Finishing Up ‘Cut & Dried’

CandD_cover

Richard Jones’s opus on wood technology – “Cut & Dried: A Woodworker’s Guide to Timber Technology” – is almost ready to go to the printer. There are just a few last-minute freak-outs to tend to today. And wrapping up the cover, which turned into a craft project this week.

“Cut & Dried” will be one of the largest books we’ve published (at about 400 pages) and covers every aspect of our beloved material, from how it grows, all the way to how it behaves when it’s in a finished piece of furniture. In between, Jones covers every aspect of the material, from fungi and pests to sawmills and kilns.

And, most importantly, the book is told from the perspective of a woodworker. Jones is a lifelong professional woodworker and instructor. While there are many other fine books on wood technology out there, Jones thought they were aimed more at a scientific audience than at furniture makers. And we agreed.

So Jones spent many years researching, writing, photographing and drawing this book to develop what we think is the most complete and understandable guide to wood.

We’ll be talking more about Jones’s exhaustive treatment of the topic in the coming days. But first, a look at how we developed the cover. It also involved woodworking.

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“Cut & Dried” delves deep into the structure of trees and how that affects your work at the bench. And so I wanted a cover that displayed the structure without being too technical about it – this book is not written for wood scientists.

During my experiments with shou sugi ban, I became fascinated with how a torch can burn away the earlywood in some softwoods, leaving the hard latewood and exposing the pores that transmit fluid in the tree. I wondered if this could result in a woodblock-like print for the cover. After searching around, I became inspired by the work of Shona Branigan who does this sort of thing but takes it to a sublime artistic level.

This week, Megan Fitzpatrick, Brendan Gaffney and I spent a day messing around with different trees to make a block for the cover. In the end, Megan snitched an offcut of a neighbor’s Christmas tree – a Scot’s pine – that we cut, burned, brushed and inked. It took us about 25 tries to get the look we wanted.

If all goes to plan we’ll be offering this book for pre-publication ordering next week. When it’s released, we’ll have details on pricing and the ship date.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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11 Responses to Finishing Up ‘Cut & Dried’

  1. Sounds like an absolute must have.

  2. studioffm says:

    I have know of the authors work for many years . He highly respected in the British woodworking world . i look forward to seeing the book

    david savage

    • Richard Jones says:

      And I hope you find it an invaluable aid to your teaching activities David when you finally see it. Thank you for your kind words.

  3. ccantrell81 says:

    Will definitely be getting this book! I really enjoy C. Becksvoorts book on timber, is Joneses book similar or a completely different direction?

    Cody

    • Richard Jones says:

      I’m not sure I should really be answering your question Cody because I don’t wish to be seem as if I’m overly keen on self-promotion. However, your question hasn’t been answered by anyone else, and I thought it would be polite to respond in some way.

      However, I’ll try and indicate the focus in the writing my book without making comparisons. Naturally there are some overlaps in content with Christian Becksvoort’s book, but I don’t think that’s either a key or important issue. The books are just very different in form, focus, presentation, and much of the information.

      Firstly, my offering does cover a wide range of topics, rather reflected in the page count which I believe is approaching 400 pages. I’ve taken what I think might best be considered a little less of an Ameri-centric view if you like, and looking a out a bit more to the wider world of trees and wood, even including such things as dual measurement systems, e.g., Imperial, metric and SI.

      I look at tree history, socio-political issues, ecological and environmental issues, tree distribution, tree oddities and migrations, discussion of trees’ structure (leaves, roots, xylem, seeds, germination, flowers, etc), fungi and trees and wood, insect pests and trees/wood, wood characteristics, and wood strength and structures. There are also sections, naturally, on water and wood, coping with movement in wood; felling, conversion and yield; seasoning of wood, drying faults, how wood’s sold and buying it.

      I’ve tried to find ways to explain some tricky science using analogies and examples for a reader to follow. The figures (photos, drawings, charts, tables) are almost exclusively in colour, and the format of the writing is what I describe as lightly academic using Harvard Referencing.

      I like to think my approach to the subject will help to inform woodworkers: after all, I am a woodworker writing for my fellow woodworkers, whether they be professional or amateur, or students of the various branches of woodworking, e.g., furniture makers (my background), joiners, carpenters, and so on.

      I hope this helps, and I guess my response goes some way to answering Mike’s question below.

      • Mike says:

        Thanks for the thorough reply. I know it can be awkward to compare your own work to someone else’s.

        I have all the respect in the world for CB’s furniture. I thought his LAP book on timber was a good primer and covered the basics. However I also thought it had a lot of “filler”. For example, the black and white line drawings of trees are nice, artistically, but really not that helpful. His book was a Cliff Note’s version of Hoadley’s. There is not much new in it. I ended up passing my copy along to another woodworker.

        It seems that your book will be much more thorough. I am looking forward to ordering it.

  4. Thank you very much for the mention-and the Link to my site. I came to printing wood by being inspired by Brian Nash Gill’s work. It’s wonderful to share and learn from each other, looking forward to investigating your book. All the best.

  5. Mike says:

    Say I have read Hoadley’s book cover to cover (I have), how should I expext this to be different?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think this subject matter is under-covered, so I do think there is room for a second text on the matter. More curious how it tackles the subject.

    (contrast that with the subject of finishing. If you have Bob’s and or Jeff’s books you really are doing yourself a disservice by looking elsewhere, especially the internet, for finishing advice).

    • Richard Jones says:

      Mike, please see my reply to Cody above. Hopefully my comment to him provides you with some answers.

  6. Mark Baker says:

    What I miss about my various jobs , now that I’m disabled , The smell of fresh cut Maple boards[ my first childhood scent memory of age 4] , or that of Rosewood[like fresh cut blooms]or the way I knew what type of wood just gave me a splinter . Miss the complete feeling of being needed to run the shop for 120 men that work in the field . To size up a stack of wood as to what I could do to improve it value as loading the kilm , veneering it , or use for furniture . Now with 40+ years behind me , I just hope to see an end to the disabling Vertigo that has laid my low .

  7. nrhiller says:

    Gorgeous image!

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