Our book Euclid’s Door went off to the printer this week. It’s a step by step guide to building a set of layout and design tools that were commonly user made in pre-industrial tool kits. Jim and I wondered why artisans usually bought many of their tools like saws and chisels, yet they made their own kit of layout tools. Those questions vanished when we built some of these tools for our workshops. These deceptively simple wooden layout tools are actually sophisticated and highly evolved. These tools were perfectly suited to building furniture. Also we quickly realized that the tool builds themselves, offered a deeper insight into what we like to call Artisan Geometry. Basically a working knowledge of simple shapes, lines, and angles. Geometry is the workhorse, the structure, that under girds the craft. The lessons learned in building a straight edge or square is more than just head knowledge but deeper. Sort of like riding a bike. Not something that simple to explain but once learned, it sticks.
Part of this knowledge is technical. Learning to use a hand plane and shooting board to dial in the parts to a high level of perfection. The other part is more mysterious. How to use geometry to create each tool out of thin air using just a compass and a straight edge. Note – our first build is a straight edge that we use to boot strap every other tool into existence.
Euclid’s Door is a mini apprenticeship to hone you skills. Plus you end up with a killer set of of layout tools. One thought that kept dogging me as I walked through the builds. Why didn’t I learn this years ago?
We don’t have a solid release date yet due to supply chain issues, but you can sign up to be notified once it’s available at Lost Art Press.
George R. Walker