Ever since I encountered an original copy of “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker,” I have been a little obsessed with little books.
These small folios – roughly 4” x 6-1/2” – can fit into your pocket. And when properly written, they are filled with ideas that can change your life. In 2020, we reissued “The Woodworker’s Pocket Book,” which is a gold mine of information on the craft, from finishing recipes to nails to identifying hardware and understanding furniture styles.
We’ve sold more than 20,000 copies of this book in the last two years. And in the spirit of this small but mighty book, we are working on two more pocket books that we hope will blow your mind (but not your wallet).
The first is a book called “Sharpen This.” It’s a book that woodworker Tim Henriksen told me 10 years ago that I should write. It’s a no-nonsense 120-page treatise on grinding, honing and polishing edges. It is what woodworkers need to know to get great edges regardless of the sharpening system they use. It’s the kind of instruction I got in 1993 when I learned to sharpen. Before the internet.
If you are a great sharpener, you probably don’t need this book. But your daughter or nephew might. In any case, it was huge fun to boil down everything I know about sharpening into 120 compact pages, plus 50 photos and hand-drawn illustrations. Every word in this book counts.
The third title in this series is a book that I cannot believe has never been written: “Workshop Wound Care” by Dr. Jeffrey Hill. If you think there is a lot of disinformation out there about sharpening and finishing, then wait until you cut yourself.
The first aid industry has filled our minds and shelves with products that we don’t really need. Including some that are less than helpful. Dr. Hill is an emergency room physician and a woodworker who cuts through the misinformation with a scalpel.
As Megan and I read his text we were shocked by all the things we were doing to treat wounds that were unnecessary or (worse) counter-productive. This is a book that I have personally longed for in our craft. You might think “Meh, I don’t need this. I can take care of my scratches.”
But if you take an afternoon to read it, you will most certainly become better at treating your scrapes, contusions and what-nots. And you will likely have a better outcome, which is where you are back to woodworking much faster.
These two new books will both be the same size and have the same high-quality manufacturing as “The Woodworker’s Pocket Book.” And they will be reasonably priced – about $16-$18. Look for “Sharpen This” in the fall and “Workshop Wound Care” soon after that.
And we have a couple more pocket books in the works for 2023.
— Christopher Schwarz