Woodworker's manuals 1901 to 1910

What follows immediately below are preliminary remarks designed to highlight matters that I have discovered in beginning a survey of woodworking manuals published over a period of three centuries.

Why survey three centuries of woodworking manuals? The main focus of my study is the 20th century, but since woodworking manuals published in the 18th century remain popular among certain amateur woodworkers today, I believe that I need to explore approaches that allows you to visualize the context in which these "original" woodworking manuals were published, and thus may be able to sense their significance as timeless artifacts.

My first convictions about woodworking manuals is that the intent of their authors of these is to instruct and to inspire.

The "to instruct" -- the "how-to-do-it" function -- is obvious. Potential woodworkers need guidance, and guidance comes best from other woodworkers' experience.

The "to inspire" part may not be obvious to beginners, of course, but finding any evidence of attempts toward inspiration is usually not difficult, especially if you read the introduction to a woodworking manual.

For example, read the introduction to the 1946 woodworker's manual, How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools, published by Popular Science.

This manual is the source of the term, "Skill Hunger". What is "skill hunger?" For the editors of the woodworker's manual, How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools, skill hunger concerns "How the Hammer, Saw and Try-Square Can Satisfy the Urge to Make Things". Read more on this term by clicking on this hyperlink.

In comparison, how does this 1946, How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools, manual stand up in promoting use of power tools over competitive manuals?

I checked this matter by doing a survey of woodworking manuals published between 1941 and 1950 in the Worldcat bibliographic database

(Worldcat, the world's largest bibliographic database of books, periodicals, publications of governments, etc, etc., currently contains records for over 50 million items.)

For How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools, Worldcat registers only 17 copies in libraries worldwide -- telling us that libraries did not perceive this title as a "keeper", meaning that we can't use library holdings as an indicator of the impact of this manual on the amateur woodworking movement in the '40s.

(Since How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools is over 50 years old, and has been "replaced" by numerous other more up-to-date manuals, most public libraries could have "discarded" their copies for more recently published books.

(By discard, do not think the trash can; instead, it is more likely that the book was offered for sale at one of the book sales public libraries conduct annually. As a rule, public libraries -- unlike college libraries -- do not consider themselves "last copy" repositories. However, while this assumption may be soundly based, it is still only speculation.)

Worldcat registers that in 1946, 35 volumes were published, and for the decade, i.e., from 1941-1950, 206 volumes were published that libraries classified as woodworking manuals. So, with these figures, we can conclude that the How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools volume had much competition, especially in a nation occupied by a war.

How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools was, however, indexed in the Index to Handicrafts,  Modelmaking  and Workshop Projects, 2d supplement, 1950. This is one volume in a series of five volumes, published between 1943 and 1975. These volumes were purchased widely by public libraries, because their contents are indexes the internal contents of manuals. Pages of The Index to Handicrafts where certain "how-to" plans are accessible: for example, the following entry shows that you can find:

"Mortising and shaping on the drill press". In How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools, pp. 91-95.

The Index to Handicrafts began as an in-house file of hand-written 3 x5 inch library cards in the Pittsburgh Public Library. Click on this link for an online example of how a public library lists these volumes.

How to get the most out of your home workshop hand and power tools is still in the Index to Handicrafts,  Modelmaking  and Workshop Projects volume, but the manual itself -- probably because in public libraries it is considered outdated -- has been removed from the shelves of many public libraries.


Chronological List of Woodworking Manuals and Periodicals 1901-1910


W.F.M. Goss, Bench Work in Wood A course of study and practice designed for the use of schools and colleges161 pp. Reprinted in 1997 by the Midwest Tool Collectors Association.


Amateur Work Boston: F.A. Draper, Publisher Vol. 1, no. 1 (Nov. 1901)-v. 6, no. 6 (Apr. 1907) 6 volumes.

I have photocopies of a substantial number of the pages of this impressive monthly periodical. (My library obtained another library's microfilmed version.)

Is Amateur Work patterned on the London-based periodical, Work?

A resemblance between these two periodicals exists, but I have not yet investigated the possibility of such a connection.


Paul NooncreeHasluck, ed. The Handyman's Book of Tools, Materials and Processes Employed in Working Wood London, New York: Cassell, 1903.  viii, 760 p. illus. 24 cm.

Hasluck, a prolific writer -- the Worldcat bibliographic database records over 400 "hits" from his pen -- compiled material from the London-based weekly, Work, that he edited between 1889 to 1893. (Hasluck's co-editor was Francis Chilton-Young.) Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA,reprinted unchanged this 1903 edition.

(The subtitle of Work explains much about the concerns of that periodical: Work: an illustrated magazine of practice and theory for all workmen, professional and amateur. For hand tool woodworkers, it is a volume packed with timeless info about tools, techniques, and projects. What seems unusual is that Hasluck does not include the material about electricity, especially the growing interest in electric motors that became a more and more frequent feature of the pages via letters from readers of Work.)


Paul Nooncree Hasluck Wood-Working a Book of Tools, Materials, and Processes for the Handyman, With

2,545 Illustrations and Working Drawings. Cassell, 1905. Black-&-white illustrations. (This book was reprinted by Senate, an imprint of Tiger Books International, in 1998, with the title, The Handyman's Book.)

The box directly below reprints Hasluck's "Preface" and other items in the book.


WOOD-WORKING is a practical work on practical handicraft in wood, and it is published in the confident belief that it is by far the most exhaustive book on the subject hitherto produced.

The book is intended for all those who would handle tools, and who, by the use of them, wish to furnish the, home and to profit their pockets. The treatment adopted throughout is simple and practical, and there has been a consistent endeavour to combine accurate information with clear and definite instruction, anything that did not further this object having been excluded.

The amateur's restricted requirements have been carefully studied; still the contents make a direct appeal to the professional craftsman in carpentry, joinery, and cabinet work, to whom this book will be invaluable for ready reference, containing as it does a large and varied collection of workmanlike designs for a multitude of "articles of use in the homestead, garden, workshop, office, and home.

This book will be found especially useful to colonists and persons in out-of-the-way places, as it teems with practical hints and details that must be of the utmost worth to those whose very existence often depends on their ability to use woodworking tools.

Woodworkers'tools, materials, and processes are treated of in a manner that is both simple and explicit. The seven chapters on tools are in themselves a comprehensive treatise in which the shape, construction, manipulation, care and maintenance of all approved hand tools used in present-day woodworking are profitably discussed and described and clearly illustrated. The processes explained include all the more general operations of setting out work, cutting, planing, sawing, boring, jointing, etc., as well as some that are more special in character, such as turning and veneering, and in every case the process is explained step by step, plain instruction being rendered the more explicit by the lavish use of illustrations.

Mere amateurism and faddishness have been avoided.

The tools and processes described are those found in daily use in the workshop. The expert and well-informed reader will, of course, make due allowance for the great variations of trade practice in different localities. Throughout this book actual practice is recorded, and mere discussion of theory has been excluded, except where it is an essential preliminary to understanding the principles underlying a method, a process, or the action of a tool. The examples of construction have been adapted from existing articles, and the columns of WORK and BUILDING WORLD, two weekly journals it is my fortune to edit, have been drawn on freely. In most cases, the method of doing the work is described by the actual maker, who often is the designer as well; but the matter has been, where though desirable, re-arranged, altered, and in some cases re-written, in accordance with the general plan of the book and with the endeavour to present the information in the clearest possible manner, and to adopt a simple and consistent style throughout.

Wood is the material chiefly used in the construction of the articles described in this book, and the section relating to it exhausts the subject as far as it is of practical interest to the handicraft woodworker. Enough of botany is introduced to make intelligible the process of seasoning; converting is sufficiently explained; and, to assist the inexperienced person in judging and selecting wood, the many varieties of commercial timber are plainly described.

The thousand and one examples of woodwork, here treated where necessary in minute detail, are arranged as far as possible so as to form a graded course, ranging in domestic furniture from a simple paste-board to a chiffonier or bedstead, in office furniture from a paper rack to a pedestal, and in homestead and garden appurtenances from a chicken-run to a greenhouse.

Chapters on outdoor rustic carpentry, gates, rough fencing, etc., are also given; and the wide range indicated affords ample scope for a most extensive variety of examples in practical handicraft in wood.

The book contains more than 2,500 illustrations, many of which have been specially photographed by myself.

Neither trouble nor expense has been spared in making them really helpful, and an examination of the pages will show their value. Fully two-thirds of their number portray in detail articles that can be made by the handyman who has systematically pursued the graded course of study set out in this book.

Of the remaining illustrations, more than 500 show woodworkers' tools and appliances; and in this connection special acknowledgment must be made to Messrs Marples & Sons, Sheffield; Messrs Melhuish, Sons & Co., London; Messrs. C. Nurse & Co., London; Messrs. Chas. Churchill & Co., Ltd., London; Mr. H. Hobday, Chatham; Messrs. O'Brien, Thomas & Co., London; and Messrs. Spear & Jackson, Sheffield, for their great help in kindly having lent electrotypes illustrating modern tools of approved design.

The eighteen-page index, containing between 3,000 and 4,000 entries, affords a means by which readers can easily find any item of information contained in the book.




GEOMETRICAL TOOLS (78 Illustrations)  4
HOLDING TOOLS (51 Illustrations) -       21 

PARING AND SHAVING TOOLS (84 Illustrations)       35

HAND SAWS (108 Illustrations)     59 

TOOLS OF PERCUSSION AND IMPULSE (38 Illustrations)    87

BORING TOOLS (51 Illustrations) . 101 

ABRADING AND SCRAPING TOOLS (40 Illustrations) 114

NAILS, SCREWS, AND GLUE (44 Illustrations)  129

(45 Illustrations)       

JOINTS (184 Illustrations)    181

EASY EXAMPLES of WOODWORK (121 Illustrations)  227 

WORKSHOP FURNITURE (104 Illustrations)     257 

FITTING LOCKS AND HINGES (73 Illustrations)        291 

HOUSES, RUNS AND COOPS FOR POULTRY (50 Illustrations)      309 

ACCESSORIES FOR YARD AND GARDEN (174 Illustrations) 324 

GATES AND DOUGH FENCING (56 Illustrations)        369 


GARDEN SEATS (17 Illustrations).  402 

RUSTIC CARPENTRY (43 Illustrations) .  407 

SHEDS, TOOL HOUSES, AND WORKSHOPS (36 Illustrations) .    423


LATHES, TURNING AND TURNERY (144 Illustrations) 454 

VENEERING (11 Illustrations)        491 

OFFICE, LIBRARY, AND STUDY FURNITURE (97 Illustrations)     498 

KITCHEN FURNITURE (135 Illustrations) 553 

HALL FURNITURE (66 Illustrations)        589 

BEDROOM FURNITURE (215 Illustrations)      605 

DINING ROOM FURNITURE (91 Illustrations)   660 

DRAWING ROOM FURNITURE (168 Illustrations)


WOOD-WORKING is intended to treat fully upon mechanical handicraft, to show what to do and how to do it, to include the tools, materials, and processes, and to be supplemented with a full selection of varied examples of work. The tools will be de-scribed and illustrated, and their peculiar features and adaptability will be discussed. The materials will be examined and the characteristics of different varieties will be mentioned, . and_ the suitability of each explained. The processes incidental to woodworking, such as preparing stuff, setting out work, making joints, etc., will be detailed. Specimens of handicraft work in wood will be minutely portrayed in working drawings, beginning with simple work involving but slight skill to execute, and advancing to complex work developing the highest dexterity. The contents of the book range from the rudimentary teaching that will show the tyro how to hold tools to the construction of high-class examples that will interest the adept craftsman.


A tool may be considered to be any implement used for performing or facilitating mechanical operations, or for enabling man to change the form of material, but perhaps the second definition is too restrictive, and if it is adopted, certain so-called tools will be found to be mere contrivances. According to it a chisel or a hammer is a tool; but the boxing of a chisel or plane and the handle of a hammer are contrivances, for by them the modes of application and the power of the tools are extended and varied; and according to the second definition, a vice, a soldering bit, a nail, a square are not tools, but "contrivances" only. This is the opinion of Mr. A. Rigg, M.A., as expressed in [the 1881] Cantor Lectures delivered before the Society of Arts. According to the lecturer, it is hardly possible to draw a distinction between tool and a machine. Whilst the former is more simple than the latter, they so merge into one another that it is difficult to determine where one ends and the other begins. For example, a lathe is a handicraft tool, and yet in its highly developed form it is a very complicated machine. It was one of the earliest devices to be erased from the list of tools and promoted to a place amongst machines.


It may be said that tools increase and vary human power, economise human time, and convert substances apparently the most common and worthless into valuable and useful products. Without tools the hand would be nearly powerless; add to it a hammer and a cutting instrument, and its capacity is increased many fold. Rollers as a means of moving heavy blocks of stone were a contrivance which very largely ex-tended the powers of men ; the application of grease to bearings and surfaces enabled man to utilise a much larger portion of his power ; whoever first pointed a strip of bone or shell, and made an eye in it, gave to man as a tool an invention far exceeding in importance and value anything yet accomplished by heat or electricity ; and who-ever first applied a barb to a spear and a hook, introduced a contrivance of inestimable importance. 


Aristotle (384—322 B.C.) made the first known attempt at determining the place which man should occupy in a general zoological classification. He selected as the distinguishing characteristic of man, regarded for this purpose alone, that man was " a tool-making .animal," and he could not find any other group of animals who made special implements and used them as man does tools. This view of man is accepted generally, and in recent times the inferences from it are wider and more extended than Aristotle could have anticipated, antiquarians now admitting that wherever on the earth tools are found, there men must once have dwelt. The first traces of tools are said to be met with in the post-tertiary strata, and the inference is that man's existence may be placed so far back that centuries seem insignificant periods of time. Sir Charles Lyell speculates that at least two hundred thousand years have passed since. implements were formed ; these implements are found in the respective geological strata, not in isolation, but in groups which are silent evidences of facts long precedent to all human traditions. History, at all reliable, written in a known language, and in intelligible alphabetical characters, does not carry further back than the days of Herodotus ("the father of history "), born between 490 and 480 B.C. In a scheme of geological strata, the strata found above the tertiary are divided into three classes—the post-glacial, prehistoric, and historic ; in the post-glacial there are not any traces of handicraft work ; in the prehistoric, there are found remains of canoes made of trees, of dwellings erected on, piles, implements made of flint and stone, and fragments of charred wood. For the present purpose these are three"ages'': in the first one tools were of stone, and this is again subdivided into two periods, the palaeolithic or ancient stone period, when the stone tools were left with rude and rough exteriors, and the neolithie or recent., when there was somewhat of an external finish or polish on the tools. In the second age bronze tools are found, and also those of pure copper, these latter tools being so rare that they are comprehended in the term bronze. In the third age tools are of iron, and form an introduction to the present age. These ages are not markedly distinct, and it is probable that whilst in one part of, the world men were using bronze, in another they were using iron. It, is known that in times to which even geologists might hesitate to apply the term "re-cent," the smelting of copper and of tin was known, and the combining of these metals to form a bronze as hard as any made and used at the present time was also practised. An analysis of these ancient bronze implements shows that the copper is alloyed with from 5 to 10 per cent. of tin. Analysis of Egyptian bronze implements gives 94'0 copper, 5.9 tin, and 01 iron.


Another source of information materially helps in supplying inferential, if not actual, knowledge with regard to the first formed tools. The traditions and customs of a people are preserved and repeated, generation after generation, by savage and isolated races of men. Hence amongst savage -tribes and roving barbarians may be found at this day tools altogether different in form from those amongst civilised people. Such tools may be, and probably are, derived from ancestors of geological antiquity. In the Pacific Islands, in North America, Australia, Africa, and elsewhere, there are races who know not the use of metals, and whose implements correspond exactly with those found mixed with the fossil remains of extinct animals. Herodotus mentions that flint knives were used in Egypt in embalming, and such knives are found in the tombs, and were employed long after bronze and other metals were general. There is thus a '

connection between the tools used in pre-historic times and those of savage races. The handicraft contrivances and skill of the untutored are not to be despised, and much is owing to uneducated men of clear though-, cunning resource, singular ingenuity, and much handicraft skill. It is well known that even in our own times the earliest germs of many most important inventions and discoveries have their origin in the suggestions of hard-working but illiterate artisans.


 To pass from the earliest suggestions of bronze implements to the first unquestionable period of metal tools, the forms and modes of using which are so clearly shown pictorially, Egyptian history must be considered. The paintings and sculptures of ancient Egypt and Herculaneum show very clearly the tools which were then in use, and an amazing amount of information has thus been preserved. The subject cannot be pone into here, but it may be said that the tools and contrivances used in the building of the early pyramids axe not known. The erection of these early pyramids is placed about 2120 B.C., that is about a century before Abraham arrived in Egypt, and (1902 + 2120) 4,022 years ago. There are no hieroglyphics on these, and they do not carry their history as the tombs do. In a tomb at Thebes have been found a case of tools and a tool basket, belonging to a. cabinet maker, these now being in the British Museum; the tools, etc. are : Bass of palm fibres, neatly plaited with cover; bell-shaped wooden mallets or hammers,such as are used by masons at the present day ; bronze nails ; a, skin pouch for holding small tools and nails ; a horn for oil for sharpening tools, such as now is used in a country wheelwright's shop ; drill bow, drill spindle, and drill cap ; chisels ; hatchet heads ; adzes, knives, and chisels with wooden handles. On one bronze hatchet, and one bronze adze, and one bronze saw is the name Thothmes III. of eighteenth dynasty, 1453 B.C. These therefore were in use (1902 + 1450) 3,352 years ago. And on other blades of axes is the name of Ata, an officer in the time of the sixth dynasty. In addition to these, the Egyptian cabinet maker had in his bass rasps, a plummet, and a hone. Sufficient has now been said, it is thought, to convince the reader of the antiquity of many commonly used tools.


Tools may be classed according to their functions and modes of action, as follows:

(1) Geometrical tools for laying off and testing work : such tools are rules, straight-edges, gauges, etc. 

(2) Tools for holding and supporting worm : such tools are benches, vices, spools, etc. 

(3) Paring or shaving tools, such as chisels, spokeshaves; planes, etc. 

(4) Saws. ,

(5) Percussion or impelling tools, such as hammers, mallets, screwdrivers and (combined with cutting) hatchets, axes, adzes, etc. 

(6) Boring tools, such as gimlets, brace-bits, etc. 

(7) Abrading and scraping tools, such as rasps, scrapers, glasspaper, and implements such as whetstones, etc., for sharpening edged tools. 

These tools and their functions will be described in much the same order as the above.


Samuel E. Ritchey, High school manual training course in woodwork; including cost of equipment and supplies and studies on trees and wood New York : American Book Company, 1905. 222 pages.

1. Realities to Keep in Mind

Signs of robust, nation-wide, industrial arts/manual training programs, are not good. Because the rate of "school completion" is so abysmal -- i.e., sky-high high school drop-out rates [link] manual arts programs have moved down to elementary school levels. And, the training of industrial arts teachers is a delicate problem. Why? Teachers with cabinetmaking experience are not trained in "teaching", and teachers without cabinet-making expereince are not good at teaching cabinetmaking.

In his manual, under the heading "HELPFUL SUGGESTIONS", pages 207-210, Ritchey offers the prospective "manual training" teacher some advice. Included is this warning under "Motors and Machinery", on pages 207-208:

If the manual training room is not too large, and there is no occasion for long shafting, the machines may be driven by directly connected motors, though this method has its disadvantages; the machines do not start so easily or quickly as those having a loose and tight pulley, and in the case of the band saw the instructor must start the electrically driven saw every time, or let it run continuously, as the younger pupils cannot be trusted to do this; while the saw with the old-fashioned tight and loose pulley, with its shifting lever, may be started and stopped by any one at will.

A pony planer or single surfacer is almost a necessity for the use of teachers in getting out material. There is nothing but manual labor for the pupil in planing a one-inch-thick board of hard wood—oak or sycamore -- down to a half-inch or less, especially since the pupil has received many weeks' training in planing true surfaces in carpentry before beginning cabinet work.

The circular saw is of course part of the equipment for the use of teachers only.

The band saw and scroll saws are perfectly safe for the pupils to use, and their educational value as tools beyond question, -- their simple mechanical construction and the association of the pupil with such simple power-driven machines --the necessity of curved work in the course, -- in cabinet making and pattern making, -- and the training in following the marked curved and straight lines with the saw....

2. From a review of Ritchey's manual by William T Bawden

In Manual Training Magazine 8 1906, page 121:

Elementary Woodwork. By Frank H. Selden, University of Chicago. Rand McNally & Company, 1906, pp. 206, over 200 illustrations; price $1.00

High School Manual Training Course in Woodwork. By Samuel E. Ritchey, Crane Manual Training High School, Chicago. American Book Company, 1906, pp. 223, 372 illustrations; price $1.50.

These two books differ in scope and in the quantity of details presented and yet have enough in common to warrant their being reviewed together. Each is the result of an attempt by the author, a shop teacher, to commit to written and illustrated pages the subject-matter of the course he wishes his pupils to accomplish. Each attempts by means of text and illustration to set before the pupil correct tool practice in a few selected exercises in woodwork. These books do not represent the first attempts of their kind, consequently one does not expect to find subject-matter wholly new. Either book may be used to advantage as a reference text by the teacher who does not care to follow the course as outlined.

Mr. Selden's book devotes seven pages to an introduction, then ninety-seven pages to Part I., consisting of twenty-seven lessons on such exercises as: bench-hook, halved corner, dovetail, mortise-and-tenon joint, etc. The first five lessons, sixteen pages, with sixteen half-tone reproductions of photographs showing positions of hands, tools, etc., are as follows: Truing the first suiface of a piece of wood, planing an edge at right angles to a surface, use of gage, finishing the third side, and finishing the fourth side. Part II. contains fifteen supplementary lessons, thirty-five pages, on: Getting out stock, dowel joint, glue joint, etc. Part III. contains seventy pages of descriptions of tools and their uses and various materials used in the shop. Most of the photographic reproductions are well executed and illustrate clearly the points they are intended to; the working drawings are moderately well done -- not the best we have seen by any means; the printing and general make-up are very good.

Mr. Ritchey's book opens with a chapter on equipment, giving a detailed list of high school equipment with prices and supplies for one year for seventy-two pupils.

Chapter two is an outline or syllabus of the course in shopwork for the first year of the high school as elaborated in the book. Then follow two chapters, twenty pages, dealing with trees and their leaf and fruit forms, and the properties of wood. The chapter on Carpentry describes the tools used, their care, use, adjustment, and sharpening. The first exercise is a book-rack with rectangular uprights gained into the bottom 11 in. deep and screwed. Other exercises are: box, hat-rack, and a series of joints. Thirty-three pages are next devoted to a very successful presentation of the fundamental exercises in wood-turning, followed by several projects. The chapter on cabinet-making, fifty-four pages, takes up a number of problems in construction: boxes, taborets, hand mirrors, frames, etc. Some of the designs are certain to be criticized as being too mechanical. In this chapter are presented several projects in which a horizontal member pierces a vertical member with a wedged mortise and-tenon joint.

"The bottom shelf may be tenoned and driven thru mortises in the end pieces and wedged; or it may be cut the exact length between end pieces, and screwed on with flat-headed screws through the ends. The projecting ends and wedges are then made separately, and glued and nailed on. This is the usual way of making 'Old Mission' furniture, with projecting tenons and wedges."
This sort of teaching will hardly find favor in the eyes of the readers of this Magazine. Your true craftsman will not want to hand this chapter to his boys until he has "glued" together pages 140-147.


[The reviewer, William T. Bawden-- an editor of Manual Training Magazine -- rightly, I think, objects to the idea of "decoration", i.e., exposed tenons that are "purely decorative, and not functional", that such an idea gives the learner the wrong set of values. A year earlier, in Manual Training Magazine, a professional colleague, Fred D. Crawshaw, had this to say about needless decoration:

anything that has the appearance of being put on instead of being a part of the object, should be carefully considered with reference to the artistic and esthetic standard of the whole piece. Too often a good design, well constructed, is cheapened by the attempt to decorate.

In just a few words may we not now sum up the requirements of a good piece of furniture:

First of all we will have a particular use for what we are going to design, and this use will determine for us the material of construction.

Then we will decide upon our general lines and proportions, being governed in doing so by three or four recognized principles in design.

We will see to it that good construction is used, and, if possible, make this construction a help to decorate our piece. Last, but not least, we will finish in such a way as to preserve the texture of the wood and give it a soft, rich color that will add to the beauty of the whole...

Source: Fred D Crawshaw, "Furniture Design", Manual Training Magazine 7 April 1905, page 137.]


The last two chapters, forty-four pages, deal with methods of molding, and pattern-making, respectively. Each chapter of the book is followed by a set of suggestive test questions, and at the close of the book are thirteen pages of indexes, making all of the material easily available. The working drawings are usually clear and fairly well executed though in almost all of them the lettering could be improved to advantage. The freehand sketches are not as good as some we have seen in recent publications of this class.

William T. Bawden.
Illinois State Normal University.

3. A Note of Pessimism

And, finally, in a 1905 address (source below), the noted Arts and Crafts architect, William T Price, voices his dissatisfaction with the quality of student cabinet-makers being turned out by the schools who teach manual education:

... By the end of the nineteenth century, in the city where such brilliant eighteenth-century craftsmen as William Savery and Thomas Affleck had made Philadelphia furniture synonymous with the highest quality in the nation, and where, after the Civil War, Daniel Pabst had produced remarkable custom furniture and paneling for Frank Furness, it had become nearly impossible to find cabinetmakers skilled in all the aspects of their craft. In only one generation of labor specialization, Philadelphia workshops had been so transformed that Price could scarcely find even a two- or three-man workforce for his shops. In 1904, in a talk about the value of manual training courses in public schools, Will recalled his difficulty in finding workers for Rose Valley.

A couple of years ago, some of us tried to start some little shops at Rose Valley. I went to one of the oldest and best cabinet makers in the city of Philadelphia and asked him if he could get me two or three good, all-round cabinet makers. He said, "Well, I think I could get you two." That is, only two in a city of over a million people. I said: "I want young men." "Oh!" he exclaimed, "these men are so old they will probably die before you get them out there." He added: "You cannot find a young cabinet maker because there is no use for him. I can get you a good dowel sticker, or a good man on the lathe or mortise machine, but there is no such thing as a cabinet maker in the cabinet making shop." That is of course not absolutely true; but nearly all of the good men are foreigners; very few of them are Americans. That is the situation in one of the most simple, direct and important of the crafts left to us."19 [fn 19 refers William L. Price's, "The Attitude of Manual Training to the Arts and Crafts," Proceedings of the Eastern Manual Training Association (Philadelphia: Eastern Manual Training Association, 1905), 16.]

Not only was it hard to find craftsmen who were absorbed in their work but, as Price observed further in the talk, there were significant social consequences to be considered. A nation of "button pushers" could not long remain a republic, and while industries based on such systems might make goods profitably, Price warned that "it does not make character; and you cannot get character as a by-product of such labor."[20. Price, "The Attitude of Manual Training," 16-17.] In the suburbs of Philadelphia where William Sellers' standardization had become the watchword of the regional economy and where Frederick Winslow Taylor had transformed work from traditional craft to modern industrial production, Price took on the moral issue of the effect of production methods on character using Rose Valley as practical laboratory experiment and philosophical allegory.

Source: George E Thomas, Arts and Crafts to Modern Design New York: Princeton Architectual Press, 2000, pages 85-86



Paul Nooncree Hasluck, ed. Cabinetwork And Joinery, Comprising Designs And Details of Construction With 2,021 Working Drawings and Twelve Colored Plates. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1908.

568 pages.




CABINETWORK AND JOINERY is a natural outcome of, and sequel to, CASSELL'S CARPENTRY AND JOINERY, with which work it is uniform in style and price. Whilst the chief object of that work was to explain constructive principles adopted in the related crafts of carpentry and joinery, the present purpose is to give some hundreds of examples showing further how these principles are applied in everyday practice.

The reader is here assumed to be acquainted with hand tools and appli­ances—their shapes, care, and uses; with timber—its qualities, varieties, and selection ; with the different forms of joints and their adaptability to various conditions ; with the setting out of work—including the preparation of rods; and with the principles of construction in woodwork; all these matters are fully dealt with in WOODWORKING and in CARPENTRY AND JOINERY, the earlier volumes in this series.
The present book devotes but little space to the rudiments of cabinetwork and joinery, but makes a direct and imme­diate appeal to the constructive instinct of the craftsman by presenting him with an extensive and varied range of designs of completed articles, accom­panied by full explanatory notes. No less than 250 different designs with details are included in this book, the illustrations numbering 2,021 in all.

 In almost every case the objects here illustrated have been made by their designers, who also contributed the original drawings and descriptions either to WORK or to BUILDING WORLD, and it is from the columns of those two weekly journals that this volume has been compiled. The thoroughly practical character of the work is thus assured, the contributors including the foremost master-craftsmen of the day.

 Emphasis is laid on the fact that the book is concerned with actual practice only. In every case the designs are workmanlike, and the host of detail illustrations—of which this book certainly contains more than any other of its kind, if any other exists—will be welcomed by all craftsmen who seek for thoroughness and sound constructional practice.



Louise Brigham Box FurnitureNew York, The Century co., 1909.

This book combines the Aesthetic movement, American Arts and Crafts and Mission styles, in other words, "a very early use of the modular concept in furniture design."


Gustav Stickley Craftsman Homes: architecture and furnishings of the American arts and crafts movement.New York: Craftsman, 1909. Reprinted by Dover, 1979.

This link leads to an online version of Craftsman Homes. Stickley, especially through his monthly magazine, The Craftsman, played/plays a dynamic role in promoting amateur woodworkers in America for more click on this link.



1910: Fred T Hodgson (also Frederick Thomas Hodgson). The practical cabinet maker and furniture designer's assistant, with essays on history of furniture, taste in design, color and materials, with full explanation of the canons of good taste in furniture ...1 p. l., 9-372 p. front., illus. 20 cm. Chicago, F.J. Drake & Co.


1910:  [H H Windsor] Popular Mechanics. Mission Furniture, How to Make it ( Parts one,  two, three complete.) 342 pages. A Dover reprint 1980.


1910: George Adolph Raeth. Home Furniture Making, for amateur wood workers, manual training schools and students; Containing Clear Detailed Drawings and Perspective Drawings of All Examples Presented. Chicago : F J Drake, 1910. 244 pp. scan of pages on opd.


1910: Albert G. Glidden. Handmade Furniture and How to Make It. Spokane: Hand Made Furniture Shop, 1910. 62 pages. 

In several ways, a mysterious book. Glidden evidently originated the Glidden Paint Company, but not in Spokane, Washington.

Glidden Paint is a Cleveland, Ohio, firm. Nonetheless, this is truly a work by a woodworker passionate about the craft and passionate about engaging others in woodworking. My copy is both rare and fragile -- I was lucky to find it for sale -- but now, uploaded on the Internet, it can be enjoyed by everyone. Glidden's focus is entirely Arts-and-Crafts designs, including the icon of the era, the Morris chair. Richly isslustrated with pen-and-ink drawings, and dimenstions are included.