In Praise of Promiscuity

No, not that kind. Get your head out of the gutter.

October 2015 001

This kind. See that worker on the left? I’m talking cross-pollination.

When Megan Fitzpatrick invited me to propose an Arts & Crafts style bookcase as a project feature for Popular Woodworking Magazine, I designed a piece in a turn-of-the-century vocabulary I’ve learned to love, that of Harris Lebus. I figured I’d sub out the glass and asked my favorite leaded glass artist, Anne Ryan Miller, whether she’d consider doing a pair of plain panels. She was too busy. In any case, Megan thought the feature would be improved if I did the glass myself. Just one problem: I knew nothing about working with leaded glass.

So I turned to another trusty resource, Fine Woodworking, and found an article by Mike Pekovich on leaded glass basics. It was helpful. A few weeks later, former FWW editor Steve Scott got in touch to request a submission to his “40 Years of Inspiration: How Fine Woodworking influenced generations of woodworkers” for the 40th-anniversary issue. I cited Pekovich on leaded glass as one article that has been especially useful to me. Credit where credit’s due.

You can subscribe to Popular Woodworking here. The bookcase feature is in the December 2015 issue. Keep pollinating.


2 responses to “In Praise of Promiscuity

  1. The bookcase is absolutely beautiful! I’ve been a PW subscriber for years, your piece is truly one of the best. I was wondering if you had any additional plans or details as I plan on building one for my family.

    Thank you!!


    • Ted, thanks very much for your comment. I don’t have any additional plans. Sorry. The drawings in the article are far more detailed than anything I ever work with, so consider yourself miles ahead right there.

      A heads-up: don’t cut all the parts before you start. Cut only the parts you need in order to assemble the basic carcase (legs, side panels, and rails for the top and bottom at front & back). Once you have the carcase assembled, measure each subsequent part directly from it as you proceed. (By the way, you will find that the door stile length in the cut list is longer than the opening, an exasperating error despite careful checking by several people, myself included.) I’d love to see a picture of your completed bookcase if you care to send one via email.

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