Whenever I wander into a bookstore, be it online or in a
bricks-and-mortar building, I immediately cruise to the period furniture
books. It’s from books such as these, especially museum-type furniture
books, that I find a storehouse of information and inspiration. I would just
as soon receive a quality furniture book, as I would receive cash as a
gift. With the many additions to our online bookstore, I thought I would
see what I could add to my collection. As you might expect, my five
picks are books (though there are also a lot of new DVDs in the store).
When asked to go to the shop to build a
piece of furniture, I’ll most often select a project with a New England
provenance. I like the lines and designs of early pieces from the Northeast better than any other area, including Rhode Island and
Philadelphia. Therefore, my first pick is a book by Denis Hambucken, “Early American Country Furniture: 22 Woodworking Projects Inspired by 18th and 19th-Century New England.”
Hambucken comes at these projects from a period-tools approach, so a
bit of power-tool updating would be in order – and I’m up for that.
As it is for many woodworkers, my first furniture passion was Shaker. My copy of “The Book of Shaker Furniture,”
by John Kassey is well worn with the binding chock-full of sawdust
from my constant study of the photos as I searched for the right
moulding profile or double-checked how a piece went together. In fact,
my copy needs to be retired. However there is no way I could not have
this book to use as a valuable resource, so I’m happy to pick up a
second copy. If you don’t yet have your first copy, now is the time.
Everyone owes it to themselves to read James Krenov’s “The Impractical Cabinetmaker.”
It’s not a one-and-done book. This is a book that you can go back and
read whenever you run into a cabinetmaking technique with which you’re
unfamiliar. Krenov covers shop-sawn veneer, his take on knife hinge
installation, how to fit curved doors and more. As you read, you’ll also
get a good dose of Krenov’s “do your very best work, no matter what”
line of thinking. In this case, “Impractical” should lead to improved.
For another huge helping of inspiration, I totally enjoy perusing “500 Cabinets: A Showcase of Design & Craftsmanship.”
I remember spending hours looking through Fine Woodworking‘s design
books when I was younger, and today we have the “500 Series” of books –
the series includes books on tables and chairs. While the pieces in this
book are mainly contemporary, this is one of those books that I look
to for ideas or simply to get my creative juices flowing.
There is plenty
of reading and “mind” woodworking to do in these books. After a few
days, I’ll have to get back to the shop to put some of my new-found
information and inspiration to work.