For those who haven’t been following our saga of the translation of A.J. Roubo’s “L’Art du Menuisier,” here’s a brief description of what Roubo published and our translation efforts.
“L’Art du Menuisier” was a five-volume work written by Roubo, a professional cabinetmaker, and was published between 1769 and 1774 by De L’Academie Royale des Sciences. The five volumes were bound into three books, according to book collectors I’ve talked to. It was reprinted in 1977 in three oversized books.
The five volumes are as follows:
1. Tools and Architectural Woodwork
2. Carriage Making
3. Furniture Making
4. Marquetry and Finishing
5. Garden Woodwork
Our first translated book, “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry,” will include more than 100,000 words of translated text from the volume on marquetry and finishing. The translated text will include extensive notes from Don Williams. (Read more about the translation process here.) The book also will include essays by Williams that demonstrate the tools and processes shown in Roubo and how they can be accomplished with materials available today.
We are publishing two versions of this book. A glorious oversized edition worthy of the originals that will cost about $400. You can read all about that edition here. That version will be released in March 2013. We also will publish a trade edition of this book that will be physically smaller and less expensive – about $60 – but it will have all of the same words and illustrations as the oversized edition. We will have more information on the trade edition in 2013.
In 2014, we plan to publish our second book, “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Furniture.” This book will be about twice as many pages as the first book and encompass translated text from the volume on furniture and tools.
Like the book on marquetry, the second book will be published in two versions – a deluxe edition that matches the first deluxe book and a trade edition that matches the first trade book.
We have no plans to translate the sections on architectural woodwork, carriage making and garden woodwork. Feel free to learn French and get busy.
Why are we taking deposits on the deluxe edition of the first book? So we know how many to print. We want to make sure that everyone who wants one will get one. Why do we take a $100 deposit? So we know you are serious. Though woodworkers are generally good customers, we’ve had about a dozen or so welch on us after committing to buy a leather-bound edition.
I hope this clarifies our plans. I know it’s complex, and for that I apologize. But this has been the most complicated publishing project I’ve been involved in during my 22 years in the publishing industry.
— Christopher Schwarz