Vol. III of The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Joinery
You can download an excerpt of this book via this link.
The third book in our "The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years" series covers all types of woodwork joints, including how to design them, cut them and fix them when things go awry.
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of the book “Woodwork Joints” by Charles H. Hayward (1898-1998), which was first published in 1950 then reprinted many times and in several different editions of varying quality.
The compact 168-page book is beautifully illustrated by Hayward and contains the kind of spare prose that made him the best woodworking author of the 20th century. Like a good woodworking joint, Hayward’s text contains nothing superfluous and lacks nothing important to the task at hand.
So when we began planning this third volume of “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years,” we used the 1954 edition of “Woodwork Joints” – a 5-1/2” x 8-1/5” folio printed by Evans Bros. Limited – as our guiding light.
Every illustration from “Woodwork Joints” had appeared in The Woodworker magazine, where Hayward was editor from 1939 to 1967. So as we read every magazine issue from those years for our book, we marked and scanned every magazine article on joinery to make sure we captured everything that could have ended up in “Woodwork Joints.” We almost succeeded.
The good news is that our efforts have produced a book that covers nearly all of Hayward’s writing on joinery during the 28 years he was editor at The Woodworker. And because of the nature of the magazine format, we actually were able to plumb much deeper into the details of cutting and fitting joints to include things that never made it into “Woodwork Joints.”
For example, Hayward wrote 20 pages on dovetails in “Woodwork Joints.” This book has 90 pages on dovetails, and the pages are much bigger (8-1/2” x 11”) than the 1954 edition. As a result, you’ll find far more information on the secret mitre dovetail, stopped dovetailed housings, decorative dovetails and the double-lap dovetail. Plus details on how to correct faults in your joints, how to avoid crushing the end grain when chopping out and even a novel way to cut both the tails and pins simultaneously.
In addition to Hayward’s take on joinery, this volume also contains the perspective of other British writers of the day that Hayward published in The Woodworker, including J. Maynard, Robert Wearing, K.J.S. Walker and C.A. Hewett.
So where did we fail? Despite our best efforts to find them, this volume does not contain a couple short sections from “Woodwork Joints,” including hand-cut joints specifically for plywood and the use of metal fishplates with scarf joints.
Those faults aside, we think this volume is an admirable companion – if not a replacement – of “Woodwork Joints.” I hope this book becomes as ratty and thumbed-through as almost every copy of “Woodwork Joints” I’ve ever seen. That would be the best tribute ever to Hayward as his work continues to inspire the next generation of woodworkers.
You can download a complete (and searchable) list of the articles in Volumes 1-4 here.
And you'll find information on the other four book in the series at the links below:
Volume 1: Tools
Volume 2: Techniques
Volume 4: The Shop & Furniture
Volume 5: "Honest Labour: The Charles H. Hayward Years," an inspiring collection of Hayward's "Chips From the Chisel" columns.