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.