The first thing I need to do is apologize to almost everyone reading these words.
Since January 2009 (well, in truth some time before then) I began work on “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” and have been neglecting almost every other aspect of my life to get it done to the best of my ability.
So here goes:
To the readers of this blog, Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine, I’m sorry I’ve been such a slacker about answering e-mails and phone calls. In my mind, anyone who takes the trouble to write deserves the same effort at a response. Yeah, I get a ton of e-mail, but I don’t mind. What I do mind is when I have to rush through my mail and give answers that are superficial or that pass the buck to someone else. I’ve not been the editor that you deserve since January, I’m afraid.
To my employer and co-workers, I’m sorry I’ve been bleary-eyed and (a bit more) dim-witted and wrung-out. This book has commanded a lot of mental and physical energy. Staying focused on a single task for months on end takes its toll. And building stuff entirely by hand (with a fierce deadline) has worn me out. With this book behind me, I know I’ll be easier to work with.
And to my family, I’m sorry I’ve been chained to my workbench and laptop since the day I embarked on this book. I’ve missed too many events at school, too much homework and too many of the day-to-day moments of growing up. Even as I write this I’m missing out on helping out on Spanish homework (even though I only know “burrito,” burro” and “donde esta de casa de pepe”).
But now, it’s all over. The book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” is done and is on its way to customers. Is it perfect? No. I can think of at least six things I’d change if I could turn the clock back. Am I happy with the book? Well, you’re a woodworker. You know how these things are. It takes some time to figure out how much you like a project you’ve built. You have to live with it for awhile.
Is it the best I could do? To that I can say, yes. Despite its flaws (which I’ll be writing about in an honest fashion in the weeks to come), I think it’s worth reading if you are interested in pre-industrial history, hand-tool woodworking or traditional casework.
Everyone who worked on this book did their best, from Joel Moskowitz, who spent his life finding the original “Joiner and Cabinet Maker” book and researching the time period. To Megan Fitzpatrick, who edited every word we wrote. To Tim Corbett, who designed the cover. To John and Sharon Hoffman, who right now are mailing out hundreds of copies to customers. And to my family, who lets me build and type and read and travel to my heart’s content.
And to all of you who have ordered the book sight-unseen, thanks. And to those of you who are bound to read the book in the coming months, I hope “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” has the profound same effect on you as it did on me.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. I almost forgot the reason for this post. If you’d like to order a signed copy of “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker,” click here. (I’d starve if my career were in marketing.)
14 thoughts on “'The Joiner and Cabinet Maker' Now Shipping”
Congratulations to everyone involved on birthing another publication. The world’s a better place for having you and your work in it, Chris, and if even a small fraction of that world had the focus and passion you put into your endeavors, we’d be lightyears ahead of where we are (and no one would feel they have to apologize for an email backlog).
…after this long fight
I have no intention of
Can’t wait to read this book, I am sure it is just as good as the rest of your DVDs and other books. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and woodworking skill with the rest of us.
I look forward to the books arrival (every day). Thanks to everyone involved. I will be naming the next bookcase I build after you.
The small space between dedication and obsession holds much creativity but little sleep.
As for second thoughts about parts of the book – Remember "als ik kan," . No one dose or should expect more.
I’m probably speaking for every reader of this blog when I say I’ve long been impressed by the quantity and quality of the contributions to woodworking made by you and the rest of your team. It is truly remarkable.
There may be cause for a little guilt from not giving your family as much time as you think you should, but I’m not so sure. Any father who brings his daughter into the shop to help and learn, as you have done, or has her involved in woodworking to the extent that she has her own #1 bench plane, can’t be doing anything really wrong. It’s not about woodworking, it’s about life, and I believe you understand that point as well, or better, than most parents.
I could go on, and won’t, except to say that I’m looking forward to the new book, as I have the others.
Thanks for the results of your efforts,
Chris and team,
Thank you all for the time, effort, sacrifices that you make to bring these books to us, the hobbiests (for large part). You will likely never make the NY Times Best Seller lists (well maybe you will) but please rest assured, we who share your passion for this craft appreciate your efforts to bring back these lost bits of history.
And yet despite your many deadlines and commitments (what to leave in, what to leave out) you took the time to respond to a personal request, made by my wife, as a gift to me. You sir, are a scholar and a gentleman.
PS You had Señor Martin for Spanish class too?
I, for one, am really looking forward to getting my copy. And I suspect that, like a piece of furniture, only the maker himself will be able to see most of the flaws. Yes, they stick out to you. But to us, they’ll probably all look like "design features."
Thank you very, very much for investing so much time in a worthy project like this one.
Got my copy a couple days ago. I have to admit, I have not yet looked at it – I came home after a bit of a hectic day’s work, opened up the package and went "OOOOooh! It’s here!" Showed my wife the neato temp tattoo (and threatened to take it down to the tattoo shop to have them give me a real one (to which she said "no freakin’ way, dude.")), fingered the CD, then set it down on the chest o’ drawers in the family room and prepared myself an adult beverage for the evening.
This weekend has been busy, but tonight I "re-discovered" it sitting there on the chest and said, "oh yeah! Yet one more thing to add to the huge stack o’ reading material on my bedside table."
I like the cover, anyhow. It feels like a quality product in the hand.
But it needs a dust jacket – as did that little translation of Moxon’s work. Maybe I’ll go to Michael’s and find some arsty paper to make my own out of.
– Bill T.
Congratulations! We wish you all the best and good luck on whatever you are working on right now.
I received the book and DVD today, so far it looks great.
Loved the slide shows, especially your hairy legs under the work apron, LOL!
Katy is one cutie pie, reminds me when my youngest would help me in the workshop.
Thanks again for the fine book and DVD.
I received my copy on Monday. I would have read it through by now if life didn’t interfere. What a wonderful book. Truly. Thanks for all the gift you’ve given us in the time, effort, and craftsmanship involved in creating this work.
My book and dvd arrived yesterday, and I read until much too late last night. In my progress so far, Thomas has nearly completed the first project. The historical introduction and many notes attached to the text are fascinating. I think the narrated slide shows are a real bargain. They will be quite helpful if I decide to build the projects. Even if I do not, the tips and close-up shots will be useful for whatever I might take on.
It’s been a great read so far. You have a knack for keeping a reader’s attention – that’s a feat if you can keep mine, since I have been told by the wife, over and over again, I suffer from ADD (but let’s not go there)
I really appreciate your interest and passion in trying to revive and re-create what woodworking life was in the past centuries – from workbenches and now the life of a joiner and cabinet maker in the 1800s.
If it’s anything I learnt from you woodworking in the past centuries, it reached its pinnacle of technology a few hundred years ago. They had it all figured out then already – both in the West and the East!!
And I will not ask you the following question, "so what’s the next book’s title?"
P.S. : I have 4 daughters under 6 years old. They will get into the shop soon enough … I guarantee it..
Got my copy of the book last week. The text is really great, I finished a really good look through, but the wife says I can’t have it until after my birthday.
I did watch the DVD and enjoyed the slide shows and they worked out quite well.
Thanks for your effort I look forward to January when my shop should be clear to try the projects.
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