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Group Title: Book review of "The Development of Carpentry, 1200-1700" by Cecil Alex Hewett
Title: Book review of 'The Development of Carpentry, 1200-1700' by Cecil Alex Hewett
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Title: Book review of 'The Development of Carpentry, 1200-1700' by Cecil Alex Hewett
Physical Description: Archival
Language: English
Creator: Myers, John H.
Publisher: John H. Myers
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: Winter, 1977
Copyright Date: 1977
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General Note: Course number: AE675
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Bibliographic ID: UF00102595
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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BOOK REVIEWS

THE DEV6EID)PMENT OF CARPENVTRY, 1200 1700
Bys Cecil Alec Howett











AE 675

JOHN H. MYERS

WINTER QUARTER




BOOK REVIEW


THE DEVELO)PMENT OF CARPENTRY, 1200 1700, An Essex Study
Authors Cecil Alec Hewett
Publishers David and Charles, Newton Abbot 1969



The thesis of Hewett's in this book is that the art and craft

of carpentry did not emerge full bloom, but developed over long

periods of time. He states that a widely held view is that

carpenters chose from a wide selection of av411able Joints, with

which we are now familiar, in order to construct their buildings.

Hevett is endeavoring to show not only that individual types of

joints evolved and became more refined, but that different categories

of joints developed at different times. He says, for example, that

scarfing had evolved to a peak and had begun to decline prior to the

advent of timber floors.

The method of study in the book consists of examining structures

in the county of Essex, in England, according to what he states is

the chronological order of their construction. The goal is to

establish a. technique of dating the structures by studying the joints*

He breaks his book down into period by centuries, with the twelfth

and fourteenth centuries being further broken down to two fifty year

spans. He dates the structures as carefully as possible, using

Carbon 14C dating whenever possible.

Each chapter examines buildings individually and discusses in

depth the joinery and quite often the order of assembly or method of

erection of the structure. The joinery is compared and contrasted





with other structures in order to demonstrate a succession of

development. Important techniques of construction and design are

pointed out and used to support Hewett's assertions of a particular

chronology in the development of carpentry. The chapters are very adequately

illustrated with drawings of the various structural systems and

j66bnts discussed, and there are some plates.

Each chapter is followed by a discussion or summary of the

reasons why examples were selected and dated as they were. There

is a thorough comparison between the buildingsand he deals in

depth with the methods relied upon for the dating of structures.

It is not possible without quoting from the book to describe the

detailed analysis Herett goes into to justify his statements yet

be remains concise enough to avoid belaboring issues or becoming

volum nous.

Two sections of the book are extremely valuable as a reference

source quite apart from the body of the text. First there is a

glossary at the beginning of the book which is very helpful in

understanding the terminology of the old construction traxa, types

of joints, and building characteristics from the period covered.

The second section of value is the group of appendices at the rear

which table and detail the development of scarfs, tying joints, floor

joists, corner joints and decorative elements. Each joint is

illustrated by a clear drawing and is thoroughly identified and

described. Short essays on the development of the items in question

follow the tables.



















This book by Hewett is a very scholarly treatment, and I would

recommend it a a necessary reading for anyone interested in the

subject of wood construction. The nomenclature and descriptions

and comparisons of construction require serious study; the book

is virtually impossible to read casually. The major limitation

of the book is the one which Hewett himself acknowledges in the

introduction, the area, of study it severely limited. Although I

agree with his premise that it is possible to date buildingsby

a study of their joinery, I believe that the method will have

serious geographic limits, and thorough histories of this sort

will have to be prepared for each area of concern.




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