Editing “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An Introduction to 17th-century Joinery” has been an eye-opening experience. Sure, I’ve followed Peter Follansbee’s blog for a long time, listened to him at Woodworking in America and even read John (now Jennie) Alexander’s landmark book ”Make a Chair from a Tree.”
But following the construction of a joint stool from felling the tree to mixing your own paint has presented a surprise at almost every turn.
Take, for example, drawboring. I’ve been drawboring joints for years – I think I did my first one in 1999. But I’ve always added glue and clamps to the equation if possible. Not Peter and Jennie. They use robust offsets between the bores and make pins that have a long taper and are quite beefier than I typically make.
What else is interesting is that the techniques used by Peter and Jennie differ slightly at many times. Peter shaves his pegs at the bench with a chisel. Jennie uses a drawknife in a shave horse.
In the end, what is most enlightening is how much trust they put in the joint itself. After reading their experiences during the last two decades, I’m going to change my own drawboring methods.
So even if you don’t ever think you’ll build a joint stool, the book is filled with interesting techniques from two people who have devoted their lives to unearthing the techniques used for building this classic furniture form. Heck, I am even going to mix my own paint now that I know how Peter and Jennie do it.
In case you are wondering, we are closing in on getting this book to the printer. The layout is, with the exception of the index, substantially complete. Unlike previous Lost Art Press books, “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree” is going to be printed in an oversized format – the page size is 9” x 12”. The book will be full color throughout and features illustrations from Eleanor Underhill.
And much like other Lost Art Press Books, it will be hardcover, casebound, Smythe sewn and printed in the United States. We don’t have a price or an exact release date yet. But as soon as we do, we’ll announce it here.
So sharpen up that hatchet. The oak trees in your neighborhood are going to be very afraid after you read this book.
— Christopher Schwarz