Monday, 21 January 2013

Christmas Books

I received three books for Christmas and have just finished reading the last of them. I thought I'd share a bit about each of them.

Swedish Carving Techniques

I probably don't need to say anything about this legendary book by Wille Sundqvist, it is considered by many as the Bible of carving woodenware. It is definitely deserving of its reputation, especially the section on different knife grips. It is probably safe to say that it is one of the most sought after books of its type, it's currently available on amazon for £125. I think that at that price there are much cheaper alternatives like Drew Langsner's Green Woodworking and Country Woodcrafts, but I think you can get it cheaper, it's just about persevering. I paid about £35 for it. I just looked regularly on  and eventually it came up at a decent price.

Going with the Grain

One of my goals this year is to make some furniture for my house. I'd love to make a set of chairs, but at the very least I'd like to make a stool with a woven seat. Mike Abbot's latest book gives very clear and detailed instructions on how to make several different projects from a simple stool to a rocking chair. It is packed with colour photos and seems to reduce making greenwood chairs to it's simplest elements. I can't wait to get started on this, the book makes it look very simple, my only criticism is that the method in the book seems to rely very much on the Veritas tenon cutters, which are quite expensive (though I've heard nothing but good reviews of them).

The Anarchists Tool Chest

I've just mentioned that I'd like to have a go at making some furniture this year. The desire to do some traditional joinery has been growing inside of me ever since I saw the marvellous work of Peter Follansbee. This led to me discovering the Woodwright's Shop (a fantastic show about traditional woodworking) and Chris Schwarz. Chris's book The Anarchists Tool Chest has been calling to me for a while now and so it made it to the top of my Christmas list. I was expecting a book about selecting an essential kit of good quality hand tools and making a traditional joiners chest to keep them in. What I got was all of this and a whole lot more. For a start it was quite refreshing to read a woodworking book that was written by someone who is a professional writer as well as a woodworker and as a result of this I found it difficult to put down. What I really enjoyed was the philosophy that goes along with the book. Chris's idea of aesthetic anarchism is something that really speaks to me and so I will definitely be reducing the amount of tools I own, spending more time making things, spending less money on things I don't really need and filling my home with things that I've made rather than the mass produced rubbish that is forced on us.

I'll definitely be posting more about this another time, but until then I would love to recommend Chris's blog Lost Art Press

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