The Carpenters Rule made easieDARLING, John
Or, The Art of Measuring, Superficies and Solids; Also a Second Way Being the Ground-Work for Measuring Timber, Stone, Board, Glass &c. With a Table of Account, much enlarged, Performing Multiplication and Division, in Arithmetick and Geometry, by Inspection into the Golden Rule, and Rule Reverse. It being of Excellent Use for CARPENTERS, JOYNERS, MASONS, GLASIERS, PAINTERS, SAWYERS. Or any that shall have occasion to Buy or Sell, Perform’d by Table for that purpose. The Sixth Edition, with the Corrected Addition of a Short Treatise of Practical Guaging, Improved, shewing a Compendious and Esie Way to Attain that Useful Art. By Heber Lands, Math:
London: Printed for George Sawbridge. 1703
Sixth edition. 12mo. (145x85mm). pp. 1bl, [x], 140, ; [i], 501 (i.e. p.105), [1, advertisement]. The Treatise on Practical Gauging by Heber Lands is the second edition. It has a separate title page and pagination but is the register is continuous. Page 105 is misnumbered 501. In the Carpenters Rule, p.11 is misnumbered 6 and 75 as 49. Contemporary full speckled calf with a smooth rectangular panel in the centre of the upper and lower covers. Double lined border in blind around the edge of both covers. The central panel is bordered with double lines with a swag pattern inside, all in blind. At each corner of the panel is a renaissance style leaf design in blind. The spine has four raised band and five compartments. The second compartment has a maroon label with the short title inside a double border, all in gilt. The joints have recently been skilfully repaired and this is a very clean, tight binding in superb condition. The contents are in very good condition with minor foxing only. The ffep has a handwritten note to the top right corner appearing to be a purchase note: "Pret: L, 00: s, 02: dd, 03. G. Courshop (?), Sep, 16th 1709. This is an excellent copy of a fascinating and, at the time, important book.
In his prefatory letter to the reader, John Darling explains his purpose with admirable frankness: “If you love witty and merry conceits, tread not upon this stage, otherwise this book...Here you have the Ground-work of Measuring comprised (as it were) in a nutshel”. Darling’s aim is to provide workmen with the correct tools and tables to measure timber but he also gives such detailed tables that he recognises that he is displaying “that noble Art of Arithmetick and Geometry...; the Rules whereof, if well digested and practised, would make a compleat Artist;...By this Art, a just Partition of Lands is made, Justice herself is limited, and the Decrees of Estate in the Commonwealth are rightly established; yea, a Commonwealth is as planted, so preserved by it; for without it, we should be plunged in, and hurled into an Ataxie and Confusion”. Large claims indeed. Don’t argue with your carpenter over a piece of wood: you never know where it could end.
The Carpenters Rule was a popular work in its day, in print for eighty years from its first publication in 1658. It is nevertheless rare now, Copac and WorldCat locating five copies of this 1703 edition in the UK and one in the USA.