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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Books

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  • Craig Robert Pierpont
    Roy Underhill s books would be helpful. Craig Robert Lord Craig Robert le Luthier de Pierrepont OVO CAR Apprentice to Dame Alysea of Ashley
    Message 1 of 20 , Feb 9, 2006
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      Roy Underhill's books would be helpful.

      Craig Robert
      Lord Craig Robert le Luthier de Pierrepont OVO CAR
      Apprentice to Dame Alysea of Ashley

      medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com wrote:
      Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006 09:40:25 -0800
         From: Glen Scheel <shabboleth@...>
      Subject: Books

      Can anyone recommend any good beginning books on the subject of
      woodworking
      with hand tools? All I seem to be able to locate are books about
      learning
      with modern power tools.

      Thanks,

      Glen


      Yahoo! Mail - Helps protect you from nasty viruses.

    • John LaTorre
      ... I m sure that this has come up before, so search the archives. For starters, I d recommend Bernard E. Jones s The Complete Woodworker and the Practical
      Message 2 of 20 , Feb 9, 2006
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        Glen Scheel wrote:


        > Can anyone recommend any good beginning books on the subject of
        > woodworking
        > with hand tools? All I seem to be able to locate are books about learning
        > with modern power tools.

        I'm sure that this has come up before, so search the archives.

        For starters, I'd recommend Bernard E. Jones's "The Complete Woodworker" and
        the "Practical Woodworker." There's also a book called "How to Work with
        Tools and Wood" put out in about a bazillion editions by the Stanley Tool
        Company and easily available in hardcover or paperback.

        -- Baron Johann von Drachenfels (John LaTorre)
      • fiscabana@direcway.com
        My first hand woodworking book was Country Woodworking by Drew Langsner, followed soon by Roy Underhill s books. Hrothgar Small Gray Bear Gleann Abhann
        Message 3 of 20 , Feb 9, 2006
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          My first hand woodworking book was Country Woodworking by Drew Langsner, followed soon by Roy Underhill's books.

          Hrothgar
          Small Gray Bear
          Gleann Abhann
        • McNutt Jr, William R
          So - let s say you ve got a young apprentice just starting out as a woodworker, and they want to know what books are best for their library. I ll kick off - I
          Message 4 of 20 , May 4 12:44 PM
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            So – let’s say you’ve got a young apprentice just starting out as a woodworker, and they want to know what books are best for their library. 

             

            I’ll kick off – I like Victor Chinnery’s “Age of Oak.”  Ton of photographs, wide span of time covered, excellent bibliography for Further Reading.

             

            Who else?

          • sancoeur
            I ll bite. Joseph Moxon s The Art Of Joinery , Lost Art Press, ISBN 978-0-615-25279-7. Lots of photos and drawings, this version has commentary by Christopher
            Message 5 of 20 , May 4 1:46 PM
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              I'll bite.

              Joseph Moxon's "The Art Of Joinery", Lost Art Press, ISBN 978-0-615-25279-7.

              Lots of photos and drawings, this version has commentary by Christopher Schwartz (I just noticed my copy is signed!), who does a good job explaining what Moxon's saying.

              Mr. Schwartz isn't to proud to say "I have no idea what Moxon was thinking here!"


              --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "McNutt Jr, William R" <mcnutt@...> wrote:
              >
              > So - let's say you've got a young apprentice just starting out as a
              > woodworker, and they want to know what books are best for their library.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > I'll kick off - I like Victor Chinnery's "Age of Oak." Ton of
              > photographs, wide span of time covered, excellent bibliography for
              > Further Reading.
              >
              >
              >
              > Who else?
              >
            • i_odlin
              ... Do you mean Chinnery s Oak Furniture: The British Tradition ? Or has my Google-Fu failed me and there actually is a book called Age of Oak by Chinnery?
              Message 6 of 20 , May 4 1:54 PM
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                --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "McNutt Jr, William R" <mcnutt@...> wrote:

                > I'll kick off - I like Victor Chinnery's "Age of Oak." Ton of
                > photographs, wide span of time covered, excellent bibliography for
                > Further Reading.

                Do you mean Chinnery's "Oak Furniture: The British Tradition"? Or has my Google-Fu failed me and there actually is a book called "Age of Oak" by Chinnery?

                Other books along similar lines I'd recommend are "Furniture 700-1700" by Eric Mercer and "The Italian Renaissance Interior" by Peter Thornton.

                I heartily do _not_ recommend "Medieval Furniture" and "Constructing Medieval Furniture" by Dan Diehl until your apprentice has some experience with actual woodworking and medieval practices and can tell fact from fiction. And even then, I still don't recommend them very highly. If at all.

                -Iain of Malagentia
              • conradh@efn.org
                ... Two books that have greatly impressed me are: Scott Landis s monumental _The Workbench Book_ ISBN 0-918804-76-0 I don t think it is possible for any
                Message 7 of 20 , May 4 2:41 PM
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                  On Mon, May 4, 2009 12:44 pm, McNutt Jr, William R wrote:
                  > So - let's say you've got a young apprentice just starting out as a
                  > woodworker, and they want to know what books are best for their library.
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > I'll kick off - I like Victor Chinnery's "Age of Oak." Ton of
                  > photographs, wide span of time covered, excellent bibliography for Further
                  > Reading.
                  >

                  Two books that have greatly impressed me are:

                  Scott Landis's monumental _The Workbench Book_ ISBN 0-918804-76-0
                  I don't think it is possible for any woodworker-hell, any craftworker, to
                  read through this book without finding more than one idea they want for
                  their own shop, right away. More workholding ideas than I had dreamed of,
                  and I wrote an article on the topic once.

                  Moore and Sithole's _How to Make Carpentry Tools_ ISBN 1-85339-406-8
                  Marvelous for beginners--too many how-to books are written by experts who
                  are so familiar with the basics they leave steps out. This book leaves
                  nothing out, and offers the level of hand-holding I personally needed to
                  get past some of the beginner uncertainties. If you don't have a skilled
                  instructor handy, this is the best substitute I've ever found.
                  Step-by-step instruction on precisely squaring rough wood, handcutting
                  mortices, and then making your tools, beginning with a one-piece mallet
                  and going on through squares and marking gauges to bowsaws and gluing
                  clamps. By the end of the book you've made a plow plane and an amazingly
                  sturdy knockdown workbench with a powerful all-wooden face vise.

                  There's a companion volume, _Basic Blacksmithing_ that's equally good. I
                  tell my students that if they get only one book, get that one. If you are
                  into from-the-ground-up projects both books are superb.

                  Warning--the last two books were written by and for development workers in
                  Africa. They are assuming Third (and sometimes Fourth) World conditions,
                  and tell you how to get on with the job anyway. The blacksmithing book
                  talks about uses for old oil drums, and used motor oil, "if they are
                  available in your area". Think about how poor, or how far back in the
                  sticks, you have to be to have used motor oil not be available....

                  The bellows how-to from the blacksmithing book starts with a drawing of a
                  dead goat hung up in a tree, and shows where to cut in skinning it for a
                  traditional African bellows! When they say "basic" they really mean it!

                  Ulfhedinn
                • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
                  for basic techniques any of Roy Underhill s books are good. Most books on hand tools and their use are good. ( no specific titles or authors spring to mind )
                  Message 8 of 20 , May 4 2:44 PM
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                    for basic techniques any of Roy Underhill's books
                    are good.

                    Most books on hand tools and their use are good.
                    ( no specific titles or authors spring to mind )

                     
                    Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

                    Aude Aliquid Dignum
                    ' Dare Something Worthy '



                  • Colleen Vince
                    If your apprentice is leaning towards woodturning. Wood and Woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York by *Carole* A. Morris. This is a goldmine of
                    Message 9 of 20 , May 4 3:03 PM
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                      If your apprentice is leaning towards woodturning.
                       
                       
                      Wood and Woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York
                      by Carole A. Morris.
                       
                      This is a goldmine of woodturning finds.
                       
                      Not just turned goods, but barrels, buckets, coms...etc
                       
                      Just awesome book.
                       
                      --
                      Mary Ostler     aka Dirty Mary, Corinne, Colleen, Gadget,  Shauna of the Dead
                      Apprentice to Mistress Agnes Cresewyke
                      Builder of stuff and things.
                    • Bill McNutt
                      I suck. Of course I meant Oak Furniture: The British Tradition. I had conflated it with Percy McQuoid s A History Of English Furniture: The Age of Oak.
                      Message 10 of 20 , May 4 3:52 PM
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                        I suck.  Of course I meant “Oak Furniture: The British Tradition.”

                         

                        I had conflated it with Percy McQuoid’s “A History Of English Furniture: The Age of Oak.”  Which is also quite good.

                         

                        But Chinnery’s is a cornerstone book.

                         

                        Will

                         

                        From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of i_odlin
                        Sent: Monday, May 04, 2009 4:54 PM
                        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Books

                         




                        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "McNutt Jr, William R" <mcnutt@...> wrote:

                        > I'll kick off - I like Victor Chinnery's "Age of Oak." Ton of
                        > photographs, wide span of time covered, excellent bibliography for
                        > Further Reading.

                        Do you mean Chinnery's "Oak Furniture: The British Tradition"? Or has my Google-Fu failed me and there actually is a book called "Age of Oak" by Chinnery?

                        Other books along similar lines I'd recommend are "Furniture 700-1700" by Eric Mercer and "The Italian Renaissance Interior" by Peter Thornton.

                        I heartily do _not_ recommend "Medieval Furniture" and "Constructing Medieval Furniture" by Dan Diehl until your apprentice has some experience with actual woodworking and medieval practices and can tell fact from fiction. And even then, I still don't recommend them very highly. If at all.

                        -Iain of Malagentia

                      • AlbionWood
                        Someone just starting out needs a grounding in traditional woodworking techniques, an education in wood itself, and some overviews of medieval wooden products.
                        Message 11 of 20 , May 4 4:53 PM
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                          Someone just starting out needs a grounding in traditional woodworking techniques, an education in wood itself, and some overviews of medieval wooden products.  The first two are covered in readily available works, the last is toughest.

                          Alex Bealer, "Old Ways of Working Wood" - good introductory treatment of traditional tools and techniques.
                          Tage Frid, "Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking, Book 1: Joinery" - can make you a woodworker.  Widely available used.
                          Aldren Watson, "Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings" - excellent if he really wants to go trad.
                          Roy Underhill, "The Woodwright's Shop" and sequels - indispensable.  Roy is The Man.   Also widely available used. 

                          For medieval woodwork, or even just medieval furniture, there is no definitive book.  Long out of print and very difficult to find, Penelope Eames "Furniture in England, France, and the Netherlands 1100-1500" is more valuable for the historian than the maker.  Victor Chinnery
                          "Oak Furniture: The British Tradition" is great but limited in time and location.  French medieval furniture is treated in a few French books, generally unavailable in the US.  Various "History of Furniture" books contain small chapters with generally disappointing treatments of the Medieval period, often repeating untruths.  About the best of these is John Morley, "The History of Furniture" which is concerned mainly with design and devotes separate chapters to Early Medieval and Gothic, as well as Islamic, before getting to the Renaissance (which is where most such books begin).  Luis Feduchi "A History of World Furniture" also provides an overview of designs from various regions and periods.  The best information on medieval furniture construction is found in foreign-language publications that are really hard to find.

                          Gary Halstead has an excellent annotated bibliography on his Web page:
                          http://www.medievalwoodworking.org/books.htm

                          We ought to have an FAQ page for this...

                          Cheers,
                          Tim

                        • Dave Ordway
                          I ve found Roman Woodworking by Roger B. Ulrich to be an excellent foundation toward descriptions of techniques and style that provides a solid foundation
                          Message 12 of 20 , May 4 5:56 PM
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                            I've found "Roman Woodworking" by Roger B. Ulrich to be an excellent foundation toward descriptions of techniques and style that provides a solid foundation for everything that follows.  It is hard to dispute that which was done before, forgotten, then miraculously reinvented..  Everything's there from mortise and tenon to dovetails.
                             
                            Lagerstein
                             
                            ----- Original Message -----
                            Sent: Monday, May 04, 2009 3:44 PM
                            Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Books

                            So – let’s say you’ve got a young apprentice just starting out as a woodworker, and they want to know what books are best for their library. 

                            I’ll kick off – I like Victor Chinnery’s “Age of Oak.”  Ton of photographs, wide span of time covered, excellent bibliography for Further Reading.

                            Who else?

                          • Bill McNutt
                            True - I bring it up periodically because our roster changes, and the new guys have different books in their libraries. But I ll volunteer to put together a
                            Message 13 of 20 , May 4 6:00 PM
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                              True – I bring it up periodically because our roster changes, and the new guys have different books in their libraries.

                               

                              But I’ll volunteer to put together a FAQ after some more discussion.

                               

                              Will

                               

                              From: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com [mailto:medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of AlbionWood


                              Gary Halstead has an excellent annotated bibliography on his Web page:
                              http://www.medievalwoodworking.org/books.htm

                              We ought to have an FAQ page for this...

                              Cheers,
                              Tim

                            • Adam
                              One book I always throw out when a subject like this comes up is Understanding Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley. Knowledge of wood technology is important to any
                              Message 14 of 20 , May 4 8:21 PM
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                                One book I always throw out when a subject like this comes up is Understanding Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley. Knowledge of wood technology is important to any woodworker, regardless of the tools used.

                                Now, I now the subject is books, but to a beginning handtool woodworker there are also quite a few videos out there. I would especially recommend anything by Jim Kingshott and Frank Klausz. There is something to be said for actually watching someone work, rather than going by words and still photos alone..

                                -Klaus

                                --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Glen Scheel <shabboleth@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Can anyone recommend any good beginning books on the subject of woodworking
                                > with hand tools? All I seem to be able to locate are books about learning
                                > with modern power tools.
                                >
                                > Thanks,
                                >
                                > Glen
                                >
                              • Barbara
                                ... From: Colleen Vince To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, May 04, 2009 5:03 PM Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Books If your apprentice is
                                Message 15 of 20 , May 5 6:20 AM
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                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: Colleen Vince
                                  To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Monday, May 04, 2009 5:03 PM
                                  Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: Books


                                  If your apprentice is leaning towards woodturning.


                                  Wood and Woodworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York
                                  by Carole A. Morris.

                                  This is a goldmine of woodturning finds.

                                  Not just turned goods, but barrels, buckets, coms...etc

                                  Just awesome book.

                                  Mary Ostler

                                  -----

                                  Great book!

                                  I'd also add Robin Wood's "The Wooden Bowl."

                                  Lots of good historical information from a woodturner who works with a pole
                                  lathe.

                                  ~Tatjana

                                  "It's never too late to be what you might have been."


                                  Wolf and Tiger Woodworking
                                  http://www.wolfandtiger.com
                                • Laura Iseman
                                  Ian, I am interested in your comment about Diehl s books. I have both of these and I thought they were pretty good. Some of his actual woodworking suggestions
                                  Message 16 of 20 , May 5 3:33 PM
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                                    Ian, I am interested in your comment about Diehl's books. I have both of these and I thought they were pretty good. Some of his actual woodworking suggestions are not ideal, I admit. Is that what you mean about fact from fiction? Or does he actually falsify his observations? I don't know enough about historical woodworking to identify this if so and I would appreciate the warning before I make anything else from his books.

                                    I haven't read them cover to cover. Mostly I have looked at the patterns of extant pieces. Am I safe there?

                                    Miriam

                                    On Tue, May 5, 2009 at 6:54 AM, i_odlin <i_odlin@...> wrote:


                                    --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "McNutt Jr, William R" <mcnutt@...> wrote:

                                    > I'll kick off - I like Victor Chinnery's "Age of Oak." Ton of
                                    > photographs, wide span of time covered, excellent bibliography for
                                    > Further Reading.

                                    Do you mean Chinnery's "Oak Furniture: The British Tradition"? Or has my Google-Fu failed me and there actually is a book called "Age of Oak" by Chinnery?

                                    Other books along similar lines I'd recommend are "Furniture 700-1700" by Eric Mercer and "The Italian Renaissance Interior" by Peter Thornton.

                                    I heartily do _not_ recommend "Medieval Furniture" and "Constructing Medieval Furniture" by Dan Diehl until your apprentice has some experience with actual woodworking and medieval practices and can tell fact from fiction. And even then, I still don't recommend them very highly. If at all.

                                    -Iain of Malagentia




                                    --
                                    Agite primo recte! Nihil igitur durat tamquam enodatia brevis at satis.
                                    (Do it right the first time, because nothing is so permanent as a temporary solution that works)

                                  • i_odlin
                                    ... Now that things have calmed down around here, I am happy to explain: I quote the fifth paragraph of the Introduction to Constructing Medieval Furniture :
                                    Message 17 of 20 , May 27 1:41 AM
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                                      --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Laura Iseman <laurai@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Ian, I am interested in your comment about Diehl's books.
                                      >

                                      Now that things have calmed down around here, I am happy to explain:

                                      I quote the fifth paragraph of the Introduction to "Constructing Medieval Furniture":

                                      "Though there is an endless flood of books on various aspects of life in the Middle Ages, there has not, to my knowledge, been anything written on the most visible surviving remnants of domestic life of the period -- household furniture."

                                      When I first read this, I knew "Constructing Medieval Furniture" was going to be of little use as anything but a Butterick-esque Medievaloid Furniture Pattern book. On a bookshelf not four feet away from me sat Mercer's "Furniture 700 - 1700," Thornton's "The Italian Renaissance Interior," Jenning's "Early Chests in Wood and Iron," Chinnery's "Oak Furniture" and a few museum catalogs (most notably the Cluny's), every one a testament to the lack of basic research for the book in my hands.

                                      Predictably enough, there is no bibliography and none of the few 'historical notes' has any kind of documentation -- which is sad because I would love to know where the author got ludicrous ideas like page 1's howler, "The process of aging and curing wood was unknown."

                                      The construction notes are all completely modern. Medieval practice is occasionally referred to in passing, but then is usually dismissed entirely -- if mentioned at all -- in favor of how a modern woodworker would accomplish the task.

                                      [I'm told by a smith I know that the metalworking instructions are even worse than those for woodworking.]

                                      These notes are barely complete enough to be useable, but the book as a whole is extremely short on detail of any kind. Most of the purported 'historical information' is presented as a quick sentence or two in the form: "This is an [X], which was used [thus] and made of [this]. The [X]'s [condition/usage] probably indicates [Y]," for example.

                                      The sequel, "Medieval Furniture," corrects none of this. In fact, it's worse in at least one respect: Each project's individual chapter lacks a picture of what the item being discussed looks like! All pictures are relegated to the color pages tucked in the middle of Project 10.

                                      >
                                      >Mostly I have looked at the patterns of extant pieces. Am I safe there?
                                      >

                                      Of the 16 "Medieval" "furniture" projects in "Constructing Medieval Furniture," 12 are furniture, two are wall decorations and two are parts of a building. Only ten projects have measurements taken from actual Medieval items. Five others are from modern undocumented reproductions and one (the "Painted Wall Hanging") is entirely made up based on what it looks like in a manuscript illumination.

                                      The projects in "Medieval Furniture" fare better. 12 of the 14 projects are furniture (with one more -- the Merrills Board -- being arguable), and only two have measurements taken from replicas. So there's that at least.

                                      [It should also be noted, however, that two of the projects in "Medieval Furniture" ("Library Shelves" and "Writing Slope") are 17th century. Calling that 'Medieval' is quite a stretch even for the SCA...]

                                      Whether you are safe or not depends on your personal definition of safe, I'm afraid.

                                      If you're only looking for a Medeival Furniture Idea Book, these two are okay. But if you're looking for actual information on Medieval items and construction methods, these books are either of little utility or dangerously misleading, depending on how charitably you view undocumented (and provably false in some cases) statements of 'fact.'

                                      Hence my not recommending them for presentation to an apprentice.

                                      -Iain of Malagentia
                                    • Laura Iseman
                                      Hi Ian, thanks for that review. Now that you mention it I did think the wall hanging was a very strange. I will make extra sure that I take note of the items
                                      Message 18 of 20 , May 27 2:21 AM
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                                        Hi Ian, thanks for that review. Now that you mention it I did think the wall hanging was a very strange. I will make extra sure that I take note of the items that are measurements of copies. I hadn't looked hard at the notes sections, I did notice some of his technique suggestions were more than a bit odd.  I shall continue to take delight in my ambury cupboard and be cautious about the rest of the books.

                                        Thanks again,

                                        Laura





                                        --
                                        Agite primo recte! Nihil igitur durat tamquam enodatia brevis at satis.
                                        (Do it right the first time, because nothing is so permanent as a temporary solution that works)

                                      • Colleen Vince
                                        Using these books as a basis for an SCAism piece of furntiture is not so bad, but If it was entered into an A&S competition ...Ovey. Much of the items listed
                                        Message 19 of 20 , May 27 6:34 AM
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                                          Using these books as a basis for an SCAism piece of furntiture is not
                                          so bad, but If it was entered into an A&S competition ...Ovey.

                                          Much of the items listed in these books will still look a great deal
                                          better than alot of stuff I see in encampments these days.

                                          Thinking of making an Ambury that colapses down to nothing, much like
                                          a full set of SCA-medieval shelves I saw last weekend. Hidden hinges
                                          can be your friend. I'll post when done.

                                          Mary

                                          --
                                          Mary Ostler
                                          Apprentice to Mistress Agnes Cresewyke
                                          www.maryostler.com
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