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One line rowle with the line upon it Two staples or bank hooks Two rules of two foot apiece Three mallets Two spare planing irons If a joiner had these tools, then a lutemaker could certainly have had them.
A Spnaish inventory of a violero"s workshop tools is reproduced in Lute News 71, p. There is also the inventory of tools of a lutemaker in Leiden, published in Vlam, Chr. Surviving tools A few tools survive from my chosen period and indeed from much earlier; some Roman planes survive, as do Viking ones, and they seem remarkably familiar to the modern carpenter in their design.
Some of the Viking tools have been shown to be steel-tipped, for instance iron plane blades with steel edges forged on; plane blades were still being made like this in the 19th century, which helps to justify my use of Victorian blades for my reconstructed tools.
Nautical disasters have preserved useful examples of preserved early tools, for instance planes and a carpenter"s rule survive from the Mary Rose, sunk in and partly recovered from the bed of the Solent in Jointer plane from Mary Rose Rule from Mary Rose It is interesting to note that that the Mary Rose rule has an eighth of an inch as its smallest division.
This gives an insight into the attitude to measurement in an age when every artefact was custom made: A slightly less well-known disaster than the loss of the Mary Rose is the failure of William Barents" expedition to find the North East Passage to the Indies, by trying to sail round the north coast of Russia.
The expedition got caught in the ice inand the explorers were forced to build a shelter and spend a winter in Novaya Zemlya.
In the spring, they left their camp, only to find custom paper hole punch shapes ship had been crushed by the pack ice, and so they had to build a new boat for their return journey.
They could not carry very much in this boat, and so had to abandon many of their tools. Their cabin, still standing, and containing tools, clothing and other items, was rediscovered in the 19th century, and these historic artefacts are now in the Netherlands, in the Rijksmuseum.
Tools recovered from Barents" camp in Novaya Zemlya, now in the Rijksmuseum, include a brace and bit, plane, plane blade or iron. The date of is of course just the right date for my planned workshop though I changed my plans later, as explained belowand I have based one of my planes on the Novaya Zemlya discovery.
Some chisels found at Novaya Zemlya seem rather modern in design. I have also seen photographs, in Gerrit van der Sterre's Four Centuries of Dutch Planes and Planemakersof a Dutch carpenter"s toolbox from a shipwreck, I think now conserved in Holland.
Unbroken traditions The European tradition of making lutes as such is a broken one, but some near Eastern traditions of making lute-family instruments are not. Pickens, Folk Musical Instruments of Turkey has useful photographs of a Turkish saz maker at work, bending ribs with a bending iron shaped like a trowel, which he presses down on a rib lying on his bench, chiselling bent ribs to size, then planing them like a cooper that is, on an "upside down" plane which held on the bench, with the blade projecting slightly from it; the maker holds the wood to be planed and moves it over the plane, rather than moving the plane over the woodand fitting ribs over a ribbed body mould.
Also, much can be learned from own rural woodcraft traditions. For example, the well known maker of windsor chairs Jack Goodchild had his workshop at Naphill, near High Wycombe, Bedfordshire, and photographs of his workshop in the s have been published in books on handcrafts.
I believe it is documented that the great lute making workshops of the 16th century bought in large stocks of parts, such as ribs and wood for soundboards, that had already been roughly cut out near where the trees were felled. This was a matter of economics; transport was expensive and it made no sense to transport a lot of wood that would end up as waste over long distances.
Cutting out and roughly shaping these parts was probably a job for rural people who had little employment in the winter. A lot of work was done in the woods, an energy efficient practicethat continued until recent times and is now being revived as fuel and transport costs rise.
Pictures from the unbroken traditions section can be found in Lute News, backissue 70, July. Reconstructing lutemaking tools In all this, I am fascinated by the idea of using seemingly simple tools to gain very precise results, producing objects of the greatest beauty and refinement.
Woodworkers today tend to have a large number of very specialised tools in their workshops; I suspect that lute makers in those days would have had fewer tools than modern makers; and that skilled workers could use, say, an axe to get very precise results.
See for instance this sculptor using a large axe for what one would imagine to be fine work. The unfinished man, woodcut of by Erhard Schoen I think this humorous woodcut shows a mother presenting her wayward, drunken son to the sculptor, asking him to make him into a complete man, just as he is completing the wooden statue.
Note the collection of tools at the sculptors feet, depicted with some care; the woodcut maker was himself a woodworker, of course.Custom Shapes.
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