Cut & Dried: A Woodworker's Guide to Timber Technology
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By Richard Jones
Serious woodworkers have long been starved of accurate information on wood technology that’s explained in language for artisans – instead of for scientists.
Author Richard Jones has spent his entire life as a professional woodworker and has dedicated himself to researching the technical details of wood in great depth, this material being the woodworker’s most important resource. The result is “Cut & Dried: A Woodworker’s Guide to Timber Technology.” In this book, Richard explores every aspect of the tree and its wood, from how it grows to how it is then cut, dried and delivered to your workshop.
Richard explores many of the things that can go right or wrong in the delicate process of felling trees, converting them into boards, and drying those boards ready to make fine furniture and other wooden structures. He helps you identify problems you might be having with your lumber and – when possible – the ways to fix the problem or avoid it in the future.
“Cut & Dried” is a massive text that covers the big picture (is forestry good?) and the tiniest details (what is that fungus attacking my stock?). And Richard offers precise descriptions throughout that demanding woodworkers need to know in order to do demanding work.
- Where trees grow and how they are harvested makes an enormous difference to the quality of your stock. “Cut & Dried” explains many of the methods used in the U.S. and Europe to cut down trees and convert them into usable boards.
- How that stock is dried determines whether it will end up in your furniture or in a fireplace. Drying defects can crop up at any stage and can ruin a board (or an entire tree). Learn to identify the problems, to test your theories and avoid bad timber.
- We all know that wood moves. But a deep understanding of the process eludes many woodworkers – even professionals. It is a complex process, but can be easily understood by the furniture maker who makes the effort. Learn how your boards distort, why they distort and what exactly happens when boards take on or release water vapor.
- Even if you have found the perfect board, it can be attacked by spores, fungi or pests. Learn to identify and prevent them from ruining your entire stock of lumber.
- Wood has its limits. If you want to use the right piece of wood in an assembly, you need to understand how much stress it can take and from what direction. “Cut & Dried” explains it better than any source we’ve discovered.
The primary reason we decided to publish “Cut & Dried” is that Richard’s book provides a complete picture of how wood works. If you are decidedly non-technical and hate math, you’ll find what you need here. Richard explains how trees work in terms any woodworker can understand.
But for those woodworkers who want to understand “why” comprehensively, Richard has delved thoroughly into the science and math behind wood technology. You can go as deep as you like.
Representing years of research and a lifetime of working with wood, “Cut & Dried” is intended to become the definitive book on the subject for practicing craftsmen.
“Cut & Dried: A Woodworker’s Guide to Timber Technology” also required a significant investment by Lost Art Press to produce and print. Aside from our “deluxe” editions of A.J. Roubo’s work, this has been our most expensive work to print. Here’s why: At 336 pages, “Cut & Dried” measures 9” x 12” and the text is printed on heavy #80 matte coated paper for accurate color. The book has heavy hardcover boards that are wrapped in a grey cotton cloth and stamped with a die from a hand-printed woodcut.
The pages are sewn and casebound for durability. Our books survive babies, dogs and floods.
The entire package is wrapped with a #100 dust jacket that is coated with a supermatte laminate. This is a book that is designed to outlast us all and retain its brilliant colors.
We did all this for one simple reason: Richard put in an incredible number of years to create this work, including research and writing done at late hours after he finished his work as a furniture maker or teacher. We wanted the printed result to match his effort.
About the Author
Richard Jones began as a trainee furniture maker in his native Great Britain in 1973, and he’s worked in the profession ever since. He qualified as a furniture designer and maker at Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology in 1983.
Employment early in his career included periods as a bench joiner, cabinetmaker and furniture maker. Those early positions were followed by management roles with responsibility for designing and managing the manufacture of furniture and artefacts for employers. During this period he was employed as the furniture technician in the furniture department at Edinburgh College of Art, and as the workshop manager at the Children’s Museum of Houston. During the mid-1980s, Richard started taking on private furniture commissions in addition to his full-time employment. He moved to Texas in 1993, and in 1995 he opened Richard Jones Furniture.
In 2003, Richard returned to Great Britain to become a course leader and lecturer on furniture design and making at Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Oxford. In 2005, he moved to Leeds Arts University to become Programme Leader of the BA (Hons)/Foundation Degree, Furniture Making. Currently he divides his time among a variety of roles as a joinery apprentice mentor, in commissioned furniture making, part-time teaching, consultancy work and writing.
Richard has long held a special interest in timber technology, undertaking research on the subject to better understand this essential material. His research drew him to the conclusion that the subject is largely written about by wood scientists for other wood scientists, thus frequently making the subject difficult for the general reader. This led to him writing this book – as a woodworker for other woodworkers.