Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Out With The Old

The last post included photos of the new atelier de marqueterie at ecole Boulle, provided by my internet friend, Filip. I received a comment on that post which asked about the new marquetry saws. I thought the best response would be to show more photos of the saws, provided by Filip, and information about the company which manufactures them.

The mark, Colombo, has earned a respected reputation during many generations of marquetry artists. The new professor of marquetry, Gabriel Fuchs, has installed 4 Colombo saws in the new building. One has a throat depth of 115cm, and the others have an 85cm throat. The company makes smaller saws, including one with 55cm clearance. These are highly developed tools with specialized features designed to make marquetry cutting easy and precise. The largest tool runs about 4500 euros, and is manufactured in France.

I include three website links for you to explore:




I am not sure, but I imagine that the single overhead saw must still be used. There were three cast iron jig saws and one overhead saw. The overhead saw has no throat depth, since the upper structure is suspended from the ceiling. I include a photo of the workshop as it was when Pierre was there. You can see all the chevalets lined up along the window, with the overhead saws and jig saws in the back.

So, it seems that Gabriel has removed the three jig saws, and perhaps the overhead saw, for all I know. He has installed the Colombo saws, and the entire workshop is larger and more open.

Life goes on, and old men guard their memories, as they sip their coffee and live in the past.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mr Edwards,
the three jig saws and the overhead saw were removed in 2008.I couldn't believe my ears when Mr Fuchs told me so.The four saws are sold to the students.Mr Fuchs told me that they were worn out.They had to repare them by themselves.Sometimes I visit Mr Fuchs at his class when there are no opendoors and in 2009 he offered me to try the colombo's.After 10 minutes I already decided to buy one myself.They seemed better than the old ones.Allthough the old ones were much more beautiful.It's nice working with an old machine.(It has a soul)If you wish I will send you more pictures of the colombo's.

W. Patrick Edwards said...


I am pleased to include your photos and comment. I hope that others with ecole Boulle experience will contact me so I can post their story.

So, no overhead saw...zoot!

W. Patrick Edwards said...

Unfortunately, my French is phonetic. I spell like a first grade kid. I meant to say "Zut!" Patrice has corrected me...

Chuck Walker said...


Makes one wonder if there are changes to the chevalet itself? I presume these are still being used in the curriculum?

W. Patrick Edwards said...

I understand that two new chevalets have been added. I note that one of them is adjustable for height and works left or right handed. I will post a photo today. Even though the jig saws are in use, the standard tool of ecole Boulle for cutting marquetry will remain the chevalet.

Jameel Abraham said...

Thanks for the info Patrick. Very interesting. Although your latest has me wondering about using anything other than the chevalet. Lot less expensive too!

W. Patrick Edwards said...

I am often asked how much is a chevalet? If you happen to find one for sale used (good luck) the prices I have paid and seen are $2500-3500. I you buy a kit from ASFM (my school) then it cost $500 plus the cost of wood (perhaps another $500 or so, depending.) One advantage of building your own is you understand how it works and how to tune it. If you are a highly paid and well equipped woodworker who decides to go into business making custom order chevalets then you realize the actual cost of production is closer to $10,000 and the market is limited. Good luck!

Ronaldo said...

Hi Patrick,

The Colombo Filippetti saws are made in Italy http://www.cofil.it/en/Products/Fret_Saw_Machines.aspx

I attended "night" classes with Gabriel and he made us try both the fret saws and the chevalet and made our pick on which one to "ride". The chevalet gives you a lot of control and as I have a eye convergence problem, it put much less strain as I could stop cutting
as soon as my eyes started to loose
the line. There were a few chevalets dating from the
first days of the school!



Wood Carver said...

Last year I visited the department (open door in February), it is a great machine !