Palace, Refuge, and Studio

About Plumier

In the early 16th century turning became a passion of expression for kings and queens and soon the rose engine lathe was invented. Aided by their court turners they pursued perfection, an impossible goal, as an expression of their core beliefs.

The passion would pervade the sovereigns from all corners of Europe, yet it would be over 150 years before the first practical treatise on the rose engine and turning would emerge.

The son of a wood turner, Charles Plumier, himself a priest, botanist and turner, wrote his book, The Art of the Turner, in both Latin and French to optimize the number of people who could read it. Published in 1701 by Louis XIV, Plumier’s book would stand as the sole comprehensive treatise on the subject for over 80 years. The importance of the book cannot be overstated. Recognizing this, Peter the Great had it translated into Dutch and Russian.

Charle’s Plumier’s passion was to educate, and The Plumier Foundation shares that passion and has taken up the charge in the 21st century.

Bringing together the hands and eye to shape objects of useful art.

The Plumier Foundation has been created to teach, encourage and preserve the practices of ornamental turning and fine woodworking. Ornamental turning is an extraordinary collaboration between art and science that has created technical and aesthetic marvels over the past several centuries. Fine woodworking also has a rich history of bringing a craftsperson’s hands and eyes together to join and shape mankind’s greatest renewable natural resource, wood, into objects of useful art. The Plumier Foundation’s goal is to keep these skills alive by offering practical, hands-on instruction in the use of vintage machines and hand tools in a manner that respects the past while moving ornamental turning and fine woodworking forward in a fresh and creative manner. To this end, Plumier Foundation serves as a unique resource providing access to knowledge and tools for practitioners of ornamental turning and fine woodworking to use.

The Plumier Foundation’s goal is to be a palace, refuge, and studio for masters in ornamental turning and fine woodworking. Its intention is to create a community of those who have reached mastery, those who aspire to higher levels of accomplishment, and those who simply want to encourage the preservation of these skills. This community is developed with the idea that the mastery of a craft is a vocation, a calling, to which a person must respond. Through the development of this community, the Plumier Foundation not only passes on skills and knowledge multi-generationally but also functions as a prescriptive means of alleviating the individual craftsperson’s sense of loneliness and futility often associated with the arts and crafts.

To achieve the above objectives, the Plumier Foundation provides an extraordinarily well-equipped shop in which students can learn and around which curious minds can gather. It offers a place where masters can demonstrate and pass on their skills and those on their way to mastery can learn in a hands-on manner. Through classes, self-study, guided long and short-term stays, and open house programs, the Plumier foundation brings together a wide community of participants. In this way, it preserves and enhances our historical heritage of ornamental turning and fine craftsmanship in wood and supports a creative and productive future for these activities.

Come join us to learn or just to support others in the process.


David Lindow

David Lindow started his career in horology in 1990 apprenticing under Gerhard Hartwigs, owner of Hartwigs Clock Company. Gerhard was the last apprentice at J.E. Caldwell, Jewelers in downtown Philadephia in the early 1960’s. David’s apprenticeship lasted 5 years after which he worked at Kyden Machine in Salt Lake City, UT learning better machining techniques and gaining a deeper knowledge of machinery. After this “journey” to UT David returned to Pennsylvania under Hartwigs’ employ and began applying his newly learned techniques to the production of period style tall clocks and Patent Timepieces. In 1997 Gerhard Hartwigs passed on, and David officially took ownership of the business in 1998 and expanded the production of clocks and horological tooling. In 2006 David developed and began producing rose engines which made available a newly manufactured engine turning machine for the first time in over 60 years. Since then over 125 of these machines have been produced and are represented all over the world. He was also instrumental in the production of the MADE Lathe an exquisite Victorian style machine of the highest grade.

In his career David has produced over 1500 clock movements and restored countless period antique clocks, and has become known for his ability to handle difficult jobs where many components are missing and restore these clocks sympathetically. His restoration work can be seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. He has also worked for the Detroit Museum of Art and has kept the clocks at the University of Pennsylvania. His period reproduction work can be seen at Monticello, Colonial Williamsburg, Clinton Library in Arkansas, Bush Library in Texas, and the Indiana State Museum just to name a few. David has also been a frequent lecturer and teacher for both horology and engine turning throughout the United States and has won awards for building both clock movements and horological tools.

In 2017 David met Bill Ruprecht and in time agreed to help Bill set up and manage The Plumier Foundation, which was the culmination of a long time dream.

Bill Ruprecht

Bill worked as an apprentice to a Cabinetmaker in Vermont in the second half of the 1970’s. Near Hanover New Hampshire, Bill participated in workshops with  craftsmen at Dartmouth College, including Sam Maloof, and was inspired by the work of James Krenov. At the time Fine Woodworking Magazine was dedicated to careful and sophisticated work, and among other skills introduced to Bill at that time was Ornamental Turning on which Fine Woodworking published two articles. Bill Moved to New York City in 1980 and began a career in the Art Auction business, eventually leading Sotheby’s as Chairman and CEO from 2000 till 2015 when he retired from that business.

Bill First acquired his first ornamental turning lathe in the early 1990’s from Steve Johnson in Seattle,  while on a trip to see Microsoft. That lathe was packed sent to an art storage facility where it sat, unassembled, for almost thirty years while Bill travelled the world in the business of selling works of Art. Most frequently Bill visited London, in some years as often as every week for a couple of days. During that time in the U.K., , Bill encountered John Edwards who had assembled voluminous information about ornamental turning lathes and equipment and often guides interested parties in buying equipment. In fits and starts, Bill acquired equipment and began a more serious study of the wonder of these tools. Bill met David Lindow in 2017, and was impressed by his passion, and asked for his help as he began to seriously shape the foundations of the Plumier Foundation, which was created in 2018.