Sunday, February 12, 2012

Historic Ecole Boulle Video

Very few foreigners have ever been accepted at ecole Boulle, in Paris. It has always been a quiet and rather selective institution, focusing on training French artisans in the traditional skills of furniture design and fabrication, as well as upholstery, architecture, interior design, sculpture, metal working, and many similar trades.

I was only allowed in because Dr. Pierre Ramond invited me to be there. In fact, the only time visitors are allowed to walk in the door and get past the guard is during the annual open house in late January. This provides the entire school a chance to clean up and show off to the "public."

At that event, busloads of people from all over Europe arrive to examine the student's work. Each workshop sets up an area where the best efforts of the students is on display, and the students stand ready to explain how and why they decided to do that project.

Not much has changed in the century that ecole Boulle has been teaching the historic trades. Certainly the most obvious is that female students and teachers are now part of the school. Another difference is the first floor, where the heavy machinery is located. The old cast iron belt driven power tools have all been removed and are replaced with the most modern CAD and industrial machinery. As you can see from this video, probably many fingers have been saved by removing the old machines.

Fortunately, upstairs nothing has changed. The work benches, tools, patterns and floors show the marks of thousands of talented workers who have passed through these rooms. It is, for me, one of the most authentic historic experiences of my life. When I saw this video, I was transported back to the same place, like a time machine.

Recently a friend sent me a link to this old video of ecole Boulle in the early days. Enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Wow! That molding machine is crazy.

Anonymous said...

What is the temperature spec for Old Brown glue? I work in an unheated shop and would like to use it during the winter months.
Sorry to ask a question about a past post.

Thank You

W. Patrick Edwards said...

OBG is best used at a temperature of 140 degrees F. That is the temperature of the glue. If the shop is cold, then it is best to heat the work space where the gluing is done, if possible. However, even in a cold shop, when using very hot glue, you still have a reasonable working time. If the glue gels on the wood before you clamp it, then just use a hot wet rag to remove it and add fresh hot glue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!
I will have to give it a try
Soundes like it will work better than the modern glues do in the cold weather