accessory production. Some the biggest marques that we know today were once headquartered there: Mercier, Stronglight, Automoto, Simplex, Vitus, and Lyotard just to name few.


Many bikes and frames out of St. Etienne were mass produced and sold domestically as well as overseas. Once the frames were in the hands of the shops, they would apply their own transfer decals and any other ornamentation. This is why you'll see so many nearly identical looking frames with different marques on the down tube.


Not much is known about the Gerard Cycles shop from Rue la Fayette in Paris. Searching The Web for various permutations of Gerard along with Porteur, Randonneur, and all the rest of the '-eurs brings up a lot of Peugeot "Captain Gerard" folding bikes from WW1 - which are cool in their own right.


This frame and fork was built in a classic touring style. It features an integrated hanger for a wide-range Simplex Rigidex rear derailleur, braze-on for a rear bottle-dynamo lighting, downtube wire guides to the front, and double dropout eyelets for racks and fenders. Given the condition of the paint and wear-points, I'd say someone enjoyed the heck out of the bike. 


The construction is straight forward and very typical of French bikes at the time. 26.1mm top tube, 28.4mm down tube, and 28.4mm seat tube. The selected tubing is straight gauge which makes a sturdy and comfortable ride over long distances, especially over cobbles and unpaved roads. The fork has a lovely, traditional French bend. Pairing a 73.5° head tube angle with a 74mm raked fork, the trail is about 21mm on 38mm 650b wheels.


This is an old French bike, so everything just has to be different - which all becomes clear during the prep process:
  • the fork is ~94.4mm spaced - I suspect it should be 96mm, but who knows what happened over its 60 year life
  • 120mm rear spacing - pretty standard for the time
  • French threaded bottom bracket shell - good thing we have French Threaded Bottom Brackets!
  • 25.6mm seat post - because of course...
  • Narrow cantilever spacing - the frame came with period Mafac brakes, so that is handled
  • Luckily both dropouts accept normal 10mm and 9mm hubs for rear and front, respectively
  • Steerer is ~22.18 - so a normal quill will work with a tad of sanding. French is 22.0mm.

To get the frame and fork ready for Frame Saver, the headset has to come out. The upper cup was stuck in place, so we put it into a vice to give it a bit of persuasion. The reason the headset was so hard to turn became clear very quickly: the bottom cup was missing one bearing and the top was missing three, the grease has calcified, and the races pitted. No matter, I'll pop a new French Threaded Headset in.



So here is how he sits as spokes are coming in and the frame is being Saved. Ultimately, Gerard will get the Porteur treatment and ride once again!


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brico
133 days ago
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j'aime that Nervex style
Brooklyn, NY
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