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In good firm. I labored alongside some timber-framers to chop and lift a brand new workshop body not too long ago. No doubt joiners and carpenters in London labored collectively at occasions, however disputes and controversy lead to higher documentation than cooperation.

Early fashionable data present guild rules in London.

Early 17th-century London tradesmen have been protecting about their work, rigorously keeping track of any interlopers to their craft. A dispute arose within the early 1630s between London’s carpenters and joiners, and in my final column (June 2016, difficulty #225), I outlined the works town aldermen assigned to the joiners in an try and settle this dispute. What of the carpenters? They didn’t take the aldermen’s choice mendacity down, that’s for sure.

The aldermen’s choice primarily skips proper over carpenters’ principal work, assuming maybe that it’s a given they body the buildings. Instead they went on to concentrate on furnishings and smaller works. To start, carpenters get:

“All Drapers Tables, all Tables for Tavernes Victuallers Chandlers Compting house Tables and all other Tables made of Deale Elme Oake Beeche or other woode nayled together without Glue except all sorts of Tables either nayled framed or glued being moveable.”

“Being moveable” is the important thing right here – the joiners make moveables, what we’d name furnishings right now. The carpenters make the tables and counters which can be built-ins, so in impact “non-moveable.” And but, small moveable stools for numerous makes use of (“Sesterne Stooles washing Stooles bucking Stooles”) went to the carpenters, so long as “they not bee turned feete.” The types (lengthy benches) fall beneath related tips relating to the joinery and turned parts.

The carpenters get the dividing of warehouses, chambers and different rooms, “unwainscotted and unpannelled with slitt or whole deales or any other materials Wainscott excepted and except all pticons (partitions) grooved glued battened or framed.”

Detailed Allowances

Early fashionable doodle. Being the document keeper for a big London firm within the 16th century may at occasions be lower than thrilling. That’s one doable clarification for this drawing discovered among the many Carpenters Company data. Or is it that, being prevented by regulation from carving works like this, one tradesman discovered one other artistic outlet?

The carpenters had one thing to say about this, and so they weren’t bashful. In a petition with the standard authorized preamble, they put in writing their most important works: “The building erecting and repairing of all manner of howses & edifices whatsoever of any kinde of timber whatsoever.” That’s fairly clear – “all manner of houses…whatsoever.”

Their petition is kind of prolonged and contains nice element. Among their works are: “The framing and setting upp of all manner of timber windowes…in howses built of stone brick or timber…all manner of staires that are to be done of timber board or plancks.”

Among many different works, they declare as theirs and never the joiners’ “all manner of penthowses…of all manner of postes and seates at gates or Dores…the making of all cases for the enclosinge of cesternes…all manner of sheds and hovells.”

Being a joiner myself, I’d be glad the carpenters get bigger works corresponding to “Wharves Camshedds Cranes & bridges of timber and piling and planckinge of foundacons for Wharves and Bridges.”

And what 17th-century doc can be full with out some good corporal punishment? The carpenters make “ladders stocks cages and whipping postes.”

Response to Joiners

Same work, completely different measurement. Driving tapered picket pins (trunnels) to safe drawbored mortise-and-tenon joints is similar whatever the scale. I consider this as a large joined chest. I tapered the pin with the hatchet, then flipped it round and used the ballot to drive the pin dwelling.

There are many different works listed within the full doc, however past that the carpenters additionally despatched revisions to the joiners’ work. The entire doc turns into redundant, however one of many carpenters’ considerations is that “…there is almost noe carpenters worke to be done but they may and doe use the Iage (gauge?) and nailes both in invented and to be invented which being allowed to the Joyner they will doe any Carpenters worke. And therefore wee desire that that article maie be soe qualified & explaned that the Joyner shall not intermeddle in the Carpenters worke.”

Outside the City

‘Orbis Pictus,’ Comenius, 1658. “The Carpenter squareth Timber with a Chip-Ax, whence Chips fall, and saweth it with a Saw, where the Saw-dust falleth down. Afterwards, he lifteth the Beam upon Tressels, by the help of a Pully, fasteneth it with Cramp-Irons, and marketh it out with a Line. Thus he frameth the Walls together, and fasteneth the great pieces with Pins.”

It’s simple to learn an excessive amount of into these “guild” rules and metropolis restrictions. One factor to remember is that outdoors London, typically only a few miles outdoors, it was simpler to get away with crossing commerce boundaries.

Further afield, we get some perception into one carpenter’s repertoire. The document e-book of Henry Best, a farmer of Elmswell, Yorkshire, exhibits an entry from April 1620 through which Best “Agreed with Matthewe Carter, for paylinge the swyne stye with sawen ashe pales, to provide him for his worke 9d [per] yeardes, and hee is to sawe them, and to noticed the rayles and postes, and sett them in a groundsell, and rabbitt them into the rayle above; agreed additionally with him to pale the yearde, and hee is to sawe the rayles and postes, and to have 4d per yearde, for his labor, and for making Austin’s howse. 20s.”

‘Timmerman,’ Jan Luyken, 1694. An auger, one or two chisels and a mallet is all you’ll want to chop mortises for a home body. And power. Lots of power.

All that’s properly and good; carpenters ought to make pigsties – what self-respecting joiner would deign to take action? But in 1623, Best “Bargained with Matthewe Carter and John Carter his sonne, of Greate Driffeylde, carpenters, to digg upp a walnutt tree of myne, and sawe it into 2 ynch and a halfe plankes, and the remainder of the small peeces into such peeces it’s fittest for; and to make mee two chayres, one for my selfe, and the opposite a lesser, properly turned and wrought, and I’m to provide them for doing this stuff above mencioned, workman like, 10s in cash, a bushell [8 gallons] of barley, and a pecke [2 gallons] of oatmeal, and provides them in cash 3d for his or her godspenny.”

So – carpenters making a pigsty at one level, after which well-wrought, turned chairs of walnut. That’s the entire spectrum of interval woodwork in a (wal)nutshell. No joiners or turners want apply. 

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