Book Reportlet: Shaker Inspiration


When Megan Fitzpatrick posted the frontispiece of Christian Becksvoort’s latest book, Shaker Inspiration, on Instagram a few months back, I knew I would be placing an order. Not only have I admired Becksvoort’s work for decades; the frontispiece was utterly lovely, promising yet another beautiful and informative book from Lost Art Press.

What I did not expect was a book that offers as much to the professional or would-be professional woodworker as to the ardent Shaker furniture fan. In addition to a sizable section devoted to Shaker furniture, with measured drawings of Becksvoort’s own designs and reproduction pieces along with a portfolio of drool-worthy classics, the eminently readable book encompasses wood technology (informed by the author’s academic background in forestry), no-nonsense discussion of training possibilities, tips and techniques (several of them new to me) and invaluable advice on what’s involved in setting up a business and running it successfully.

Those who have read my book Making Things Work will be aware of the importance I attach to being honest about the sometimes-brutal realities of basing your livelihood on furniture making. Ever since I read Becksvoort’s no-holds-barred reply in Fine Woodworking to a reader’s letter asking how to make a living as a furniture maker, I have wanted to shake his hand.

After weeks of looking forward to that handshake, I relinquished the opportunity to meet Mr. Becksvoort at yesterday’s Lost Art Press event due to the forecast for several inches of snow combined intermittently with the dreaded “wintry mix.” But I’m looking forward to seeing him in April at Fine Woodworking Live.

snow in january 2019 2

Seriously diminished in volume after 24 hours of temps hovering around freezing, the snow is still lovely to look at.

About nrhiller

cabinetmaker and author
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Book Reportlet: Shaker Inspiration

  1. Peter says:

    Nancy, Do you have any clues as to how I could find the reply by Becksvoort that you mentioned? I’d LOVE to give it a read. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tony Zaffuto says:

    Nancy, I received your book “Making Things Work” for Christmas (I also have your arts and craft book), as well as Christian’s new book. This reply is not about Christian’s book, but yours: first, I will be buying another copy for my daughters to read and share among themselves. Second, your book should be required reading for first year college students embarking on a business degree.

    You would do well, if you could ever find the time, to teach a course on starting a business, both for legal and moral requirements. Superb job!

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.