When approached to write the book, my wife and I had just decided to relocate from our home on Cape Breton Island to here, Toronto, Ontario, and I was just starting to think about the logistics and realities of moving a wood shop 2,500 kilometers. I spent the previous three years building traditional-style wooden boats and had a shop full of tools. Power tools! Table saw and band saw, thickness planer and jointer, with an array of other tools scattered around the shelves. What would I bring? My tool cabinet full of all of my hand tools, and my workbench was a given, but which of these power tools should make the journey with me? Would I even have the space?
All of these questions, without any easy answers. I made a decision then and there to leave the power behind. I figured I’d make a go of it in a small basement workshop using only hand tools. My grandfather and his father did it that way; why couldn’t I? The book and its subject matter couldn’t have come at a better time to push me into the hand-tool only realm. And as they say, the rest is history.
I knew from the start that the book I wanted to write would be one that would fill in the gaps for the beginner woodworker. Clear away some of the sawdust, so to speak. The projects were chosen specifically with that in mind; a hand-tool only approach to demonstrate, using design, some of the different joinery methods in furniture making. The styles are a melting pot of things that I like to see in furniture, little reflections of my own taste, that will hopefully stand the test of time when the reader builds his or her own versions of the projects, and lives with them for many years to come.
I’ve illustrated, through text and photography, every step I took in the building process. From cutting intricate joinery to encouraging the addition of personal touches to the six furniture projects. I’m looking forward to November when the book is released but even more than that I’m looking forward to hearing back from you, the reader who will take these pages, some dry lumber and a few hand tools, and recreate some of the ideas I’ve offered you here. I wish you well and can’t wait to share in the process with you. Cheers!
Made By Hand will be available in stores and at the Woodworker’s Bookshop in November of this year. Until then, you can visit Tom’s web site to read his entries about writing the book, and also what projects he’s working on now.