This post is part of a blog series revealing the table of contents of upcoming Issue Fifteen. As is our custom, we’ll be discussing one article per weekday in order to give you a taste of what is to come.
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Chairmaker and author Jon Grant has studied the work of George Peddle over the years, and has been inspired by his undeniable adaptability as well as the quality of his work. But most of all, Peddle held on to his traditional modes of chairmaking when most of the competition was mechanizing and automating. Even into his 60s, Peddle and his business partner (and brother-in-law) Harry Hearne, another English chairmaker, continued making their wares with simple foot-powered lathes and tools. In Issue Fifteen, Grant shares the story of this resourceful craftsman who beat the odds in running a successful and productive shop in the face of encroaching factories and imports.
In exploring Peddle’s work, Grant focuses on the importance of learning to work intuitively – of knowing exactly how a workpiece in a lathe will respond to a chisel, or repeatedly creating tenons of the proper size without having to measure. Such an exacting grasp on materials and proportions can only come from hours of focused engagement with the work, without the hindrance of jigs or other devices that can stunt the building of skill. Peddle’s success shows us what is possible for the maker who pursues excellence with his own two hands.
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