Making the Rule Joint
With hand tools, the process is as important as the product
Synopsis: Alasdair G.B. Wallace shares his detailed philosophy of the virtues of working with hand tools over the expedience of machines, and then he explains how he made a Jacobean double-drop-leaf table using rule joints between the tabletop and the leaves. It’s an aesthetic and strong joint — downward pressure on the open leaf is transmitted to the central tabletop, effectively tightening the joint rather than relying on the hinge and screws. He explains each step in making the table, and photos illustrate as he performs the tasks.
While inspecting repairs being made to the roof of his village church, the vicar was puzzled to see that an old woodcarver was putting the finishing touches to an elaborately carved angel’s face. To the question of why such beauty should be located where nobody would ever see it, the craftsman replied that both he and God knew it was there.…