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Archive for October, 2015

Reading and Ranting

Well, hasn’t it been quite a while since I’ve put anything here? I’ve been more and more busy as time has passed but I really haven’t done much to write home, or abroad, about. I will be putting up some new posts about: 1. started turning bowls and plates but also having to make my own tools to do this; 2. built a new travel lathe; 3. teaching my first class on green wood woodworking. Blogs with pictures, soon.
For right now, I have put together a list most of the books I have read, pretty much in chronological order, that have brought me along the path to where I am today, to be used as a handout for the class. (I’m told handouts are a must for this sort of thing.) I’m listing by Title, Author, publication date of the edition I own, and in parentheses, the original year (****) of publication as well as the ISBN, and finally, a small note about why the book is included in the list. Some of them are reprints of very old books. All seem to be from the early to mid 1900s.
I don’t seem to have much use for very new woodworking methods and notions. They all seem to be meant to sell us on the notion that we can’t do as good a job as a machine; as though the only acceptable standard should be “Get professional results, first time and every time”. Otherwise, we are wasting our time and resources in foolish pursuit of some unattainable excellence. Now, in terms of turning out massive quantities of a particular thing, I believe machines are the thing. In terms of accuracy and workmanship, not so much. Of course we must factor in the learning and practice of tool manipulation as part of our human adventure. In making things of wood, mistakes will be made.
The level of our abilities is being eroded away and reduced to low skilled mass production, both in our employment and in the day to day accessories of our personal lives. As woodworkers, instead of individuals with good skills and work ethic brought on by personal, hands on work, most have become a society of consumers whose main function is to serve and support the woodworking gadget industry. To our shame, little or less than what can be done with hand tools is ever produced. Countless power tools lie unused and even un-boxed. The limitations of tooling due to budget and a lack of practical experience as well as a lack of design capability keep most of us from ever actually making anything. If you can’t win, why play? In any case, not everyone who can purchase woodworking tools and gadgets will have the innate ability to produce at a level of true satisfaction. At least not immediately.
So anyway, here is a list of books from which I have derived instruction, inspiration, a philosophy of workmanship, and a broad general knowledge of woodworking over the last 42 years or so. Some I have not read completely. Some I have read several times and have gone through 2 or 3 copies. I refer to all of them as the need arises.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull- Richard Bach ISBN 978-0-684-84684-2 As I do not currently own this book. Lessons learned about how to go about self fulfillment in my pursuit of skill have been invaluable to me.

Audel’s Carpenters and Builders Library No. 1 through 4
LCCC 74-99760 (no ISBN in my copy) 1972 printing (1923) Lots of old school stuff.

Cabinet Making for Beginners- Charles Hayward (1948) Amazing that this was what he considered instruction for beginners in his day. Certainly a call to best practices in workmanship. ISBN 9780713514209

Craftsmen of Necessity- Christopher and Charlotte Williams 1974 Best book on “organic” wood working. Probably what led me to build my lathe as I did. Never throw away a good stick. ISBN 0-394-71022-3

A Museum of Early American Tools- Eric Sloan 1992 (1964) Drew me toward a love for pre industrial wood working tools and techniques. I wore out 2 copies. ISBN 0-486-42560-6

A Reverence for Wood- Eric Sloan 2004 (1965) Gave me an appreciation for what I was working with; wood, a once living material. Also on my 2nd copy.
ISBN 0-486-43394-3

Country Furniture- Aldren Watson 1974 (1957) Eric Sloan text tied to daily living in early America. Lots of good technical information about wood properties as relates to making things. ISBN 0-690-001909-8

Planecraft; Hand Planing by Modern Methods- C.W.Hampton & E. Clifford 1983 (1934) All about design, purpose and use of hand planes to do every thing you think you need a router for. “3 small cuts are more accurate than one big cut”

Country Woodcraft- Drew Langsner 1978 The introduction to this book reflects my woodworking philosophy and readily describes why I do what I do, pretty much. ISBN 0-8757-201-7

Adventures in Wood Finishing- George Frank 1981 Good read. Great life story. Best old school on wood treatments and finishing. ISBN 0-918804-06-X

The Practical Wood Turner- F Pain 1957 This is the very best book you can get on wood turning. Pain once taught a blind man to turn. My copy doesn’t have an ISBN

Modern Practicle Joinery- George Ellis 1987 (1902) When I was doing trim and stair work, this was very useful. It’s a little dry. ISBN 0-941936-08-2

Handbook of Doormaking, Windowmaking, and Staircasing- Anthony Talbot ed. 1980 Sort of an abridged version of Modern Practical Joinery; lots less science.
ISBN 0806988967

George Nakashima Full Circle- Derek E. Ostergard 1989 Furthered my appreciation of wood and workmanship, but not nail guns. ISBN 1-55584-376-X

Manual of Traditional Wood Carving Dover 1977 (originally Cassell’s Wood Carving 1911) A fairly exhaustive study of historical wood carving with a chapter on plaster modeling.

The Book of Wood Carving: Techniques, Design and Projects- Charles Marshall Sayers 1978 (1942) Best basic wood carving with excellent practice excercises; Manual of Traditional Wood Carving boiled down the essentials and without the plaster. ISBN 0-486-23654-4

The Nature and Art of Workmanship- David Pye 2007 (1968) An inspiring perspective on quality and excellence in doing what we do.
ISBN 970-0-521-29356-3

Green Woodwork; Working with Wood the Natural Way- Mike Abbott1998 (1989) A very good set of instructions for building a Pole Lathe as well as for constructing some furniture. Notes on wood behaviors and structure.
ISBN 0 96819 18 1

Country Chair Making- Jack Hill 1997 (1993) Somewhat power tool oriented but with good instructions and drawings for making a number of traditional British chairs and stools.

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