Sunday, August 16, 2015

Rabbit Holes. . .

I haven't been writing here much lately. What? Well, because I've been busy. Doing what? Well, you know, the usual things. A little of this . . .

But that was only after there was a bit of this. . .

Followed shortly by a little of this . . .

Out of retirement for two weekend demonstrations that resulted in some hard core limping about on my shitty knee for two weeks or so after. Renews my resolve to retire from heavy fighting, (Anyone wanna buy some armor??  The mail is only a few years old and saw less than a half dozen demonstrations before I hurt myself. I'd consider reasonable trade offers.)

And there's been a bit of my time and energy spent preparing for this upcoming lecture on Siege Warfare.

And there's been something cool brewing in the shop too but you'll have to wait until I get the photo's organized to hear more about that.

The super cool thing that drove me to write this post, (instead of working on my powerpoint slides for the lecture like I should be) was a post today by Chris Schwarz on his Popular Woodworking Blog. He shows us all a little bit of this . . .

A hand drawn depiction of the building of Noah's Ark from northern Italy circa 1300. It's absolutely fantastic and shows we've only scratched the surface of historic research and evidence that's out there. (I kinda believe when it's all found, a vast majority of it will need to be translated from French, Time for me to order some Rosetta Stone)

Notice the benches, and the bench length twin screw vises attached to their fronts. We'll circle back around to them.

Now I know that proper research requires you be careful about the instant connections you make and naturally what I saw it, before I even saw the date or area of origin, I thought of this image of Noah building the Ark from the Morgan Bible.

Again, Noah working near a staked, or Roman style workbench, hewing a board with a hatchet as it leans against a convenient tree.  I've spent a while looking at this image, (it is the only woodworking representation in the entire tome) and the workbench is a puzzle. It always looked to me like like there was a board attached, somehow, on edge to the front of the bench.

There are a few options. The quick and dirty is to assume the board is to be part of the Arc and the smaller, tan colored rectangles are either through mortises in the board, stopped dados, or part of the workholding keeping the board applied to the bench.

The other option that occurs to me is it represents the chop of the massive bench length vises as shown in the Italian drawing above, (remember) and possibly, just possibly the rectangle holes are slots to raise and lower the chop as a plane stop. Similar to this. . .

I egregiously stole borrowed this photo from a pretty cool woodworking blog "This Week In Wood"
It's one of the better looking examples of this workbench solution I've seen.
You should check it out and add it to your reader. It's listed in mine. 
Or it could be an ancient antenna for collecting signals from the mothership.

The point is you have to be careful when reading the tea leaves of these medieval manuscripts. I've learned it's best to take an Eyes Wide Open approach and trust the artists, but some things are held together with strings of circumstantial evidence a court appointed public defender could win acquittal on.

Enough fine strings can create something beautiful and artistic though.

Ratione et Passionis