Euclid's Door: Building the Tools of ‘By Hand & Eye’

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By Geo. R Walker & Jim Tolpin

Illustrations by R. Keith Mitchell & Barb Walker

“Euclid's Door: Building the Tools of ‘By Hand & Eye’” is an illustrated how-to journey through building the ancient tools that still help us to build, well, everything today. 

You’ll learn how to use basic, easy-to-follow artisan geometry to make eight indispensable wooden layout tools – tools found in every cabinetmaker’s tool chest – that you can then use to build furniture (or houses). Plus, you'll learn how to tune them up to an incredibly high level – techniques you can use in all your work. 

You’ll discover the truths of geometry in three dimensions on your workbench – a much better way to grasp the secrets of our craft than words alone can convey. The process of making these tools results in much more than the tools themselves (which are in themselves quite amazing). The tools are teachers that take you on a journey into the secrets of artisan geometry. They develop skills important to the craft. These builds equip both the imagination and the hands. 

The cloth-covered hardbound 115-page book has a sewn and glued binding for durability. Like all our products, "Euclid's Door" is printed in the United States.

 

About the Authors

Jim Tolpin

In early March 2017, Jim Tolpin woke up in the middle of the night with a revelation: He finally understood where trigonometry comes from. “I was actually just working on that when you called,” he says. “And I actually think I just figured it out.”

He approached it the way an artisan would, hands-on, intuitive. “It hurts my head to keep doing this,” he says. “Why am I doing this? Why am I waking up in the middle of the night thinking about math? I literally got up early and just started taking notes, looking up Latin and root words.”

Jim is, above all else, a teacher. But he’s the best kind of teacher. The kind who never believes he knows it all, the kind who never stops learning. In some ways, he can’t help it. It’s in his blood.

Read more about Jim in our full profile.

George Walker

The first magazine article George Walker ever published appeared in AstronomyMagazine. At the time, he was working a lot of hours as the midnight shift supervisor at The Timken Company, a Canton, Ohio, factory that engineers and manufactures bearings and mechanical power transmission components.

“There was a hole in the middle of this building where they had a transformer that was open to the sky,” George says. “And I’d go out there at two in the morning, and I’d look up through these wires and cables and superstructure and watch Orion pass across the night sky. And I wrote this article about observing the stars amongst the smokestacks.”

No matter how ordinary the circumstances, George is regularly struck by the majesty and wonder of life, the way millions of colorful warblers gather at “a little spit of cottonwoods right on the edge of the lake” (Magee Marsh), as they have for millions of years, to rest and eat before their migration across Lake Erie. Or the way a medieval drawing found in an old monastery can inform his work through the understanding of geometry, even though he can’t read the text, as it’s written in Renaissance Italian or Spanish. Or the way he can now build a beautiful piece of furniture, without plans or a tape measure, using instead a stick, a piece of string and dividers.

Read more about George in our full profile.


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