I know I haven't written in a while. It's difficult for me to write about woodworking when I'm unable to make any sawdust, thankfully I only have one more week of non-weight bearing and I can afford to stand in front of my workbench again. It seems like I've been away forever.
I have been doing a lot of reading lately, Since getting laid up I found a ton of used woodworking books on eBay and I took advantage. I had already read James Krenov's "The Impractical Cabinetmaker" but I acquired and devoured both "The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking" and "A Cabinetmaker's Notebook." I adore and identify with Krenov's take on woodworking and I can see the influences of his writing into a book I have taken to as a great inspiration "The Anarchist's Tool Chest."
I have also read a book recommended to me by Bob Rozaieski, "Illustrated Furniture Making" by Graham Blackburn. I agree with his assessment that its a great book for information and ideas, but it is a bit outdated in presentation and, to some extent, in the projects used. Left to its own, I would have paged through it, absorbed what I found interesting, and put it on the shelf with my other woodworking books, only to be referenced rarely in the future. But a conversation with my daughter changed my perception on the book
Infinity, my nine year old daughter, youngest of the crew, has always been glued to my side in the workshop. I playfully call her my apprentice. She is always desperate to build something, nearly anything. "What can I build Dad?" and I admit that is such an open question that before it's power, I'm at a loss for words. I have no recourse but to fall back on the lame line, "What do you want to build?"
I sat her down with Mr. Blackburn's book the other day and she was quietly fascinated. The book builds, hand tool skill upon skill, project on top of project, like many books do. But it doesn't complicate with words spent on types of tools or how to use the tools. It assumes you've read the authors other books that already handle this information. I can respect that approach. It walks from a simple path from easy to more complex.
1. A simple pine box with nailed butt joints
2. A book case with dados and rabbet joints
3. A slant top desk box with grooving and raised panels
4. A chest built with through dovetails
5. A side table using corner blocks
6. A dining table with blind mortise and tenons and drawboring
7. A cabinet with half blind dovetails and door construction.
8. A side chair with cabriole legs and chair construction techniques.
Finally I had an answer to her question. I believe if we use this book as a manual we can build both her skills and polish mine. Thank you Bob for convincing me to pick it up.
Ratione et Passionis
The book is out of print but I had no trouble getting a used copy delivered to me through Barnes and Noble's website. I'm sure you can find it through Amazon as well.
More importantly, if you are looking for great instruction, information, and podcasts shoot over to The Logan Cabinet Shoppe and check out all the great thing Bob Rozaieski has going on there.