‘One of the best ‘how-to-do-it-books’ of the last and present century.’

american_furnitureFor those of us with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge about traditional American tools and furniture, there is one name that makes us all tip our hats: Charles F. Hummel of Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library.

Hummel’s impressive career as a champion for American decorative arts – as a scholar, lecturer and author – are the shoulders that many furniture-makers, researchers and historians have stood upon for the last five decades.

You can read a brief synopsis of Hummel’s achievements here at Winterthur’s web site.

For hand-tool woodworkers, Hummel was one of the first to eschew romantic prose about craftsmanship and rely on scholarship as he documented the history of the Dominy workshop in his groundbreaking book “With Hammer in Hand.”

This book, more than any other before it, sketched a portrait of an early American hand-tool shop as a business and not as a quaint and faded painting of days gone by. Hummel pored over the ledgers of the Dominy family and had access to the entire shop (it was moved to Winterthur and is now on display) plus many Dominy pieces, which are also on display at Winterthur. (Psst, go visit Winterthur.)

So I was delighted and simultaneously terrified to see that Mr. Hummel had written a review of “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree” by Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee for the latest edition of “American Furniture,” the annual publication of the Chipstone Foundation that is edited by Luke Beckerdite.

In his review, Hummel praised “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree” throughout the long-form review: “To this reviewer, Alexander and Follansbee’s collaboration results in one of the best ‘how-to-do-it’ books of the last and present century.”

Hummel goes on to state that the book is ideal for woodworkers and that: “The authors also do a great service to collectors of furniture, historians of material culture and of technology, and furniture scholars…. Their book deserves to be on the shelves of everyone interested in nonmachine-made woodwork.”

I could not agree more. “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree” is a true labor of love that required decades of work, the construction of innumerable joint stools and trips all over the world to complete. We were honored to publish this book and are gratified by Mr Hummel’s review.

The first edition of “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree” is available in our store and from the other fine retailers who stock our books.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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11 Responses to ‘One of the best ‘how-to-do-it-books’ of the last and present century.’

  1. Congratulations to all, what an honor! Now I must go order the book!

  2. sablebadger says:

    well deserved praise.

  3. tpobrienjr says:

    It would be fitting to have Mr. Hummel’s review bronzed, or whatever one does with paper stuff.

  4. Jason says:

    Congrats to you and the authors! What a great review.

    On a separate note, is Mr. Hummel ever planning to bring With Hammer in Hand back into print? There is obviously a large potential audience for him if he does. It might be worth mentioning to him now that you have his attention. Maybe he will let Lost Art Press be the publisher this time around…

  5. JJ Natera says:

    How about the electronic version?
    I am trying to avoid buying more physical books

  6. Scott says:

    Yes, please bring this book back in print, the market is really expensive for With Hammer in Hand now!

  7. John Cashman says:

    To have Charles Hummel write such a great review must give you, Jennie and Peter an immense amount of satisfaction. I’m still waiting for this year’s edition of American Furniture, and I will flip ahead to the reviews as soon as it arrives.

    And for those of you who don’t get the yearly American Furniture — what the heck are you waiting for?

  8. abtuser says:

    Yea, congrats to Peter, Jennie and LAP on the nice review. I never considered owning axes till I purchased the book, now, I’m on the lookout for some, and said wood.

  9. Graham Burbank says:

    Having read “Oak: the framework of civilization” and Rob Tarule’s “The artisan of Ipswich” over christmas, my understanding of the process and the reasoning behind it is so much clearer. These two books provide the context in which the techniques illustrated in this book were developed and used in everyday woodworking prior to the 18th century. I obtained a copy of “with hammer in hand” through amazon last month, it is still available from many sources. The “eyeroll” I recieve when an amazon box lands on the front step is remarkably similar to the one I get with a lie nielsen box…

  10. Eric Bennett says:

    Congratulations on the glowing review. Make a Joint Stool from a Tree is such a departure from any woodworking book I’d ever seen. I’m still amazed how a funky little stool has changed the way I see furniture and furniture making. ALL of my LAP books have been game changers.

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