Monday 19 November 2018

The annual meeting of the Dutch crafts and tools association

A different kind of setting than we are used to at the yearly meeting of the Dutch crafts and tools association

Last Saturday the  Saint Thomasguild showed their medieval replica woodworking tools at the annual meeting of the Dutch crafts and tools association (de Vereniging Ambacht en Gereedschap). The club consists of people who are interested in the history and tools of diverse (old) crafts and trades - from woodworkers to dentists. We are also a member of this association. Many members are tool collectors and some have made it their profession as antique tool traders. Many associates are interested in the woodworking trade, and the medieval history of woodworking tools on display attracted much attention. We had interesting discussions and learned new things as well. For instance, the long two-handed saw is called 'opschieter' in Dutch, meaning 'quickie' - a saw that does its job fast (and rough). (when using this 2-handed saw I did not find it quick at all!).

The workbench and the toolchest with the braces mounted on the lid.

We mainly showed them four types of tools - medieval planes, medieval saws, medieval axes and medieval braces & augers - but also brought our workbench with a double screw vise. Of every tool we could show the source (archaeological find or image of the tool in a medieval book, on a painting or as intarsia) and explain the choices that had to be made to fill the 'gaps'. 

Our collection of medieval planes under the watchful eye of saint Thomas.

 Some medieval axes and an adze.


Some photos made during the less crowded time. Most of the time, the room was completely packed with people.

Sunday 18 November 2018

Thongs and Letters

Castle Wijchen in grey and wet autumn weather last sunday.

Last Sunday an exhibition opened in castle Wijchen (the Netherlands) on 'Strengels en Letters' - I am not sure how this would correctly translate, but I suppose 'Thongs and letters' will do. The exhibition is on books in the medieval Duchy of Gelre, and how they were made. The 'thongs' or strengels are pieces of parchment that were used in bookbinding for reinforcement of the spine of the book. The exhibition shows that the cliché of that medieval books were written by monks and owned by the wealthy few that could read was wrong. Examples of very cheaply bound (note)books, ledgers, etc. make clear that far more people could read and write than generally assumed.
The exhibition will be on display from 11 November 2018 to 10 March 2019.

The exhibition was co-organised by guest-curator Astrid of the medieval craft group the 'Papieren Eenhoorn' (Paper Unicorn). They are often at castle Hernen at the same time our re-enactment group is. Therefore they asked if they could borrow some of our furniture for the display of the diverse medieval book-producing crafts. So we will be 'missing' some of our seats for some months ... One of the other book-production crafts on display is an early book printing press - the Minion press - made by the Dutch Luthier, who is also a frequent visitor at castle Hernen. 

Astrid of the 'Papieren eenhoorn' (Paper Unicorn) gives the opening lecture.

 Bookbinding and writing with two of our chairs. During opening of the exhibition some re-enactors showed their craft.