Thursday, 5 August 2010

An Early Update Regarding The Saw That Never Was...

When I posted the previous article entitled, "The Saw That Never Was" last night, I notified Mr. Edwards it was there and asked for his approval on its content (God, can you image the poor guy having to slug through all the additional nonsense in that post just to get to what he said?)

This morning, I received a reply from him which stated the following:

The "scies a moulures, pour scier sur les boltes a recaler"  is directly translated as "saw for moulding, for sawing on the mitre jack"  There is no direct word for word translation of the tool name, as it is specific to the trade of menusierie.

Of course, for me, this brought up the question of what a "menusierie" is, so it was back to Google Translate again, only to get a translation for "menusierie" as "Menusierie".

Always one to push my luck, I sent off a quick email Mr. Edwards to see if he would offer up a translation.

I didn't get what I was looking for, but I did get something better. What Mr. Edwards said was, basically, to explain what a Menusierie is, he would have to explain to me 300 years of French history. Even though his reply stated that he was "not being rude or short", my first reaction to it was, "Yes you are". Taking a few moments to investigate the translation further, though, and I quickly discovered that he is absolutely correct and truly wasn't being rude or short, but instead, actually being a good teacher.

One translation for "Menusierie" is "Carpenter", but that didn't end up making much sense to me because doing more research into the word resulted in information on plumbers, mill wrights and aluminum fabrication, just to name a few.

At this point, I still can't give an accurate translation for the word "Menusierie", but researching it has opened my eyes to the fact that in France, craftsmen are treated far differently than they are in the Anglo world. Categorization and recognition for the different crafts have been something the French government started to nurture and develop over three hundred years ago and still deals with today.

As it turns out, one little French saw has given me a great deal of joy and knowledge, and the reality is, I haven't even cut through a piece of wood with it yet. But it has also taught me my limitations. I'm the guy who has trouble ordering an omelet in a French restaurant. At my age, taking on the task of understanding the history of French woodworking is beyond my capabilities. Hell, I have enough trouble trying to figure out the Stanley plane timeline from the last century and a half.

As it stands, this is my very first purchase of a vintage French tool. It will be, I'm sad to say, also my very last.

My thanks to Mr. Edwards and Mr. Shepherd for making this such an enjoyable experience for me.