Today, I picked up desk copies of “Furniture in the Southern Style: 27 Shop Drawings of Furniture from the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts” – which is great news because that means the book, the companion CD of SketchUp models and the book/CD combo are in the warehouse, and starting to ship out to those of you who pre-ordered.
It also means that any new orders placed by Wednesday, Dec. 7, will be to you in time for Christmas (if you choose free USPS shipping, available for all orders of more than $25). I suspect there are a few extra days built in to the shipping time frame, but if you’re buying for Hanukkah, I’d suggest doing so before Monday morning so that your order will ship on Dec. 5.
Now that all that customer service stuff is out of the way…
The book looks fabulous. The interior paper is a nice, bright white with a matte finish, so the crisp black shop drawings are easy to read – and that’s important, because the authors, Robert W. Lang and Glen D. Huey, have provided all the patterns and measurements you need to make these 27 projects – and on some projects, such as the Desk with Bookcase, that’s a lot of little numbers, so you need to be able to easily see them!
It’s a hardcover book with a teal case and gold foil-stamped title, and the dust jacket, as you can see above, is also teal and in full color. In other words, this book will look just as good on your coffee table as it will in your collection of woodworking books.
And there’s plenty inside for those who don’t build furniture, too. Mack S. Headley, Jr., the master cabinetmaker at Colonial Williamsburg, has an introduction on the importance of these pieces and the unparalleled access Bob and Glen had to measure the antique examples in the museum’s collection.
Then Bob and Glen provide fascinating historical information about cabinetmaking in the region in which the pieces were made, and the many influences that combined to develop this style unique to Southern furniture. Plus, they discuss why they chose the pieces they did (and that was no easy task given the many extant originals in the MESDA collection!).
“Furniture in the Southern Style” is the first book to provide measured drawings of this vernacular furniture that would have been found in the typical middle-class home in the 18th and 19th centuries in the American South. This is not the high-style work that came out of big cities such as Charleston, S.C., found in most museums (think heavily decorated highboys). Rather, it’s comfortable-seeming furniture that exhibits an understated sophistication, outstanding craftsmanship and a unique blend of materials, form and function. These are pieces you can, and would want to, live with.
Inside, “Furniture in the Southern Style,” you’ll find measured drawings and information about the following 27 pieces:
• Tables & Chairs: Stretcher Table, Side Table, Pad-foot Table, Work Table, Stand, Pembroke Table, Side Chair
• Case Pieces: Desk with Bookcase, Cupboard, Kitchen Press, Nine-drawer Chest, Five-drawer Chest, Miniature Chest
• Cellarettes & Sideboards: Kentucky Chest, Three-drawer Sideboard, Cellarette, Five-drawer Sideboard, Sugar Chest
• Beds, Blanket Chests & Lady’s Desk: High-post Bedstead, Blanket Chest with Drawers, Low-post Bedstead, Blanket Chest, Lady’s Desk (featured in Glen’s November cover story for Popular Woodworking Magazine)
• Miscellaneous: Cutlery Tray, Pinwheel Cabinet (pictured on the book’s cover), Inlaid Box, Tall Case Clock
p.s. The CD is well worth getting if you’re a woodworker who uses SketchUp. On it, you’ll find all the detailed models that were made to create the illustrations for the book. So, you’ll be able to move around the model and see it from different angles and take the pieces apart to study the construction details. And of course, you can use the models as a basis for your own designs, or make changes to the existing pieces to suit your aesthetic or space.