Skip to main content

Woodshop Library

PLEASANT HILL SHAKER FURNITURE, by Kerry Pierce, is an elaborate description of the way life was in this once-thriving Kentucky village and how the restored Shaker community stands today. Pierce, who specializes in making Shaker-inspired work, offers about six furniture projects modeled off the Pleasant Hill collection, including a rocking chair with arms, a "Saturday" table, a hanging cupboard and more. Illustrations and hand-drawn diagrams serve as an outstanding visual reference for building the pieces. Pierce takes a unique approach by specifically describing how he made each one rather than giving direct how-to instructions. Of interest is how Pierce repeatedly points out the ingenious construction ideals of the Shakers, such as mortise and tenons joined with dowels in the creation of a large blanket chest. A professional furniture maker for over 30 years, Pierce is a regular instructor at the Marc Adams School in Indianapolis, teaching most often about Shaker-style chair making, and a frequent contributor to Woodshop News. The 176-page hardcover sells for $30. Contact: Popular Woodworking Books, F&W Publications Inc., 4700 E. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236. Tel: 800-448-0915.

PLANEMAKERS OF WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA AND ENVIRONS, by Charles W. Prine Jr., provides thoroughly researched insights into the lives of early 19th-century plane makers in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, America's first major inland industrial center. The book features more than 80 photographs of planes, along with numerous newspaper and directory ads, estate inventories, apprenticeship papers and patent drawings. Prine describes the roles these respected tradesmen played in their communities and how they competed with each other to dominate the market. Also included are brief histories of all of the Pittsburgh hardware firms that imprinted their marks on the planes they sold. Currently, the Prine Collection of Early Woodworking Planes is housed in a permanent exhibit in the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, located in downtown Pittsburgh. The 118-page softcover sells for $19.95. Contact: Astragal Press, P.O. Box 239, Mendham, NJ 07945. Tel: 973-543-3045.

BUILDING FURNITURE FOR COUNTRY LIVING, edited by Jim Stack, covers a broad range of techniques for 11 functional furniture projects referred to as "comfort" pieces, designed to add warmth and style to any home. Stack — along with furniture makers Thane Lorback, Dave Griessman, Kerry Pierce, Andy McCormick, Glen Huey and Bill Hylton —take readers from stock to finish. Projects include a corner wall cabinet, drop-leaf kitchen table, three-drawer dresser and more. Detailed captions accompany color photographs of the authors building the furniture. Measured drawings with complete cutting and hardware lists are included, along with more helpful suggestions in sections entitled "expanded steps." Unique to this project book are the finishing tips, which illustrate techniques such as producing an aged look on the entertainment center by sanding and applying shellac beforehand to better manipulate the paint. Contact: Popular Woodworking Books, F&W Publications Inc., 4700 E. Galbraith Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236. Tel: 800-448-0915.

WOODSHOP FOR KIDS, by Jack McKee, is a real treat for parents and grandparents who want to introduce woodworking to their little ones. Featuring 52 woodworking projects for children ages 4 to 12, McKee discusses how to safely work with basic hand tools. Projects range from simple (tops and puzzles) to the more advanced (boxes and boats). The book features photographs of projects actually made by children. The 210-page softcover sells for $21.95. McKee is also the author of Builder Boards, a short step-by-step instruction book including plans for building notched boards which can be fitted together in a number of ways for children to create take-apart playhouses. The 48-page softcover sells for $12.95. For both books, contact: Hands On Books, 1117 Lenora Court, Bellingham, WA 98225. Tel: 360-671-9079.

— Jennifer Hicks

Related Articles