Historic Replica Construction comprises various projects with instructions on how to make the items while learning more about life in the 14th Century.
The 14th century was a time of war and wonders and was the beginning of the Renaissance, where the arts and architecture reached new heights and degrees of sophistication. The rise of international trade in the period brought about the rise of the merchant class and saw the rise of city-states like Florence and Pisa. The flow of knowledge was assisted by the establishment of more universities.
Then there was the plague, known as the ‘Black Death’, which killed over 25 million people, and the ‘Hundred Years War’ between England and France (which lasted for 116 years, but who’s counting?), making it all an interesting time to live and for us to reflect on.
The first part of the book covers a range of information that will aid you in your future projects including: holding your work, cleating nails, proportional replicas from manuscripts, interpretation of the extant remains (was it a table or a bench, leatherwork, a study of chest turnkey locks, making a proportional representation of a depicted item, painting furniture, resizing plans to fit the available timber, safety, take the dimensions with a pinch of salt, tool protection, triple checking the dimensions provided, warp protection,
The main body of the book is comprised of various 14th-century projects that include:
- Bede’s Chair (Paul’s Church, Jarrow, County Durham, United Kingdom) by Stephen Wyley;
- The Pillager’s chest (MS Royal manuscript, British Library, UK) by Stephen Wyley;
- The Sitting bed (The Preparation of the Cross, Santa Croce Fresco, Florence, Italy) by Stephen Wyley;
- Table – Making Pasta (Taciunum Sanitatis of Vienna manuscript, BNF, France) by Stephen Wyley;
- The Luttrell Psalter Table by Stephen Wyley;
- The Hanging Salt Box (Budapest Historical Museum, Hungary) by Stephen Wyley;
- The Bellows (Smithfield Decretals manuscript, British Library, UK) by Stephen Wyley;
- The Frame Saw (The Santa Croce Fresco, Florence, Italy) by Stephen Wyley;
- The Costrel (Museum of London, UK) by Wayne Robinson;
- The Heater Shield by Andrew Fraser and Stephen Wyley.
This book assumes a basic level of competence in working in wood, metal and leather. As you complete the projects your skills will naturally increase, however, safety is paramount. Do not use tools or equipment with which you have no experience or without the appropriate personal protective equipment. If you lack experience or skill, it is recommended that you obtain training from your local training institution or a more experienced worker of wood, metal and leather, or when all else fails there is ‘YouTube’. The subject of metalwork will be touched upon in more detail regarding the manufacture, purchase and fitting of metalwork such as chest hinges, hasps and handles. The project dimensions are in the metric system, parenthesised by Imperial/US customary measures. Timber and metal lengths are rounded to the nearest inch and drill sizes to the nearest ”. A conversion chart is also provided in Appendix 8. Each system of units is consistent within each project, so pick one and stick with it. Cutting some pieces to metric sizes and other pieces to imperial measurements will create various problems. Minor adjustments may still be necessary due to rounding errors or local variations in standard timber sizes. Always test-fit everything before permanent assembly.
Common Era (CE) and Before the Common Era (BCE) dating conventions are used throughout this book. The two notation systems are numerically equivalent, 1450 CE and AD 1450 refer to the same year. CE notation has been widely adopted for archaeological and historical academic use and nothing other than consistency with the academic sources is implied by its use here.
In this volume, we have added leatherwork in the form of parts of the bellows and the costrel. Leather work is a worthy skill for making clothing, accessories and accoutrements. Leather is a wonderful material that can be treated like a fabric when soft and pliable and like wood when stiff and hard.
We don’t plan to repeat the general information found the “Vikings – Volume 1” (2021), and we recommend that you obtain a copy if you want to know about historical sources and how to use them, the form and function of furniture, about the time and materials needed to make items, plans and patterns, making the most of every plank, and chest fittings and locks.
Good luck, and may the force be with you.
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