I received my copy of this book yesterday, and I have already speed-read it twice. Now I can take my time, and leisurely absorb every concept and word I missed the first two times.
My verdict, in one word: Terrific! If you use hand tools, and you wonder how they were used 330 years ago, The Art of Joinery is a book you want in your woodworking library.
Christopher Schwarz does a brilliant job updating the text to something we can read in this century. Furthermore, his Commentary provides insight into Moxon’s explanations and thought. More importantly, Schwarz provides some insight where Moxon did not. For hand tool users, this book is a re-discovery of ‘stuff’ worked 330 years ago.
From the RSS feed:
… I decided I should get Moxon out of my system before I started wearing powdered wigs to work. So I’ve re-published Moxon’s sections on woodworking, which he calls “The Art of Joinery,” and I tried to make it accessible to a modern audience.
… This is not an academic work. It’s an attempt to make a very important woodworking book accessible to craftsmen today. So why should you read Moxon?
… Well if you are interested in hand work, it’s fascinating to see what the tool kit of the time was like and how it was used. I developed a deep respect for dividers after reading Moxon, and I find myself using them more in my work. It might make you rethink your sharpening lubricant. Or even how you use a block plane…
For me, personally, came the satisfaction to learn that it is OK to use the jointer plane “upon the traverse” (that is, cross-grain). That is exactly what I did when I flattened my workbench top. And that was the first time I used a hand plane for such a huge job. Thank-you, Joseph Moxon, and thank-you, Christopher Schwarz, for bringing this book into this century, and for making sure I was reassured in my technique.
One mental image remains: Christopher Schwarz in Berea, wearing a powdered wig.