The Joiner and Cabinet Maker
Download an excerpt from this book here.
By Anonymous, Christopher Schwarz and Joel Moskowitz
"The Joiner and Cabinet Maker" is a huge book – with more than 370 pages of detailed handtool instruction, including many processes that have not been covered before in the early woodworking literature. Though this sounds impossible, please read on.
Let's begin in 1839. In that year, an English publisher issued a small book on woodworking that has – until now – escaped detection by scholars, historians and woodworkers.
Titled "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker," this short book was written by an anonymous tradesman and tells the fictional tale of Thomas, a lad of 13 or 14 who is apprenticed to a rural shop that builds everything from built-ins to more elaborate veneered casework. The book was written to guide young people who might be considering a life in the joinery or cabinetmaking trades, and every page is filled with surprises.
Unlike other woodworking books of the time, "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker" focuses on how apprentices can obtain the basic skills needed to work in a hand-tool shop. It begins with Thomas tending the fire to keep the hide glue warm, and it details how he learns stock preparation, many forms of joinery and casework construction. It ends with Thomas building a veneered mahogany chest of drawers that is French polished. However, this is not a book for children. It is a book for anyone exploring hand-tool woodworking.
Thanks to this book, we can stop guessing at how some operations were performed by hand and read first-hand how joints were cut and casework was assembled in one rural England shop.
Even more delightful is that Thomas builds three projects during the course of his journey in the book, and there is enough detail in the text and illustrations to re-create these three projects just as they were built in 1839.
Here's what you'll find in our expanded edition of this book:
• A historical snapshot of early 19th-century England. Moskowitz, a book collector and avid history buff, explains what England was like at the time this book was written, including the state of the labor force and woodworking technology. This dip into the historical record will expand your enjoyment of Thomas's tale.
• The complete text of "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker," unabridged and unaltered. We present every word of the 1839 original (plus a chapter on so-called "modern tools" added in a later edition), with footnotes from Moskowitz that will help you understand the significance of the story.
• Chapters on the construction of the three projects from "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker." Schwarz built all three projects – a Packing Box, a dovetailed Schoolbox and a Chest of Drawers – using hand tools. The construction chapters in this new edition of "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker" show the operations in the book, explain details on construction and discuss the hand-tool methods that have arisen since this book was originally published.
• Complete construction drawings. Lost Art Press drafted all three projects in SketchUp to create detailed drawings and cutting lists for the modern woodworker. You can download those files here.
Like all Lost Art Press books, "The Joiner and Cabinet Maker" is hardbound, sewn, printed on quality paper and made entirely in the United States.
About the Audiobook
Hear Roy Underhill read the entire original text of "The Joiner & Cabinet Maker," the almost-lost 1839 text that tells the fictional story of young Thomas West’s apprenticeship in a rural English workshop.
The audiobook version of the book consists of the 1839 original text only. Lost Art Press was particularly pleased to get Roy to read the book for us. Not only is he a student of early trades, but Roy is also a long-time thespian, and he brought his many voice talents to the project.
As a result, the 215-minute audiobook version of “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” is a joy to listen to once you become accustomed to the early 19th-century way of explaining things. When you purchase the audiobook you’ll download a .zip file. Double-click the zip file and it will decompress into a folder filled with the tracks.