Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Men and the Art of Manliness


Among restorer/conservators there is a little bit of a controversy over how to deal with clients repairing their own objects. On the one hand, we deal with botched repairs all the time on the historic objects we treat. Nails, Gorilla glue, and all manner of poorly executed splices/patches. This always makes treatment more difficult. Safely undoing and patching inappropriate repairs is a lot more time consuming than repairing a clean fresh fracture line. This is why some practitioners discourage their clients from performing minor remedial treatments to their furniture. Don’t get me wrong, I get that point of view.

There is another side to the story, however. First off, not everyone has historically significant furniture. And there is a category of people with mediocre solid wood furniture who have more time than money. For these people, if it comes down to a couple hundred dollars to repair a loose chair, the chair’s headed for the dump and they’re headed to IKEA. Rather than conservators subsidizing the chair’s repair by taking a pay cut, another option is to teach the public safe and reversible methods to repair their furniture so that a conservator can work on it later. This is the strategy I have adopted because, frankly, handymen are going to do it anyways. We might as well teach them to use hide glue and non-invasive techniques so that the chair is still retreatable.


So I’ve begun at one of my favorite websites. For years I’ve been following The Art of Manliness (and highly recommend you do as well). Their vision to make true men out of the adult boys our culture is full of is inspiring.

As AoM has written, “Many men today feel adrift and have lost the confidence, focus, skills, and virtues that men of the past embodied. In an increasingly androgynous society, modern men are confused about their role and what it means to be an honorable, well-rounded man.

The causes of this male malaise are many — from the cultural to the technological. One factor is simply the lack of direction offered men in the popular culture. Men’s magazines today are largely about sex, sports cars, and getting six-pack abs.

The Art of Manliness seeks to fill this void and offer an alternative to those who believe there’s more to being a man than expensive clothes and the hot babe of the month.

AoM is a blog about growing up well, aimed at men and their unique challenges and interests. We explore all things manly — from the serious and philosophical to the practical and fun. We seek to uncover how to live with grandpa’s swagger, virtue, and know-how in the present age by wedding the best of the past to the best of the present. The end goal is to create a synergy of tradition and modernity that offers men a way forward and signposts on how to live an excellent, flourishing life.

Ultimately, the Art of Manliness aims to encourage our readers to be better husbands, fathers, brothers, citizens — a new generation of great men.”

A few months ago Brett and I were discussing their lack of furniture repair articles and he asked if I’d write some for AoM. I happily agreed. We ultimately decided to cut it into two parts. Part One addresses the “Why?” of repairing your own furniture and Part Two addresses some common repairs. Last night, I saw on Instagram that one of their readers shared pictures of regluing a set of chairs they inherited. He said “after four kids climbing them daily [we] thought they were done for. Now they are rock solid.” That made my night. 

So check out the posts. Let me know what you think:


1 comment:

  1. It is true that not everyone has historically significant furniture. Most of the people have just old table. If they don't have resources or willing to repaint it or repair it, the table ends on the dumpster. Finally they buy another one. It is worth repairing furniture but not every time. Greetings!

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