One of the great joys in creating “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years” was reading Hayward’s “Chips from the Chisel” column in every issue during its 30-year run. The column was a remarkable insight to the way Hayward viewed the world, the craft, his house and his garden.
The column began before World War II as tinged with insecurity. During the war years, Hayward kept a stiff upper lip and encouraged woodworkers to find solace in woodworking. And after the war, Hayward’s columns dealt with a craft that was being changed by technology and the old ways were disappearing.
The group of us who worked on “The Woodworker” books selected some of these columns for the books, and those appear at the end of book four. But I didn’t want to overwhelm readers with philosophy, so we selected only a few columns for volume four.
Enter Kara Gebhart Uhl, our managing editor, who wasn’t involved with “The Woodworker” books until the end of the final two volumes. She was delighted by the “Chips from the Chisel” columns and asked if there were more she could read.
So John and I began to wonder: Could the columns be a book on their own?
Thanks to Kara we are going to find out. For the last few months, Kara has been assembling the best columns from each year, plus vintage images from the magazine. She’s also preparing a timeline of important world events for each year, which will help put the columns in perspective.
And we’re seeking the help of the Hayward family in completing a biography of Hayward, who was the most influential workshop writer of the 20th century (in my opinion).
The working title of the book is: “Honest Labour: The Craft According to Charles H. Hayward.” During the coming months, Kara will share excerpts from the book here on the blog to give you a taste of what’s to come. I think you’ll find them well-written, thoughtful and as applicable to the craft today as they were 65 years ago.
— Christopher Schwarz