The Art Of Tablemaking And Its Pith

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The Art Of Tablemaking And Its Pith Essay, Research Paper The art of tablemaking has existed for centuries. The styles have changed and evolved over the years. Modern styles are now mimicking those of the earlier time. Though styles and methods change, the art continues to be popular and necessary. People’s ideas about elegance and beauty have changed drastically over time. Sometimes the change is rapid, what was the trendiest of fashions to one generation is rejected by the next. Furniture tells a great deal about everyday life in the past and is an important piece of information for historians of art, and culture. Although most furniture is made to fulfill a specific purpose, it nearly always holds an added dimension. Its purpose, George Hepplewhite suggested in the 18th

century, is “to unite elegance and utility, and blend the useful with the agreeable.” Sometimes a concern for fashion has prevailed, while at other times concerns of utility have been the main interest. Furniture is three-dimensional evidence of a society’s attitudes, values, level of achievement, and its style of artistic expression. Wood has been the most commonly used material for furniture, especially tables, since back in the olden days. Wood can be shaped both by hand and by power tools; it is relatively light and durable; many species are elegantly carved and grained. Most woods can be painted, stained, varnished or otherwise finished successfully. Available to most civilizations in varying degrees, wood is also a naturally replenishable resource. Much inexpensive

20th-century furniture is made of various kinds of new materials, including plywoods and particle boards that are produced by shredding, Dyer 2 heating, gluing and laminating woods. These materials possess strength and stability; they do not shrink and swell in response to changes in humidity as wood does in its natural state (Compton s Interactive Encyclopedia). From ancient times until the 18th century, the craft of furniture making changed very little. The tools and techniques used by the craftsmen of ancient Greece and Rome would have been familiar to their buddies in the Middle Ages, or 18th-century France for example. The common woodworker’s tools included axes, adzes (hammer-shaped cutting tools with arched blades), large saws, files, rasps, chisels, planes, hammers,

small saws, measuring devices, and lathes. (Dictionary of Woodworking Tools.) Furniture was constructed in the pre-industrial period with relatively few methods. The simplest furniture consisted of boards and planks simply nailed together, or, as in the case of some Egyptian beds, the joints of the supporting framework were tied together with cord. More elaborate furniture was constructed with various methods of holding wood together, including the mortise-and-tenon joint, used by joiners to create paneled forms, and the dovetail joint, characteristic of work by craftsmen designated as cabinetmakers. (Making Modern Furniture.) Beginning in the late 18th century, during the days of the old school, the manufacturers of furniture have used of various types of water, steam, and power

machinery, designed to save labor, to assist in the mass production of component parts. By the late 19th century most furniture, particularly inexpensive furniture made for mass distribution, was produced in large factories with many employees. This trend continued unchanged into the 20th century, though even the mass production of furniture involves a considerable amount of skilled handwork in the assembling and finishing stages. (The Art of Woodworking and Furniture making.) Since the 1890s there has been a small but significant amount of furniture produced by craftsmen applying the tools, techniques, and shop practices of the world. While many of these craftsmen are home hobbyists, other modern woodworkers in this tradition consider their products to be works of art. Dyer 3