Toolemera: New (Old) offerings from Fairham

I recently acquired two new books from the wonderful Toolemera Press. If you are not familiar with Gary Roberts, founder and proprietor, or his work resurrecting out of print ephemera of our historic craft, then you are truly missing out. Not only does Gary make available an amazing selection of free downloads from his site, but he also reprints books long lost from our view. Visit his site and you’ll thank me…

Toolemera has recently reprinted two such works from the noted author, teacher and craftsman William Fairham. Originally printed in 1920 by a British firm, these books are indeed rich with the English tradition of woodworking. (As a side note, i am so fond of the woodworking culture across the pond….our brothers never lost their respect and reverence for hand tools, as we so quickly did in the post war boom to expand. One need only observe the work and habits of Ian Kirby, David Charlesworth and Alan Peters to see this marked divergence in our trades)

Anyway, enough of my social commentary……So, these two newly reprinted works, ‘Hand Tools and How to Use Them’ and ‘Woodwork Joints’, are self-explanatory in their subject matter, but do not be fooled…these books are chock  full of useful and entertaining info.

I found the ‘Woodwork Tools’ text to be the much more entertaining of the pair, as I love reading about the use of traditional hand tools, and of course, saws in particular. The author covers a range of hand tools, in addition to the new-at-the-time stationary powered machinery one may have found in use in a turn of the century British cabinet shop. One such machine, the automatic scraping machine, was a complete revelation to me….fascinating! Any woodworker will find this book a great pleasure….I read it easily in a few sittings over the course of a week. I highly recommended it.

The second book, ‘Woodwork Joints’ is a much more technical presentation of, well, woodwork joints, and while not quite as light a reading given the detail, it is most definitely worth having. This is a book I see myself keeping handy next to my bench and referring to while drafting out a project. The work is vast in its review of all types of cabinet making and carpentry joints from half-laps and dovetails, to miters and puzzles. Each joint is discussed in detail with practical and period correct instruction on how to cut them and which tools to use. A must for the technically inclined craftsman who wants to finally tackle that secret miter dovetail joint on his next project.

On a final note, if you are more interested in the free downloads available at Toolemera, then I would recommend ‘The Story of the Saw’ published by Spear and Jackson fifty years ago…a wonderful historical perspective on saw developments from the dawn of tools through the modern age….

Also of note, my favorite old book on saws, ‘Handsaws: Their use, care and abuse…’ by Fred Hodgson…

Check them out….you can thank me later!

And of course, if you are interested in purchasing either of the Fairham books, they are available through Amazon…

Happy reading!


Published in: on November 6, 2010 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: