Joyners vs. Carpenters, 1631 | Popular Woodworking Magazine
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The woodworking trades of the period in London were strictly regulated.
II temporarily put mine down 5⁄16Carpenter’s mortise chisel in favor of a 2 “chisel for cutting carpenter’s mortises. I’m framing a wood shop and as I walk away on 2” wide mortises, I have time to think.
My main job has always been that of a “carpenter” in the sense of the time, what we could now call a “furniture manufacturer”. But the carpenter and carpenter trades are quite similar, so it’s not too far-fetched for me to trade with bigger tools, bigger joints, and a larger project all around. An openwork mortise and tenon are the same regardless of the scale.
I live in a time and place where I can tackle any form of woodworking I want, and nobody’s nose comes off. It wasn’t always like that. Seventeenth-century London was a lively place, filled with artisans of all tastes, but with that large number of people came a large number of regulations.
The work of carpenters
In 1631, Robert Stone, a London carpenter, was accused of “meddling” in the work of carpenters. This led to a dispute between the Society of Carpenters and that of the Society of Carpenters which led to a long document drawn up by the city councilors. To settle matters, the councilors wrote a piece-by-piece decision detailing what job each trade could do.
Among the many works that considered the kingdom of carpenters were:
“All kinds of bed bases of any kind (except bed bases with boards and folded together) … all kinds of chayres and stools that are made with mortise or tennant … all tables from Wainscoate Wallnutt or others Stuff full of mortesse or tennant frames … all kinds of framed shapes made of boards with pinned or inflated sides … all kinds of trunks are framed with duvets or glued … all kinds of feathered cabinets or boxes glued or glued … all kinds of wardrobes framed with duvets or glued … all kinds of Mercers Silkmen Haberdashers Gouldsmiths Millenors clothing presses or napkin presses with duftalled or glued paneling “
In the case of “Wainscote” boards, this use of the term refers to oak, often imported to London from the Baltic. The forms are long benches, built just like a common stool usually, only 4′-6 ‘long. Presses are large cabinet-like pieces, with doors in the front and shelves on the inside.
All of these items fall under the designation we would now call “furniture”, but carpenters have also conquered the market for “all types of Wainscott and Howses sealing and arrangement by the use of Two Iages”.
“To seal” is to create frame and panel boiserie. Another term of the term for a carpenter is a “ceiler”. The two “indicators” are thought to be indicators of some kind; I’m still puzzled after all these years about what exactly that means. Come back, just to keep me awake at night.
The wainscot was not the only internal woodwork they claimed, their works included “shopp windows”, “framed or glued doors” and “all the benches and chairs with the Deskes belonging to them framed or glued” .
In case the carpenters had any idea, the councilors declared to the carpenters to affirm: “All the works already invented or which will later be invented being made by one or two iages with the use of all sorts of nayles”
And the carpenters / ceilings were also the carvers: “All works carved or raised or cut or sunk with the earth removed being worked and cut with Tooles carvings without the use of Plaines”.
There are other minor forms assigned to carpenters, but what about carpenters? I’ll go over them in the next issue. Meanwhile, just to blow things up, the carpenters felt the pinch from another direction just a few months later, when the Turners Company filed a lawsuit against them, citing that:
“The Joyners Company takes on the art of turning to the Turners wrong. It seems to us that the arts of turning and rejoicing are two different and distinct professions and we find it very uncomfortable for one of these professions to invade the other and we find that the Turners have constantly for the most part turned the columns and foot of the bed. of stools united for the Joyners and in recent times some Joyners who never turned their bed posts and the feet of the stools began to work in their homes some poor fallen Turners and of them they learned the feate and the art of turning that they couldn’t do it before.
“And it seems to us by custom that turning the feet of the beds of the tables joined to the stools belongs properly to the craft of a Turner and not to the art of a Joyner and anything is done with the foot such as the treddle or the wheele to turn any wood we are of the opinion and we find that it belongs properly to the Turner and we find that the Turners should not use the gage or gauges, the grouffe plaine or the plow and mortise chisels or any of them because they belong to the Joyners trade. “
From the sounds of things, the turners weren’t completely blameless. Imagine the turners using the plow plane!
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