In today’s glimpse at the Covington Mechanical Library (CML), let’s have a look at some books compiled from magazine articles and by magazine authors, an old “must have,” woodworking humor and the first of our fiction books.
I remember seeing a few volumes from the Fine Woodworking Techniques series (above on the left) on the hard-to-reach shelves in my grandfather’s tiny workshop, tucked behind his Shopsmith Mark V. The series began in 1978, with articles pulled from the first seven issues of Fine Woodworking magazine, and ran through 1987’s Volume 9, featuring articles from issues 50-55. Tucked in among them is Fine Woodworking magazine’s 1970 “Design Book Two,” which, according to the cover features “1,150 photographs of the best work in wood by 1,000 craftsmen.”
I ought to swap the positions of Michael Pekovich’s “The Why & How of Woodworking” (Taunton, 2018) and Glen Huey’s “Building Fine Furniture” (Popular Woodworking, 2003) – and move Garrett Hack’s “The Handplane Book” (Taunton, 1997), Dennis Zongker’s “Wooden Boxes (Taunton 2013) and Thomas J. MacDonald’s “Rough Cut Woodworking with Tommy Mac” (Taunton, 2011) to the far left. Oh – and move John L. Feirer’s “Furniture & Cabinet Making” (Scribner’s, 1983 – a must-have at one time, but now perhaps a bit musty in its technique instruction…but not so old-school as to qualify as a classic) to the far right. That would pull together all the Fine Woodworking Magazine-related titles, and collect the Popular Woodworking Magazine-related books in a row (well – all the ones on this shelf, anyway).
The following, until otherwise noted, are from Popular Woodworking – and we have them because – as you may know – Chris and I both spent some time on that magazine’s staff. As noted above, we start with Huey’s “Building Fine Furniture,” followed by his “Building 18th-century American Furniture” (2009) and “Fine Furniture for a Lifetime” (2002). (If you want to know what Huey is up to these days, click here.)
Then we have Jeff Miller’s “The Foundations of Better Woodworking” (2012), Jim Tolpin’s “The New Traditional Woodworker” (2011), and a reprint of two vintage books in one volume: “The Art of Mitring” and “Carpentry and Joinery for Amateurs” – and gosh does that one simultaneously raise my hackles and sadden me. (The short story: It was supposed to be a Smythe-sewn binding with a cloth cover, such as Lost Art Press produces. When it came in, the cover was “cloth-like” and the binding was glued. Someone above me at PW’s parent company had decided, without even the courtesy of telling me, to “save money.” I’m still mad as heck about it. But I digress…)
I’ve already mentioned Feirer, so we’ll skip to Tolpin’s “Table Saw Magic” (1999) – a long-time woodworking hot seller (and a title that, in light of his current work in hand tools and artisan geometry, never fails to surprise me anew when I see it.) And I see now a Sterling book that needs to move to the far right: “Great Folk Instruments to Make & Play” by Dennis Waring (1999) – I’m not sure why we have that one; perhaps Chris went through an instrument-making phase that I don’t know about?
It’s back to Popular Woodworking books with “Build Your Own Contemporary Furniture” (2002) – a title lead-in that I’ve always found a bit silly…as if you might otherwise inadvertently build your neighbor’s contemporary furniture. Alongside those now-not-contemporary designs, we have “Building Beautiful Boxes With Your Band Saw” (2015) by Lois Keener Ventura – and with one book between is her “Sculpted Band Saw Boxes” (2008) – I’ll have to put those together on Monday.
Separating Ventura’s Books is another not-PW book, “Nomadic Furniture 2” by James Hennessey and Victor Papenak (moving that to the right, too!). It’s a 1974 delight from Pantheon Books, featuring hand-drawn plans for simple furniture made from inexpensive and recycled materials – stuff that folds flat or breaks down for easy moving. Then we have “Mid-century Modern Furniture” by Michael Crow (PW 2015) followed by “Nick Engler’s Woodworking Wisdom” (Rodale, 1999). Though it’s not published by PW, I feel it’s in the right place; Engler wrote for PW for years.
Tom Fidgen’s “Made by Hand” (PW 2009) is next; I liked his clever traveling toolbox therein. And for some reason, we then have a second copy of Tolpin’s “New Traditional Woodworker” (it might make its way to the blems/used shelf – it’s a good book, but we don’t need two copies). Then I’ll ignore the interloper in favor of “Building Traditional Country Furniture” (2001), which was compiled from PW.
And that completes – until we get to the fiction title – the PW books in this bay. That “interloper” above is Rick Mastelli and John Kelsey’s “Tradition in Contemporary Furniture” from the Furniture Society (2001). We also have our friend Vic Tesolin’s “The Minimalist Woodworker” (Spring House Press, 2015) and “Projects from The Minimalist Woodworker” (Blue Hills Press, 2021). Those are followed by a Sterling edition (2000) of David Finck’s “Making & Mastering Wood Planes” (we offer the revised edition).
At the end of the non-fiction section is Nick Offerman’s delightful “Good Clean Fun” (Dutton, 2016) – a book that I think likely got more formerly non-woodworkers interested in the craft than any other, because of Offerman’s massive fan base. And it’s a hilarious read (seriously – I’ve never laughed so much while reading a woodworking book – highly recommended).
And finally, that fiction title: Sal Maccarone’s “How to Make $40,000 a Year with Your Woodworking” (PW 1998). In today’s dollar’s, that title would be “How to Make $73,000 a Year with Your Woodworking.” More hilarity!
p.s. This is the seventh post in the Covington Mechanical Library tour. To see the earlier ones, click on “Categories” on the right rail, and drop down to “Mechanical Library.” Or click here.
14 thoughts on “Books from Magazines & More”
Yay! Book Blog Day!!!!
I love donuts. But Glen Huey was born to be a woodworker. I always hoped he and Troy Sexton would open a shop.
He’s still making things that make people happy.
Sure. Creative is creative. It’s still feels like a loss for team wood.
I am a keen racer and sailor of small boats (as well as an amateur woodworker). I have been collecting books, ancient and modern, fiction and non-fiction for many years. As I have got older my sailing library growth has stalled but my woodworking library has grown. The latter was in it about using machinery but is now growing with hand tool subjects. Goodness help my heirs to dispose of these hundreds of books.
What a great read before the Sunday papers arrive! Reminds me of when I finally found my advisor’s dissertation, and dove straight into the bibliography — so many familiar bylines, but the ones I don’t remember .. years later, how I wish I’d made a copy for my future self. Thank you for these posts.
My grandfather also owned a Shopsmith, and now I do, in my tiny basement shop. I’ve long wondered how you regard those old machines, but out of some mix of sentimentality, thrift, and pride, I’ve never asked. Did you ever use it?
I have a soft spot in my heart for Shopsmith stuff as they were made just up the road from us. And our designer Linda Watts used to work there, as did a lot of my woodworking friends in this area.
It is an INCREDIBLE drill press and horizontal boring machine. A great lathe and disc sander. An OK table saw. A weird band saw.
A brand new Shopsmith was my very first power woodworking tool back in the late 70s. We really couldn’t afford it but bought it anyway. My reasoning was that I would have to start building a lot of stuff to justify hitting the budget that hard. It worked. I built all kinds of stuff for our first home and haven’t stopped since. Passed that Shopsmith on to our son and bought myself another used one (that has taken an incredible amount of work to keep running). I use it mainly as a drill press, lathe and disc sander. Oh, and I have a jointer on it, too. Some of my first projects were out of the Shopsmith magazine (Hands On). A shop stool comes immediately to mind.
Glad I asked!
And man, you are not kidding about the weird band saw. I tried for days to get the wee table square to the back of the blade, and then read that they’re designed to be slightly off 90 ;”degrees. It’s supposedly a benefit for resawing, but I’m not sure — imagine that jury has been out since Inherit The Wind was in theatres.
I would have liked to, but he didn’t want kids touching his dangerous machinery! But when I moved into my first apartment in college, he let me watch while he cut boards (with the table saw function) that I used to build my first bookcase. It was usually set up as a lathe.
I’m on the shelf! Many thanks for the mention.
The new phone book is here, the new phone book is here!!!
The design book 1 and 2 are always fun to read. Some crazy things in there and it was about round edges, curves and organic expression. Well at least that was my favorite. I wonder how many are still around still being “makers”? Why does that word just say gak? Back then we just built stuff. 😉
I want to note that David Finck’s book on making and using Krenov style wooden planes is much more than just a book on making planes, it is a book on woodworking. Woodworkers shouldn’t be fooled by the the title . I believe it belongs on every woodworkers bookshelf even if they never intend to build a wooden plan.
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