What’s this all about?

It started Summer 2011 with this video

Like most, I was impressed. Then I stopped to consider…
This table was made around 1750, that’s 260 years ago! There weren’t any power tools then!
Mayra and I watched it several more times. Each time, we were able to pick out more details about its construction and operation. The third or fourth time around, I started to think, “wouldn’t this make a great Fellowship project?”

I was one class away from completing the course work requirement for the Michael Fortune Fellowship at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking, and it was time to start thinking about my jury project. The project needed to be challenging – more challenging than anything that I had encountered before. I also wanted it to be special, like no other project that had come before it. With this in mind, I forwarded the video link onto Marc, Michael, Paul Schürch, Donna Hill, and a few more friends. “Wouldn’t this make a great Fellowship project?”, I joked. The response was overwhelmingly positive.

The program guidelines contained no prohibition on re-creation of an historic piece. I studied the video again; stopping, rewinding, and starting repeatedly. Breaking it into its components there was a carcass covered in marquetry, mechanisms, and ormolu mounts. I had some experience with marquetry, and the casework joinery seemed straightforward, that left the metal bits. Off the top of my head, I know two metal workers, and the school had a milling machine, so at worst these aspects could be subcontracted out. Again, I recalled that this piece was made 260 years ago with nothing but hand tools. I became more confident. Maybe it was possible for me to re-create this piece! All that I had to do now, was to come up with drawings!

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