Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Home Again

Here is a picture of Chairnotes covergirl Sue Scott (left) with our friends Clint and Molly Paugh during our trip this weekend to Kansas City. They showed us a wonderful time as well as the best BBQ I've ever had (LC's).

While we were waiting for a table at Sunday brunch, we ambled around a flea market where we came across a man selling old wooden patterns from New Orleans. Patternmaking has always fascinated me and I think of it as one of the highest forms of woodworking. These patterns (shapes) are the beginning in the old casting process. So whatever shape you needed to make an engine part etc... was first created in wood by a patternmaker. The piece below is of a gear that, as far as I can tell, changed the direction of a linear drive. It is also interesting because it only needed to turn a segment of the circle. I enjoy imagining the machine that it fit in.

So often, when I look at the discussions surrounding handtools on the internet forums, they focus on handplanes and the flattening or surfacing of wood. There is a limit to my interest in this, although, I too was fascinated by the notion that a blade can actually shear the wood so cleanly. I would love to see the conversation take a turn towards the type of work involved in creating patterns. The awareness of the fibers, the fluid use of handtools and the mastery of shape is something that I aspire to. Now I just have to decide whether to hang my new pattern in the shop or in the house!


greg said...

I’ve been fascinated by the work of patternmakers as well. I had the opportunity to study some of the patterns that were used by Vermont Castings to manufacture their first Defiant and Vigilant wood stoves back in the ‘80s. I was surprised how much Bond-O work went into them. I was interviewing for a job there at the time & was thinking how much computer solid modeling and stereo lithography would speed up the process of developing new designs.

A lot has changed in twenty years- I were interviewing there today, I would be more interested in meeting and picking the brains of the patternmakers, if they were still there.

Anonymous said...

Who is the hottie in the wonderbread shirt?