‘By Hand & Eye’ Now in the Store with Free Domestic Shipping

BHandE_cover_stampAfter reading the authors’ first draft of “By Hand & Eye,” a curious question occurred to me:

Can a book teach someone to sing?

Throughout this book, George Walker and Jim Tolpin use music as a metaphor to explain the mechanics of design. The metaphor is helpful in understanding their material, but I wondered if the metaphor exposed a weakness in their method. Namely, that design, like music, is something you can develop only through the act of doing it and gauging the response of others to your work.

But as I read the book for the third time during the editing process, I realized that Walker and Tolpin have indeed created a book that can teach you to sing. And they have done three things that no other book on furniture design has accomplished.

1.     They refuse to accept that furniture design is a system of secret codes and numbers that merely need to be applied at the drafting table to create beauty. Or that design is innate and un-teachable.

2.     They reveal a much simpler system – similar to notes on a scale – that can guide your efforts to train your hand, eye and mind to create pleasing forms.

3.     They give you a roadmap (instead of a plane ticket) for you to follow in the journey ahead. They show you the musical scales you need to practice. They show you how the instrument works. And they even play a few of the scales to show you the results.

The next steps, however, are up to you. Take this book, try the exercises and see if they can teach you to sing at the drafting board. The trip ahead might be long, but with this book (and some traveling music, perhaps) you won’t ever get lost.

“By Hand & Eye” by George R. Walker and Jim Tolpin is now for sale in the Lost Art Press store for $34 with free domestic shipping until May 30, 2013, which is when the book is scheduled to ship from the printer.

You can read more about the book and order a copy here.

You can download a sample chapter in pdf format using the link below.


Christopher Schwarz

P.S. We will be offering 26 leather-bound copies of “By Hand & Eye” this summer for $185, and we’ll also offer electronic versions in both ePub and Kindle versions. We do not know if any (or all) of our retailers will carry the book. As always, it is their call – not ours.

“By Hand & Eye” is 200 pages long with full-color illustrations printed on heavy #80-pound matte coated paper. The book is casebound and Smythe sewn so it lasts a long time. The hardback boards are covered in cotton cloth with a black matte stamp. Like all Lost Art Press books, “By Hand & Eye” is produced and printed entirely in the United States.

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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24 Responses to ‘By Hand & Eye’ Now in the Store with Free Domestic Shipping

  1. Tobin says:

    I have been waiting for this announcement for as long as I’ve heard this book was in the works. Thank you! So excited.


    • Brian says:

      Ditto that. I was allowed to place my order just now – my first LAP book! Hopefully more to come, I just haven’t been granted permission to get those yet…


  2. mikeandike says:

    If you read “The Trivium” by Sister Miriam Joseph she says that algebra is the theory of numbers and that music is the application of this theory. So the idea that music can be used to teach furniture design is not surprising…furniture design is simply proportions based on the human body. The nice thing about this book is that it takes the numbers and math out of it…I love it! I can’t wait to get my hands on this book!


  3. Kim A Howarter says:

    I just read the free sample chapter and it is great! Have to get my order in. On the music side, I think it interesting that Jeff Miller started out in music and switched to woodworking. Perhaps that has something to do with his success. Not sure I want to brush up on my violin!


  4. Mark says:

    Design can not possibly be innate. Nor can it be unteachable.

    Certainly some people have a greater natural talent for it than others, but were it innate or unteachable we’d never continue to produce, for example, new engineers every year.

    (And I’ve submitted my order. 🙂 )


    • Mark says:

      Rather, it *can* be innate, hence the natural talent.

      It just can’t be innate *and* unteachable. (Nitpickery over)


  5. Don Williams says:

    As someone fully appreciative of the difference between talent (a native in-born attribute) and skill in the quest for beauty, this book will be a delight. Hint: I have almost none of the former, and a little of the latter.

    Back to reviewing the galley proofs…


  6. Greg says:

    I’ve never been so excited about a woodworking book! I’ve been a huge fan of Jim Tolpin’s various books for years and I just watched George Walker’s “Secrets of Traditional Design” DVD for the first time a couple of months ago. A real eye opener to say the least.

    I’m in Canada so I can’t get in on the advanced order, I guess I’ll be rattling the doors like a caged monkey at the local Lee Valley store the morning it becomes available. Can’t wait!


  7. Fingers crossed someone in the UK will stock this.


  8. John Griffin-Wiesner says:

    Been looking forward to this one for a while. Just curious, what size is it? Is it the smaller format like ATC, or large like With The Grain?


  9. B Jackson says:

    Just ordered my copy. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks, John, for your reassuring e-mail.

    I’m truly sorry, but I STILL don’t see the cover complexity that overworked your cover design system / process!


    • David Hoffman says:

      Perhaps that’s the point. The time involved was necessary to create a cover that is simple, yet meets the qualifications necessary for this title.
      Chris, the cover looks fantastic! Now, to save the nickels necessary to purchase this gem. I’m particularly excited as I’m a Pac. NW native and I drove right by the Port Townsend School when on a short vacation last year, not knowing the brilliance housed within.


    • lostartpress says:

      1. Try designing a book cover that is about design when both authors are furniture designers and the book’s designer is a designer.

      2. The complexity of the cover is technical. What can you print on a piece of cotton with high resolution? What should the die be made of? Zinc? Copper? What sort of ink will hold the resolution better? That sort of stuff. We have been trying to push the boundaries of the medium and it is a gradual process.


  10. B Jackson says:

    In fact, all I see is a drawing of a compass, appropriate for the content, a thick-lined border, the title in a large font, and the authors’ names in a smaller font.

    Maybe it was the ampersand? Was it in the same font as the letters for the title?


    • Clay Dowling says:

      The design work was not complete when all of the necessary components had been added, but when all of the unnecessary components had been removed. This is why it now looks so simple and elegant.


  11. B Jackson says:

    Sorry, I’m just a little miffed about the L-O-N-G wait, because while I grew cobwebs, lost hair off the top, and saw what’s left turn from grey to snowy …. But you get the drift …

    Design by committee of designers?

    Cotton for cover??

    Dye on cotton???


    And the designers all came to settle on an essential tool of their trade, the compass????

    Really ?!?!?!


    • lostartpress says:

      Design something better and post it.


      • djmueller says:

        Get the book, read it, read it one more time, and then comment on the nuance of the cover, and how much the cover has added to your reading experience. The long wait leads me to believe the writers, editors, and graphic designer were careful plying their craft, and have maintained some semblance of life outside the office. Good to see someone is considerate of the details, the rewards of which will not be appreciated for several generations, when our progeny ponder the books from their great grandfather’s collection.


  12. nickbrak says:

    I was excited about the book during the commentary as the book came together. So obviously I read the excerpt, then ordered it, then completed the exercise in the excerpt. How amazingly simple it is to divide the diameter(width) of that inscribed circle(square) into 2, 3, 4, 6, with just a straightedge and a compass. And even more amazing to get the division of 3 is just one extra straight line from the divide by 4 construct. Since I am a self professed nerd, I then proved to myself that the division by 3 was actually a true division by 3 rather than a close approximation, and with that it only took special right triangle definitions and the law of similar triangles, and NO CALCULATOR, that is how simple it was! Tell the printer to kick it in high gear, I need the rest of the story!


  13. robertwf says:

    That is a great picture on the cover of the book. Can you make a Tee Shirt with that on it?


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