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Charpentiers d'Europe et d'ailleurs

Specific collections

Nils-Eric Anderson uses a hand tool to split an oak board, international worksite, Cressing Temple Barn, Carpenters Fellowship. Jean-François Roubeyrie, woodcutter from the Corrèze, and his collection of tools.

Carpenter's axes have left a strong impression in the contemporary imagination – they are symbols of power, efficiency, even violence, and they hearken back to epochs of glory, such as the Middle Ages. These days, they are less used, and are often found in collections, even if they are not always documented. A number of collections are merely displayed in cases, in order to preserve them. Some collectors, however, can't imagine collecting these objects without using them.

How can we really understand a historic tool if no one tries to use it?

From this point of view, preservation, documentation and use are not incompatible, in contrast to what is practiced in museums. How can we really understand a historic tool if no one tries to use it ? Functionality, good quality, correct balance and the ergonomics of the handle – these are all essential factors to be evaluated, in addition to a tool's shape, aesthetics and history. We have opted to present here the experience of two tool collectors/users.
Jean-François Roubeyrie is a woodcutter from a family of forest workers from the Corrèze. He spent his childhood in the forest with his grandfather and his uncles, where he learned to use hand tools for felling, squaring and pit-sawing. Later, he continued to work as a woodcutter in Beaulieu-sur-Dordogne, alternating between mechanical tools and traditional methods, including the use of horse-drawn skids.
Nils-Eric Anderson is the director of training at the DACAPO school in Mariestad, Sweden (University of Göteborg). A carpenter by training, Anderson is passionate about tools, and has chosen to use his collection of axes for teaching purposes, to allow students to compare the various tool shapes and techniques.

Associated media

Corrèze (France), Lake Vänern Blekinge (Sweden), Hultsbruk(Sweden)
Corrèze (France), Lake Vänern Blekinge (Sweden), Hultsbruk(Sweden)