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By Peter Nicholson
“Mechanic’s Companion” is one of the foundational English-language texts in woodworking and the building trades. First published in 1812, "Mechanic's Companion" is an invaluable and thorough treatment of techniques, with 40 plates that provide an excellent and detailed look at the tools of the time, along with a straightforward chapter on the geometry instruction necessary to the building trades.
If you work with hand tools, you will find useful primary-source information on how to use the tools at the bench. That's because Nicholson – unlike other technical writers of the time – was a trained cabinetmaker, who later became an architect, prolific author and teacher. So he writes (and writes well) with the authority of experience and clarity on all things carpentry and joinery. For the other trades covered – bricklaying, masonry, slating, plastering, painting, smithing and turning – he relies on masters for solid information and relays it in easy-to-understand prose.
There are, of course, print-on-demand (POD) versions of this book available, but none do the text the justice it deserves. Unlike a POD book, the pages in this edition will stay intact for generations. The text is printed on acid-free paper in signatures. These signatures are sewn and reinforced with fiber tape. The interior is then wrapped in hardcover boards and cotton cloth. The book is produced entirely in the United States.
In addition to the high-quality manufacturing, this edition features pages that were individually hand-scanned, cleaned up digitally and at times repaired to improve legibility. It was a months-long process for Megan Fitzpatrick, who originally published this edition under her Rude Mechanicals Press imprint. Lost Art Press has agreed to take over publication and distribution of this important text so that it remains available for future generations.