Compagnons du Tour de France and its connection with Timber Frames

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A Woodworkers Musings

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Timber Framing is “post-and-beam” construction.  A method of building with heavy timbers rather than traditional 2x4s. It uses heavy squared-off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs (larger versions of the mortise and tenon joints).  In the picture below you can see timber framing in the process of construction.

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French Planters and Jardinieres




Origin of jar·di·niere  1835-45;  French, from jardin (garden)

It actually has four meanings:

A Jardinier is an ornamental pot or trough for plants

OR a garnish of fresh vegetables, cooked, diced, and served around a dish of meat, OR it could be making reference to a European ground beetle (or beetles that attack plants in kitchen gardens) OR female gardener!

That’s a lot of definition for one word.  So when horticulturist, garden designer, and writer Gertrude Jekell (1843-1932) quoted….

There are some English words which have no equivalent in French, but then there are a great many more French words … for which we have no English. One of these is jardinière. Even in French it does not quite rightly express its meaning, because the obvious meaning of jardinière is female gardener, whereas what we understand by it … is a receptacle for holding pot-plants.

…It was quite fitting for this post.

Jardinieres are typically decorative and can be used not only as garden accents and for raising culinary herbs, but can be used as decorative items inside the home as well.


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Victorian Era Spill Vases

Victorian Spill Vases or Holders

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In very basic terms, a spill
holder or “Spill” is a vase or other vessel used before the widespread availability of friction matches to hold the device which transferred a flame.

We take matches for granted today, but that was not the case in 1850. Matches were first made in England about 1820 by hand dipping individual sticks in phosphorus and sulpher.   Matches could be expensive so they were used very conservatively.

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Petrins and Panetieres

Petrins and Panetieres go Hand in Hand!
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The French knew plenty about cooking with style even in the old days. At the heart of any kitchen in Provence stood a petrin and over it hung a panetiere. Bread dough was placed in the petrin for rising, then removed and kneaded on top. The bread baked in the fireplace, then was stored in the panetiere — a very fancy breadbox. The panetiere hung on the wall to keep rodents and other furry creatures away from its tasty contents. Today, you can use the petrin and the panetiere alone or together wherever you need decorative storage.

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The French Bouillotte Table

Bouillotte:  Game, Table, and Lamp

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Some home furnishings were historically made for one particular purpose.  Such is the case of the French game, bouillotte (“BOO yaht”), inspiring both a table and a lamp.  Although neither the specific table nor the particular lamp type are required to play the game, both were developed to meet the needs of the card game.

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