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Charpentiers d'Europe et d'ailleurs
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Paul Dubois, carpenter from Picardy (1898-1992)

Paul Dubois in 1916, during World War I. Raising at Fouquerolles (Oise), 1911.

Paul Dubois offers an excellent illustration of an early 20th century craftsman descended from a long line of rural carpenters in Picardy.
Men in the Dubois family have been carpenters at least as far back as the 18th century around the towns of Beauvais, Rotangy, Muidorge and Lafraye. They built what was needed, with wood supplied by farmers. Rural carpenters worked only by hand, selecting and felling trees. They squared off logs using a cognée and a bow saw. They dismantled or rolled buildings, and built structures using the timber-frame method, not out of some neo-rustic fancy, but because even in 1925, some clients in that conservative part of the country asked for it.

In the Dubois family, carpentry is handed down from father to son, but the trade was also transmitted by women.

Paul was the son of Victoris Dubois, a master carpenter, and he learned from a very early age how to cut mortises using an augerand a bisaiguë(a mortising axe). Transport to the worksite was done on foot or by bicycle, so the family only took work that was within a 7 km radius. The work was hard, and if Paul forgot a tool at the house, his father waited until Paul became aware of his absent-mindedness, and then sent him back on foot to fetch it. They worked as a family, along with a cousin, Lucien Flandre, and a nephew Gaston Grenot, building large agricultural sheds that were designed as industrial spaces, but which were built entirely by hand, using pit saws and ties.
Paul Dubois fought in World War I as a sapper. It was the only time he was ever far from home, and he said that he never went to Paris. He returned to work with his father at Muidorge, he then inherited the business and all of the equipment, some of it quite old as it had been in the family for a very long time. Paul Dubois never used the roofing geometry system, instead he easily traced the pieces he needed using poles, and never hesitated in the face of any project. To be of use to his village, he also made barrels, caskets, furniture and carts. Paul used certain technical terms that were proper to 18th century Picardy, such as ventrières, sous-chevrons, and pernes.

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medias
France, Muidorge
France, Muidorge