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V9459Charles Hummel’s long and laudable career as a scholar and author of American decorative arts, and his long tenure at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, makes him a living legend – particularly for those who study and enjoy hand-tool woodworking (you can read more about his many accomplishments on the Winterthur web site). Hummel’s book “With Hammer in Hand: The Dominy Craftsmen of East Hampton, New York,” (Virginia UP, 1968), is a fascinating must-read on the 18th-century Dominy shop, tools and family (I’d say it’s a “must-buy”…but my penurious pocketbook must sadly hold out hope for a new edition; the original hardcover book in good condition now commands prices upward of $1,000).

So I’m delighted that Hummel shares my enthusiasm for “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree: An introduction to 17th-century joinery,” by Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee. In the latest edition of American Furniture, the annual journal of the Chipstone Foundation (the journal is edited by Luke Beckerdite), Mr. Hummel writes that, “To this reviewer, Alexander and Follansbee’s collaboration results in one of the best ‘how-to-do-it’ books of the last and present century.” And he goes on to write that, “In Make a Joint Stool from a Tree, Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee provide a well-written, beautifully illustrated apprenticeship course in the art of joinery.

“The authors also do a  great service to collectors of furniture, historians of material culture and of technology, and furniture scholars. In their text and illustrations, they take such readers by the hand and unlock the ‘art and mystery’ of handcrafted wood joinery taught for centuries to apprentices in the Western world. Their book deserves to be on the shelves of everyone interested in nonmachine-made woodwork.”

I couldn’t agree more.

sigAnd now, tucked away in my office cube, I have 90 special copies of “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree” with bookplates that are signed by both authors – and to the best of my knowledge, these are the only signed copies available, anywhere. Why am I offering these? Well, I was so very enthusiastic about this book (released in 2012 by Lost Art Press) that I insisted we place a massive order for the store; I went a wee bit overboard.

So to encourage you to add this important book on 17th-century joinery to your collection (and to help reduce our inventory…and get me out of trouble), I asked Peter and Jennie to sign plates for me, and they kindly did so. I’ve inserted them in each of these 90 copies, and I’m selling them direct to you from my desk– and you must order these direct from me, not from And when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Again, you can get these only through me; if you order through the store, you will not get a signed copy. I am personally packaging each of these books, loading them in my car, driving to the post office and mailing them out to buyers. So, if you’re interested in obtaining a signed copy of “Make a Joint Stool From a Tree,” first, send me an e-mail ( to reserve your copy (please put “joint stool” in the subject line), and I’ll make sure to hold one with your name on it. Then, send a check for $43 (payable to Popular Woodworking), to Megan Fitzpatrick, c/o Popular Woodworking, 8469 Blue Ash Road, Suite 100, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45236 (and please note on the bottom of the check, or on a sticky note, or on a coffee-stained scrap of paper, what the check is for). Or, call me, and I can take your credit card number over the phone – my number is 513-531-2690 x11348 (please don’t send your cc number via e-mail; our e-mail server is not SSL-protected). The $43 includes shipping.

Again, I’ve only 90 of these – but they’re taking up a lot of room in my cube, and I’d love to get them on your shelves.

— Megan Fitzpatrick


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  • tsstahl

    43 bux for the signatures AND shipping? !!

    I’m sure they’ll be gone soon.

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