Thursday, December 29, 2011

More cool books

Here are a couple more to add to the growing list of Cool Books.   (New Tag on the right hand side of the blog.)

-I just finished re-reading Tage Frid teaches woodworking. There are three volumes. The first two are available together in a single softcover volume, which is what I just plowed through. Tage Frid went through a traditional apprenticeship in Denmark, and made a career out of woodwork, and teaching woodworking, and he has a clear no-nonsense approach to the work. He also makes a point to explain how to fix up less than perfect work, which is unusual in most of the WW books that I've read on the topic of furniture construction.

It's a dated volume in that it was put together in the 70's, and the photos are in black and white. But it's such a clean and clear rundown on so many basic and intermediate skills, that it's a no brainer for a beginner, and (obviously) I still go back to re-read it once in a while.

 -Woodworker by Sam Maloof. One of the great things about Sam Maloof is that like Tage Frid, he was a no-nonsense craftsman. Sapwood? Fine. Wood screws? Absolutely. Wood worship? Sorry, not right now, need to make a living. In a world filled with hand tool purists and nonsense, it's still fun to see someone getting down with a surform rasp and a power sander. I recently read an interview with Maloof in FWW #25. He said that he got visits all the time from people who asked him if they could make it as a woodworker. He observed that a lot of them were more in love with the idea than the reality... and that schools pump out students who produce objects that are very precious, because there's enough time at school to obsess over detail. Getting work finished and out the door in time to get the bills paid is a much different experience.

-Given that I just referenced FWW #25, and that I'm working my way through my magazine archives to see what's there, I have to recommend any of the older issues of Fine Wood Working. The old issues were a lot denser, and the articles and tips were a lot more in-depth. It's not as approachable for rank beginners, but I appreciate reading articles that are a little more demanding of the reader. I want to grow as a woodworker, and I feel like recent and current crop of WW rags are trying really hard to engage beginners, not experienced or active woodworkers.

-365 Tao: Daily Meditations, by Ming-Dao Deng. I'm not always able to read this one every day, so it's going to take me much longer than 365 to get through it. I'm not a new-age hippy type, but Tao and Zen books have justified their place on my book shelf. And this one has managed to regularly offer insights that help me run and grow my shop and mind a little more smoothly.

1 comment:

robert said...


One of the more interesting woodworking books published this year is "Furniture with Soul - Master Woodworkers and Their Craft" by David Savage. He looks at the work, workshops and personalities of some remarkable furniture makers. Some of these are pretty well known, but there is a whole section of less well known but at least equally talented craftsmen. Nothing on construction, but lots on admiration and inspiration. If you haven't had a chance to read it, I recommend you pick up a copy.

Best regards,