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JOEL Joel's Blog

The Philadephia Museum of Art and Festool Fall News


The Philadephia Museum of Art and Festool Fall News 4This past weekend I was in Philadelphia and had a chance to spend some time at the very wonderful Philadelphia Museum of Art. I didn't see the special exhibit on Impressionists because the only thing I hate more than paying extra for a special exhibit is waiting on a line for over an hour or more to see it. I did however have a fabulous time in their American collection.
I am far more used to the Met in NYC which I love, but the Met whacks you over the head in excess and luxury. I relate to the PMA collection far more. In other words if I had an empty room and I picked out a few pieces (which I am sure they wouldn't let me but PMA if you are reading this I am open to the offer) I could really make myself a comfortable space where I could store my stuff, have a proper desk, and a place to relax. Even the Shaker rooms have a certain appeal to me.
While I like a wide range of furniture styles, seeing the PMA collection makes me better understand the appeal of Federalist and earlier styles and why furniture makers today enjoy building in those styles. Since I was a kid I have rated all art and decorative objects based on whether or not I would like to own it and the PMA collection passes in spades. This is what the job of the curator is all about. Like any media, book, film, performance, etc. an exhibit has to connect with an audience or the audience will just check the exhibit off a list of stuff they did and then make a beeline to the gift shop.

The Philadephia Museum of Art and Festool Fall News 5After seeing the American Furniture, a thoroughly enjoyable selection from the museum's huge collection of paintings by Thomas Eakins, and other great American paintings and prints we had lunch at the museum's cafeteria and I give PMA a lot of credit. After years of getting ripped of by expensive mediocre food at museums everywhere I had a very nice burrito for under nine bucks, a fair price I thought, and certainly a much better use of my time then trudging out of the museum to someplace else. Then we walked a block or so away to the Perelman Building which is part of the PMA and specializes in modern works that I mostly can't stand. However, one reason for my trip in the first place was to see "Northern Light: Scandinavian Design" which is a one-room retrospective of the high end of post war Scandinavian furniture and industrial design. It's a small exhibit but has all the big names, and lots of the signature pieces. It was good to see it all in one place. Some of the works I liked a lot. My only complaint is that I wish it was a larger exhibit. There was a "minecraft" poster on display, which is a very recent piece of Scandinavian design, but Ikea was omitted. And Ikea, which took so much of the modern Scandinavian design vocabulary and for better or worse, made it less expensive and a massive, mass success deserves inclusion if you are also adding Minecraft.

CORRECTION: I was wrong about Ikea. My wife (who was with me) pointed out to me a small chair and said "look - Ikea" I thought she meant: "Here's a chair that Ikea copied". In fact what she meant was "Here is an actual chair made by Ikea" So my whole point on Ikea being left out was wrong. Although, considering I missed it, I think a larger presence and larger captions might be called for.

The last museum picture is from their medieval collection and i think it's awesomely cool but I didn't spend much time there (hungry on way to lunch).

In other News

The Philadephia Museum of Art and Festool Fall News 6We will have added three new sanders and a fancy vacuum hose to our Festool offerings. After getting bashed by Mirka with their tiny little sander, on October 1 we will be shipping three new Festool sanders. All lightweight, all brushless, all designed to have the feel of a pneumatic sander but with proper "Festool quality" dust collection, which of course is a necessity in this day and age. And a cord, not a bulky air supply. The lightness of the sander makes it less fatiguing, and of course it's designed for full time use in any shop. I don't have any practical experience with these tools yet, we won't get our demo tools for at least another week, but we are taking pre-orders now.
The Philadephia Museum of Art and Festool Fall News 3 There are three sanders, a 5", and two Two 6" versions. The new 5" has a longer stroke (3mm) and more powerful motor, but many people will like the extra coverage of a larger 6" pad. There is also a 5mm stroke 6" sander which we mostly recommend for people doing flooring, or larger surfaces, but not necessarily furniture. The 6" weighs a lot less than the old ETS 6" sanders. The 5" weights about the same. Cost is more than the 5" ETS sanders or 6" ETS sanders, which are staying in the line as they are great less-expensive sanders. The cost of the new sanders is less than the FS-ROT150.XX,Rotex line), which with its dual mode is another animal entirely. The new 6" sanders use the same pads as the older ETS sanders, but the new 5" use a new pad style that does not fit the older models. Sandpaper is of course all interchangeable. As always we stock it all.

The Philadephia Museum of Art and Festool Fall News 4 In addition to the sanders Festool is also introducing a new tapered vacuum hose with a built in power cord. There are two models a 11ft (same as the regular hose) and a 37ft hose, which is some giant. For the first time you can also get a 37 foot electric cord.
Join the conversation
09/02/2015 Ernie Hatfield
Thoroughly enjoyed the comments on PMA exhibits. I was struck by the photo from the medieval exhibit. At first glance I thought I was back in China looking at some early dynastic pieces. The general scale of the pieces plus the extensive employment of frame and panel construction with carved, turned, or scroll elements for detail was remarkably similar. Given that the time period was the same I wonder who influenced whom?
Living in the Philly area I visit the museum often. I recently had the chance to see several Maloof rockers in person. It was a treat. I posted a whole bunch of pictures on my instagram @WoodenRobotWorkshop
09/02/2015 Dan
I always find your blog informative and educational.
Keep smiling,
09/02/2015 Tom
What did you mean..."bashed by Mirka"? Did I miss something? Always enjoy your commentary and everyone's comments.
Tom G.
Mirka is a sandpaper company that makes excellent abrasives and also a small electric brushless sander that is the same size and shape as a pneumatic sander. It's expensive but also very popular. The new Festool sanders are similar technology, but with the added benefit of a longer warrenty, and of course the awesome festool dust collection.
09/03/2015 Jeff Polaski
Luckily I live in Philadelphia, and also not far from TFWW. I have a neighbor who worked on the restoration of the Japanese Pavilion, which is to say they studied three to four times as much as actual work time, and only worked when they knew precisely what they were about to do.

Philadelphia is a treasure trove of furniture and wood artifacts used in everyday life. Come again!
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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.