Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Jointer Man

This photograph was taken between 1932 and 1934 and portrays some members of Macagno family. The photo was kindly provided by Giuseppe Macagno, who did not follow his father (center), grandfather and uncle steps, but he kept inside a terrific passion for woodworking.

The Macagnos were carpenters, descended from an ancient lineage of lumbermen and carpenters, dedicated to all types of woodworking. That big wood piece was probably a barrel stave, or maybe a carpentry piece. The ax the man on the left holds in his right hand, has an arcuate shape, more suitable for working quickly with curved surfaces.
Of course, what most attracted my attention was that big jointer plane which supports Giuseppe's uncle. Although the man had not been very high, the big plane exceeded one meter in length and 10 cm in width. Coopers are famous for using huge planes, so large to have to be placed on stands and on which the staves were moved to give them the typical curved shape.

The plane in the pic above has a handle and then, most likely, was used in the traditional way, perhaps to prepare the boards that would become staves? But why use a so long and wide plane? It is true that more the plane is long, easier and faster will be obtain  a flat surface, but the effort increases significantly.

Perhaps the word "fatigue" should not be so frightening to those men for whom everything depended from their hands and strength of their arms and who, like "the jointer man", was able to manage with skill that enormous plane, was designed to arouse admiration and respect.

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