New from Lost Art Press: ‘With the Grain’ by Christian Becksvoort

WTG_coverA little knowledge about trees goes a long way toward improving your woodworking.

You don’t need a degree in dendrology to build a desk. But you do need intimate knowledge of how our raw material grows and – more importantly – how it responds to its environment after it has been cut and dried.

This knowledge allows you to tame the wood into the shapes that you have envisioned in your head. And it ensures that your furniture will endure the seasons and age with grace and aplomb.

That is why I am particularly pleased to announce the latest book from Lost Art Press: “With the Grain: A Craftsman’s Guide to Understanding Wood” by Christian Becksvoort. This is the book about wood that I wished I’d had when I started woodworking.

It is, above all, succinct, easy to understand and perfectly suited for the furniture-maker. As important as what is in its 144 pages is what is not. It’s not a detailed analysis of cell growth. It is not a heap of tables and equations for figuring truss loads in residential construction. It is decidedly not a scientist’s approach to the material.

Instead, “With the Grain” contains the facts you need to know at the lumberyard, in the woodlot and in the shop. It gives you enough science so you understand how trees grow. It explains the handful of formulas you have to know as a furniture-maker. And it gives you a hearty dose of specific information about North American species that will inspire you. Becksvoort encourages you to use the trees in your neighborhood and makes the case that just because you cannot find catalpa at the lumberyard doesn’t mean it’s not a good furniture wood.

You’ll learn to identify the trees around you from their silhouette, leaves and shoots. And you’ll learn about how these species work in the shop – both their advantages and pitfalls.

Becksvoort then takes you into a detailed discussion of how wood reacts to it environment – the heart of the book. You’ll learn how to calculate and accommodate wood movement with confidence and precision. And you’ll learn how to design furniture assemblies – casework, drawers, doors and moulding – so they will move with the seasons without cracking.

There’s also a chapter on how to manage a small forest or copse of trees – how to care for them, encourage them to thrive and harvest them. You’ll learn the basics of cutting, stacking and drying the wood, if you should ever have the privilege of harvesting your own lumber.

“With the Grain” is a major revision of an earlier work by Becksvoort titled “In Harmony with Wood.” While a lot of the raw data on trees hasn’t changed, Becksvoort updated the text, drawings and photos to incorporate more details and strategies for dealing with wood movement.

Like all Lost Art Press books, “With the Grain” is printed and bound in the United States on acid-free paper. The binding is Smythe sewn. The book is hardbound with a green cotton cover. The book is $25.

With the Grain” is at the printer now. If you order it before the publication date (Feb. 20), you will receive free domestic shipping. After Feb. 20, shipping will be $7.

Order “With the Grain: A Craftsman’s Guide to Understanding Wood” in the Lost Art Press store.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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20 Responses to New from Lost Art Press: ‘With the Grain’ by Christian Becksvoort

  1. Thomas Priest says:

    Got it! Thanks for the free shipping, always nice to save some money especially on knowledge….

  2. John Callaway says:

    This book will probably make an appearance on Parks and Rec.

    Ron Swanson is our network hero!

  3. Nick Gallardo says:

    This looks like a great read. Thanks for the update, Chris,

    Is there any update on availability of By Hand and By Eye? I’m headed up to Tim and George’s class at the beginning of Feb and was hoping to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible to be able to supplement what’s learned in-class.


    -Nick Gallardo

    • lostartpress says:


      Later this week I’m going to post an update on all our active projects. “By Hand and Eye” is in the last stages of page design. It is six to eight weeks out from being on the street.


  4. Jason says:

    Will this title be available as an ebook at some point?

  5. jasongc says:

    “copse of trees”

    Pretty sure that’s the only time that phrase has ever been used outside of writings concerning the Civil War….

    • Tom Pier says:

      “Copse of trees” is redundant, like “nectar of the gods.” But your point is well take for easily understood reasons military types place more than a little importance on copses.

  6. Tom says:

    This book sounds like something I would have loved to have had many years ago. Better late than never on this. Does it include information on western species, such as tanoak and California bay?

  7. John Hippe says:

    This sounds fantastic. I will be ordering it soon!

  8. robert says:

    I have the original. It’s a nice book. Get it.

  9. JJ says:

    I’ll wait for the electronic version as well. and I am also looking forward to by hand and eye. Preaching to the choir here…

  10. billlattpa says:

    You know how I feel about shipping! But I think this one will be on my bookshelf sooner rather than later.

  11. Graham Burbank says:

    And for the latest technique in dovetailing, check out the crazy canadian woodworkers

    • Patrick says:

      “Remember, if the women don’t find you handsome, they might as well find you handy.” – Red Green

  12. dweeds says:

    The site wouldn’t let me order the book. As I punched the final return it kept giving me a “sorry your session ended” with no order completed. what now? dave seifried

  13. theconsultant says:

    Does Lost Art Press ship to Canada? If so, do I get any choices on how it is shipped? Why do I ask? I *really* want a tracking number..



  14. Bob Davidson says:

    Ordered my copy the day after your post. I’m impatiently waiting to read it. I have been most impressed with Becksvoort’s work. I have read many of his articles in Fine Woodworking. I am very impressed with the tool cabinet he made for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks.

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