“The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” is a short book written by an anonymous tradesman; it was first published in 1839. It tells the fictional tale of Thomas, a lad of 13 or 14 who is apprenticed to a rural shop, that builds everything from built-ins to more elaborate veneered casework. The book was written to guide young people who might be considering a life in the joinery or cabinetmaking trades, and every page is filled with surprises.
Unlike other woodworking books of the time, “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” focuses on how apprentices can obtain the basic skills needed to work in a hand-tool shop. It begins with Thomas tending the fire to keep the hide glue warm, and it details how he learns stock preparation, many forms of joinery and casework construction. It ends with Thomas building a veneered mahogany chest of drawers that is French polished. However, this is not a book for children. It is a book for anyone exploring hand-tool woodworking.
Even more delightful is that Thomas builds three projects during the course of his journey in the book, and there is enough detail in the text and illustrations to re-create these three projects just as they were built in 1839.
When Lost Art Press published the expanded edition* of “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” in 2011, a teacher of autistic students approached LAP about an audiobook of the original 1839 text to help teach craft history. Their students weren’t able to read the book, but they could listen to it. So we asked the inimitable Roy Underhill to help us out. He brought not only his hand-tool knowledge but his excellent thespian training to the project.
Why don’t we offer audiobooks of more of our books? Well, they are the posters of our aural world…which is to say this one made no money. Was it worthwhile? Absolutely – it helped an underserved audience of students. But it took a lot of investment of various resources, and we do have lots of cats to keep in kibble.
But because the audiobook made almost no money, we’ve decided to now offer it free to blog readers. You can download the 22 zipped mp3 files below for 125 minutes of listening pleasure. When you click the button below, the file will likely go directly to you “downloads” folder. (Yes, we are sure the link works; we have checked it a dozen times.)
*The expanded edition of “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” includes not only the original text, but a historical snapshot of England in the early 19th century by Joel Moskowitz, and chapters on building the three projects (a Packing Box, a dovetailed Schoolbox and a Chest of Drawers), plus complete plans, from Christopher Schwarz.
26 thoughts on “Free Download: ‘The Joiner and Cabinet Maker’ Audiobook, Read by Roy Underhill”
Very cool, thank you very much!
Thank’ee most kindly – that is most generous and much appreciated!
This will actually be my first ever audio book experience – as a natural 600-words-per-minute reader, listening to books have always appeared much too slow a process to me, but the combination of TJAC and Roy Underhill seems enough fun on its own to be worth the experiment, and it’ll be very interesting to find out if I will hear the book differently from how I read it.
I read fast, but I LOVE listening to audiobooks when driving, especially long distances (but they have to be books I’ve read before, as I can’t pay too close attention)
I haven’t tried that, but suspect that it’d run up pretty hard against another personal trait of mine, namely close-to-zero capacity for simultaneous attention, as would most likely any attempt at listening while in my workshop.
There’s a family anecdote about how I was sitting in front of the computer reading something or other while, on the same computer, the radio was playing. As some point my wife, who was also in the room, made a comment about what had just been said on the news bulletin, to which the only possible reply from me was “huh?”, as I hadn’t taken in a single word of it.
(Please note that I’m not attributing this to being male; it’s just part of being me.)
PS. I just happened to notice that the audiobook is still listed at $13 on the LAP shop pages. Is this on purpose (i.e. reading the blog is requisite for getting the freebie) or has it just not been updated yet? None o’ my dang business, of course, and certainly not meant as a criticism, but I thought I’d mention it anyway just in case it’d be helpful. Otherwise, please ignore!
I always read nonfiction, and listen to fiction. I also prefer the tried and true. I’m about to start the Patrick O’Brian series for the umpty-ninth time.
These day I listen to books through my Bluetooth hearing protectors in the shop, more often than music. Music is for hand tools only.
I’m more of a Hornblower person myself; actually, now that I think about it, I think it’s about time for the umpty-tenth (or is it eleventh? I’ve long since lost count) re-reading of those.
As for the workshop, as I’m 95+ percent hand tools anyway, ’tis music all the way chez moi …
Unlike MCA from the Beastie Boys, Roy Underhill rocks the mic with the pantyhose.
Thank you very much! I’ve been on the hunt for woodworking related audio books. I came up empty handed until now!
Does anyone have a list of woodworking related audio books?
Ray Deftereos of the Hand Tool Book Review podcast recorded (with LAP’s permission) “The Anarachist’s Tool Chest” https://soundcloud.com/handtoolbookreview/sets/the-anarchists-workbench
Thanks so much for your generous offer. I appreciate it.
It’s almost as if he were a radio woodworker, with measured drawings!
I have listened to this audiobook many times. As fine a woodworker as Roy is, he’s an even better performer.
Some day I’d love to see an LAP audiobook done as a full cast recording.
LAP’s generosity to the woodworking community has almost no bounds. Thank you. (I hope the hardcopy of this fantastic book is in stock during the open house this summer…)
Thank you, this is most generous. I’m looking forward to hearing it when I have some time.
holy smokes! I’ve looked for an audio book version of this several times over the past few years. searched Google and LAP’s blog and could only ever find a single chapter or people asking for Roy to do the whole book and y’all saying that was unlikely. long story longer, i would have purchased this several times had i found it and will be sending some money your way in short order.(obtw i do own the book)
Thank you very much! 😊
Thanks for the audio book, I have the printed version, but this will be fun to listen to Roy narrating!
I bought the book. I read the book. I enjoyed and learned from the book, but: this is a nice surprise and I will be very happy to try the voice of Roy in the workshop. Thanks
Can we still get a printed copy of course for a fee
Thanks for this. I appreciate it and look forward to listening. Do you have a means with which I could donate a few $? Or, if not, does LAP have a preferred charity that I could donate to instead?
I work at a high school and we have a class for which this would be perfect. These underserved students will be a little less underserved. Immense thank you!
The audio will be an extension of the pdf and the book (which is on its way to me, since I discovered I prefer reading on pieces of paper). 🙂 I am going to put in a few coins for the Red Cross as a thank you.
Thanks very much for this! I enjoyed listening to it when I was off work and feeling poorly yesterday. The reading is excellent and I felt surprisingly proud when Thomas got such glowing feedback on his packing box! I also enjoyed the chat about rabbits 🙂
I’m a middle aged man, but somehow that schoolteacher tone in Roy Underhill’s voice when admonishes “careless boys” makes me feel singled out, oh no!
Thank you very much for sharing this, that is very kind of you😀! I got your link from the alumni forum on Mortise and Tenon magazine.
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