Long part of this rolling and ever ongoing obsession I hold in just what this is, this stuff of timber and bridge carpentry, has been an ongoing participation in the recovery of information almost lost.
These Trades nearly fell away as time morphed differing efforts, and materials towards those ends shifted away from what had been the norm for countless generations – Timber and its long evolving and practiced methods, would for a time be almost completely marginalized as dimension lumber and steel in their turn became the chosen norms.
Much in the everyday practice of these trades was no longer shared as the almost unspoken, was little conveyed in the fewer and fewer conversations of instruction were had over timbers on horses, as fewer practitioners found fewer up and comers interested in what was still there to be shared.
I spoke of how some of this, the spoken and shared side of this continuum was but barely saved, in Living Memory
Fortunately, though the everyday in a time when trades training was little written down, but shared one on one in literal Master to Apprentice relationships – Some in these transitional years of morph and change did take the time to put words to paper.
The collection of Treatises on Carpentry and method has also long been an ongoing obsession. This has in recent years become easier as the worlds libraries have become digitized, and the absolute need to find a rare copy of an often little printed work was now made everyday possible in public domain downloads.
I can’t deny I love my e-reader, and it is ripe with the works of among others, Sutcliffe and Dewell, Jacoby and of course Hodgson. And I do love being able to carry what amounts to a sizable electronic library with me anywhere circumstance demands I go.
I do however, still prefer the real thing, this the printed page. With everything this brings, the whole of it. Sounds and smells and a presence and physicality, the literal textural experience, the very textures of text, these often begging a reminder that I again flip open a neglected cover.
So when I became aware a specialty imprint had recently republished a particular favorite, a treatise that touches on the varied intricacies of Timber Carpentry, from the framing of mill buildings to that of spires & steeples, and because it touches on bridge building from a perspective little shared, that of a Bridgewrighting Carpenter…
I am now expecting a hardcopy to soon materialize shrouded in bubblewrap – For now an excerpt from a tome first printed in 1858