From Design & Theory to Construction & Use

This is a book I’ve been wanting to get my hands on for a while, and in the end I had to give up on Lost Art Press returning my correspondence (I was trying to buy a deluxe edition), and instead settled for the non-deluxe version from Booktopia (which is still hardback, and has everything except the accompanying CD).

Chris Schwarz is the editor of Popular Woodworking and Woodworking Magazine, and this is his first book, and it certainly sets the standard for his future publications!

Detailed with a collection of well shot black & white photos with titles such as “Benches are Boring” (for one where a drill is being used), “Walk the Dog” (not what you’d think, or even the second thing…) and “Look Ma, no Tenon Saw”, they are specifically descriptive while maintaining an informality or almost irreverence which is particularly appealing.

The book covers a wide variety of design choices, and their historical roots and for that alone it is a fascinating read, but what it delivers in spades is inspiration, and having a tomb that approaches each aspect of workbench design so you can come up with you own ultimate design, either sticking with one of the traditional designs, or stealing concepts from all over.

This is not a “how to” though – don’t get it expecting dimensions, purchasing lists, and a set of build instructions.  (Perhaps that is on the absent CD).  This is a study of the principles of workbench design and construction.

If anyone gets to talk to Chris, I’d be happy to pay the difference in price between the standard and deluxe versions of the book for a legitimate copy – I certainly didn’t choose the non-deluxe version by choice.

Back to the book – I haven’t begun absorbing all the content of it – and instead have been enjoying dipping in and out, reading across the range of topics, and starting to imagine the bench that is still currently shrouded in a slowly clearing mist.

2 Responses

  1. I built a new workbench after reading Schwarz’s book and found the book inspirational. I liked the idea of having each surface/plane as a clamping surface so built my workbench without an apron. I bought some heavy duty metal drawer slides and mounted these under the bench to house my 13inch planer. Another machine off the floor!


  2. I at the stage where I’m looking to build a workbench, so I’m keen to here your feedback on this book, and anyothers on building a workbench. Keep it coming.

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