Woodworking, like many trades, requires a firm foundation of knowledge for a person to discover the potential of the craft. In my time at Popular Woodworking, I’ve sincerely enjoyed the access to our entire library of books and videos. It’s a privilege I wish everyone had. But, every once in a while, we receive titles from other publishers that we feel like we have to share. Woodworking Wisdom & Know-How comes from the editors of Fine Woodworking and represents a tremendous wealth of knowledge that will quickly get a new woodworker off the ground. Reading a title like this cover to cover will benefit anybody, and it’s great to hear from editors outside the world of Popular Woodworking. Check it out over at Shop Woodworking. I’ve included an excerpt from Jon Arno that presents the type of wisdom you will find throughout the book.
– David Lyell
Of the hundreds of woods I’ve spent a lifetime studying, none has so captivated me as cherry. Even now, when I bring it into my shop, its pleasant scent, subtly warm appearance, and satiny feel soothe me with a sense of familiarity and comfort. And yet every time I choose it for a project, my confidence is shaken. This species often seems to have a hidden personality—always friendly but never totally forthcoming. There are, of course, tangible and physical reasons behind the mysteries and magic of cherry; at least, I’ve discovered a few of them.
In many ways, our native North American black cherry is a nearly ideal cabinetwood. Its density, texture, stability, durability, working properties, color, and figure are as beckoning to some woodworkers as a cold beer on a hot summer day. And history would seem to second that conclusion, because cherry has figured prominently in American furniture. Museum-quality pieces turned out by skilled 18th-century cabinetmakers are among the finest examples of American craftsmanship of that period. Also, the Shaker craftsmen of the 19th century, who certainly knew a thing or two about practicality and function, chose cherry for much of their best work.