Thanks to David Eckert, the persistent Lie-Nielsen distributor in Australia, you can now get our books on that continent.
“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” “The Essential Woodworker” and “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” are all available for sale now from Lie-Nielsen Australia. These are the exact same books we print here in the United States. They are made in the U.S.A., printed on acid-free paper, Smythe sewn and covered in linen.
If you look at all the writings on handplanes during the last 300 years, there is too much written on bench planes, just enough on the joinery planes and practically nothing on the moulding planes.
Within the next few months we will be balancing the scales with the publication of Matt Bickford’s “Mouldings in Practice.” Everyone who has helped me edit this new book has been both fundamentally changed and inspired by the text. Matt has taken a somewhat mysterious task – cutting mouldings by hand – and boiled down the process so it is straightforward and repeatable.
Sticking mouldings does not require great skill. It does not require years of training. Instead, Matt reveals the process to be one of accurate layout and cutting rabbets and chamfers. If you can master those simple tasks, you are halfway home.
Matt does this with hundreds of illustrations and step photos that demonstrate how every step of the process works, and what things look like when things go wrong.
The book, which is tentatively titled “Mouldings in Practice,” is divided into two parts. The first half discusses the tools and the principles. Matt shows you how a great variety of mouldings can be stuck with a limited number of hollows and rounds – you do not need a full set or even a half set of planes to get started. And he also discusses the roles of snipes bill and side rounds in sticking moulding.
There also is a section of the book for you to work on – one of the keys to good mouldings is learning to draw them accurately in profile. More on this section of the book later.
The second half of the book – which Matt is working on now – is a workbook of common and gorgeous moulding profiles. This part of the book is designed to go into the shop with you (we are investigating a special binding so the book lays flat on the bench). Each moulding profile is broken down into the basic steps so you can follow along on the bench.
These profiles are taken from actual pieces, and this section of the book will also teach you how to group your mouldings on your furniture pieces in a pleasing way.
Pricing and Availability
We don’t have a firm release date yet for this book – likely December 2011 or January 2012. And because of the special binding, we also don’t have a price. But I can tell you that it will be a large format book and it will be in full color. We hope to offer this book also in electronic formats, including ePub and Kindle.
While you wait for this book to hit the shelves, I highly recommend you visit Matt’s blog, Musings from Big Pink, where he documents some of the work in his shop.
This week I have been taking a fair amount of flinged poo – both private poo and public poo – about my involvement with Don Williams’s forthcoming book “Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley.”
The flinged feces goes something like this: As the author of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” which argues for a simple and flexible chest, aren’t you a hypocrite for getting the masses excited about a chest that espouses an opposite viewpoint?
The Studley toolchest is an icon of our craft for several reasons. It is the Farrah Fawcett poster-child for the wall-hanging tool chest set. It is a socially productive application of obsessive behavior. It is, on one level, tool pornography. And it is a touchstone to a different kind of tool chest that was made by patternmakers.
If Studley and I were to sit down and have a beverage, I think we would agree on some things and disagree on others. He and I see eye-to-eye on the fact that you should have a limited set of quality tools – the best you can afford. We agree that all these tools should be in a chest that is easily accessible from the bench. And we would agree that making your own tools – or modifying stock tools – is good practice.
Where we seem to disagree is on the way we achieve these goals. Studley fitted every tool into a single-purpose slot. Studley put every tool in its place. And with great gothic style. I prefer the flexible school – I want my tools to be “free range,” for lack of a better expression.
Perhaps our personality differences could be summed up like this: When growing up, Studley probably preferred that his peas and gravy remained separate. Me, I like a melange of peas, gravy, bread crusts, cranberry jelly and bits of bird flesh in every fork-full.
But despite these small differences, I actually feel a kinship with the man. I’m not a mason. I’m not a piano-maker. I am not as nimble (more on this later). But we both like sharp tools that are made well and feel good in the hand.