Friday, August 24, 2012

The Essential Woodworker

Published by Lost Art Press the Essential Woodworker by Robert Wearing is a comprehensive text on hand tool technique and furniture construction. Although the original text is as recent as 1988 the approach of the author along with the embossed hardcover format gives the impression that this is rather a manual arts texts from the 19th centuries. 

The text itself is economical in its use of words making it concise and comprehensive but dense. You're not allowed to simply skim a section as the is plenty of gems in the details. 

The first chapter of the book contains a summary of basic hand tool techniques and maintenance. It logically works through an orientation to each tool, essential maintenance like sharpening and rust prevention, and then application. Although there is the odd reference to machine or power tools the main focus is clearly handtool techniques. It differs from the modern approach of expensive and specific application hand tools to focus on a more traditional approach with a practical collection of tools.

The second section discusses various approaches to basic fourniture constructs such as tables and carcases. The book speaks from experience here. It clearly lays out the variety of approaches both mechanically and stylistically and brief discussion of the pros and cons.

The book is not the easiest to read and I suspect it would be harder to a complete novice. However, it's a book I wish I had when I first started. It would have saved me time, money, and energy spent of tools and furniture that didn't quite work. I'm only half way through and already it's well worth the read.

1 comment:

  1. Looks fantastic! I'm so excited to see all your hard work pay off - it must be amazing to look back at where you started. licensed builder


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