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Signing your work.

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woodstainwilly

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Painters have done it since paint medium was invented. So why do we not sign our work?. There are craftsmen who will never get recognition who have more skill than most painters can only dream of. Over the years, people like Hepplewhite made names for themselves but he was the designer.Craftsmen gave life to his drawings and they will never be known. A modern day example is Robert Thompson. (The mouse man) . Work is still done in his name by people who are too young to remember him. They will never be known for their work.
I know it is not easy to put your name to a turned bowl or a chair etc but it just seems a shame to me that these very clever people will always be unknown. What do you think???
Willy.
 

Dibs-h

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woodstainwilly":3titvi84 said:
Painters have done it since paint medium was invented. So why do we not sign our work?. There are craftsmen who will never get recognition who have more skill than most painters can only dream of. Over the years, people like Hepplewhite made names for themselves but he was the designer.Craftsmen gave life to his drawings and they will never be known. A modern day example is Robert Thompson. (The mouse man) . Work is still done in his name by people who are too young to remember him. They will never be known for their work.
I know it is not easy to put your name to a turned bowl or a chair etc but it just seems a shame to me that these very clever people will always be unknown. What do you think???
Willy.
In the years to come - "Dibs woz ere" will no doubt have a few folk wondering "eh?" :mrgreen: Mostly the new owners of our house when\if we (ever) sell and the houses of a few mates. :mrgreen:
 

monkeybiter

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I bought a small piece from Livio DiMarchi in Venice a couple of months ago and it is signed, looks like he did it with a sharp awl or similar. Unfortunately it goes through a knot and is a little difficult to make out, but I know what it says.
 

Furtree

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Was it not Chippendale who first started carving a mouse (or summink) into his work, --by way of a signature?

When I make stuff, it's so awful, I always sign it 'Dun By Derick' so's no one will know it was me! :D

I like how some olde craftsman 'sign' their work, -- like thatchers, who often make a neat pheasant out of the reeds, and plant that on the ridge. It's great when done with real skill, and looks really naff when done by a bloke with little skill!

The old 'brickies' of yesteryear, when they got to the top course of bricks on a house, used to often pop a penny into the wet mortar... This was more a 'good luck to the house' thing, I think, more than a signing... I found this out when working at eaves level on ancient properties...

As to me, sometimes when doing up a property, I have been known to write an amusing bon mot, or even a poem, or summink, on the work, where it won't be seen for 'x' number of years, then date it. In my work on ye olde properties, I have often come across scribbles (in origianl real LEAD pencils!) writ by craftsmen of yore... So I in turn have done scribbles for the craftsmen / women (or owners) of the future, so they too will have something to beguile, confuddle, -- or amuse! :oops:
 

DOOGYREV

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I think I've seen some of your work Furtree.

I have found lost of stuff scribbled on the walls behind fitted units etc... usually just a name and the date, once I found an old news paper stuck to the wall with masking tape, I have to say that was probably the longest tea break I have ever taken, but it was a good read.
I think we should encourage this, and everyone should tape a newspaper to the wall, write a little note and use a teabag for the fullstop. as an authentic artisan autograph.

getting back to woodstainwilly's question, I think we should, I used to have a stamp with my initials in gothic font, and have had a brass plaque made to go on a unit I made for a church, and I keep meaning to get some small hallmark type of signature done for my finer work.
 

mailee

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I think you will find it was Robert Thompson who used the mouse as his signature on his furniture. I have often thought of signing my work too. Might be a good idea to have an electric branding iron made.
 

Benchwayze

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If you have a set of initials that are all straight lines it's easy to chip in with a chisel. (No golf jokes please?)

Krenov carved 'JK' in the corner of some of his front panels... (Using the upright of the 'J' as part of the K) The difficult bit would be the curl on the J. But it looked fine. As it would from Krenov. :mrgreen:

John (hammer)
 

Harbo

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I stamp my initials with a couple of carving chisels.
RHB with the R reversed and the H as part of the R & B.
A small round gouge forms the curvy bits.

Rod
 

DOOGYREV

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Mike, Mailee, John and Rod,

Do you have any photos, it would be interesting see a selection and the sizes, and how prominent or hidden they are, also do you sign each piece, ie if it has multiple components, would you sign each drawer and door or just the one signature on the unit?
 

Benchwayze

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Doogy,

On Page 20 of Krenov's 'The Impractical Cabinetmaker' there is an example of his 'motif', on a silver-chest. The mark seems to be carved into the back panel and is on the bottom left corner of the panel.

Many of Krenov's pieces were meant to be viewed from all sides and the motif is quite discernible, although it doesn't detract from the work.

There might be other examples of his signature in his other books. I can't scan this of course, for Copyright reasons.

If you don't have these books, then you are missing out. Not that I was influenced a lot by his designs, but I do like some of his philosophies. Also, it was from his books that I finally appreciated the need to slow down, and lose the frantic eagerness to see a job finished.

That's my excuse for my procrastination! :mrgreen:

When I sign my work, I put my normal signature and date, out of sight on a drawer back, for instance, using a felt-tip pen. Sophisticated eh?


HTH


John :)
 

Sawyer

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Medieval craftsmen often used to put their 'mark' on work. Normally very simple motifs done with a chisel. Anonymous outside their immediate circle, but perhaps done so the master (guv'nor) knew who'd done what.

Never any dates, sadly, but a nice custom all the same. I do it myself sometimes.
 

DOOGYREV

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John,

I posess only got 3 books with regard to woodwork 2 of which I don't use, & can't even remember the names, and the other one is 'the Lyle official ANTIQUES review 1979' (for the pictures)
I think it may be worth updating my library/shelf.

I have put the year in roman numerals on a few pieces of work and in a prominent place, got much easier from the millennium onwards.
 

Tusses

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I leave a 'mark' and date on some of mine. On the bottom or back

I like to think it makes the piece feel a bit more special to the customer, having had a piece hand made.
 

Benchwayze

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Doogy,

I should get down to the Library (Before they close them all :evil: ) You can surely get hold of Krenov's books there. You might even get some sell-offs if you use a branch that is going to disappear.

IB,

The builders who did my house stuck a child's shoe on a stick, and plonked it down right in the middle of my garage floor, when they'd finished laying the concrete. I don't know if they were trying to be 'clever' though, and present a puzzle. If so, I don't know who they were trying to fool. If it had been me, I would have used a matching pair! :D

John
 
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