It was a cold February day, windy and damp, like you get in the season in the Touraine region of France. I had spent a couple of hours wandering among the craft masterpieces in the Musée du Compagnonnage (the Guild Museum) in Tours, France, near where I live. There was everything from micron-accurate models of impossibly complex wooden roof structures built by guild carpenters to castles built by bakers in meringue.
I am a booky kind of guy, and was spoiled for choice among the beautiful books in the museum shop when I stumbled across “Dans lʼAtelier de Pépère” (Grandpaʼs Workshop) A hand-tool woodworker, learning whatever I could about the history of woodworking, and woodworking in France, the cover had me hooked from the moment I picked up the book.
There was the besaigue, the emblematic tool of a house carpenter…
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