Friday, August 17, 2012

Woodworking for Your Inner Knight

This will be the first project in my new book*, The Forgotten Realm of Gothic Woodworking, which will feature not only projects with which to outfit your manor, but will answer age-old questions about the period such as: "Did they buy black nail polish or make their own?" and "Does this flying buttress make me look fat?"

I'm all up in the Goth grill these days and have been finding loads of fun projects online, thanks in part to those of you who have commented on the last couple blog posts and those who have emailed me directly.

You might be wondering what the difference is between Gothic, Medieval, and Renaissance. According to Wiki, the Medieval Period is from 400 - 1500; Gothic (a pejorative term meaning barbarous or crude) is from 1150 - 1500; and Renaissance is from 1300 - 1600.

I'm currently reading The Time Traveler's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century, by Ian Mortimer, which is wildly interesting. It recounts a time when mullets didn't make you cringe.

As you read the book, you can't help but wonder where you would fit into the social hierarchy—royalty, knight, merchant, peasant, mead-swilling friar—and be forever grateful that you're living in the 21st century. The 14th century doesn't have indoor plumbing and Barbie Foosball. I don't want to live in that world.

The book is what got me interested in researching the types of furniture that were made back then.

One piece that caught my eye is a 15th century stool from Normandy. I found it in a free book online. My version will be a little different, but the basic design is the same. The stool had me at tusk tenons.

Before tastes in furniture starting changing in the 17th century, much of the furniture was adorned with elaborate carving. Google “gothic furniture” and you’ll see what I mean.

So, this weekend I’ll get started building my collapsible stool and hope that no one drops by unexpectedly. Perhaps there’s still time to build a moat around my shop.
An interesting write-up on 15th and 16th century stools can be found here
*I'm not really writing a book about gothic furniture.