THE RULE BOOK: MEASURING FOR THE TRADES by Jane and Mark Rees, focuses on the measuring tools used by tradesmen and professionals in their everyday work, on the trades in which specific tools were used, and how these tools were made and by whom.
It's intended to be used by collectors and researchers, explaining how the measuring devices were used and by placing them in a trade and social context. With extensive text, and copiously illustrated, it deals in detail with both their design and manufacture, and their application to the different trades and crafts. Jane Rees and her late husband Mark started work on this book 10 years ago. Jane has worked to complete this since Mark's passing in 2001. She and Mark were founding members of the Tools and Trades History Society and she is now a vice president of the society. Contact: Astragal Press, 8075 215th St. West, Lakeville, MN 55044. Tel: 866-543-3045. www.astragalpress.com
TREE CRAFT, by Chris Lubkemann, is a how-to book of 35 rustic wood projects that "bring the outdoors in." It's a book about sustainability, using found wood to craft mass-produced items like salt shakers and curtain rods. Lubkemann transforms a small twig into a key chain, slices a branch into coasters, and a downed limb into a coat rack. Not exactly high-end or difficult projects, but an excellent introduction to working wood, especially for the younger generation. Other projects include lamps, clocks and photo frames. The checker and croquet sets are better than anything you're likely to buy in a store. The 128-page softcover sells for $19.95. Contact: Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., 1970 Broad St., East Petersburg, PA 17520. Tel: 800-457-9112. www.foxchapelpublishing.com
CIRCULAR WORK IN CARPENTRY AND JOINERY, by George Collings, is a look back at how it was done in the late 19th century. This book is not new - it was originally published in 1886 and reprinted with additions in 1992 - but the subject matter might be new to the contemporary woodworker. Although the book requires a better-than-average understanding of geometry, it revives the necessary skills and techniques for circular woodwork and offers a peek at some of the finer levels of design in the Victorian vernacular. It covers circular work of both single and double curvature. The 130-page softcover sells for $21.95. Contact: Linden Publishing, Inc., 2006 South Mary, Fresno, CA 93721. Tel: 800-345-4447. www.woodworkerslibrary.com
BENCHES, CHAIRS & BEDS, from the Best of Woodworkers Journal, features a collection of functional furniture projects for woodworkers who love to create home furnishings both beautiful and sensible. It features 18 practical projects in a variety of furniture styles from Shaker to contemporary, from classic American Adirondack to English garden. The projects include a handy bench that doubles as a storage chest, a step stool that converts to a comfy kitchen seat, and a fold-down bed that features a drop-leaf desk. Fully illustrated, the book includes comprehensive material lists, step-by-step instructions, detailed technical and exploded drawings, and helpful tips. The 152-page softcover sells for $19.95. Contact: Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., 1970 Broad St., East Petersburg, PA 17520. Tel: 800-457-9112. www.foxchapelpublishing.com
This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue.