Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Great Book of Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture

Bob Lang has compiled three of his books—Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture, More Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture, and Shop Drawings for Craftsman Inlays & Hardware—into one impressive collection entitled Great Book of Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture.

Within the 328 black and white pages are drawings of 57 pieces of American furniture known as Craftsman, Arts & Crafts, and Mission. Original designs by Gustav Stickley and his associates are provided with detailed illustrations, exploded views, and cut lists.

Bob Lang has been studying and building Arts & Crafts furniture since the late 1970s. Working from photographs and catalog illustrations of original pieces, he has amassed a book of shop drawings for anyone who loves well designed, well structured, and well balanced furniture.

What is it that attracts us—woodworker and non-woodworker alike—to this style of furniture? Perhaps it's the practical, no frills nature. The designs are based on solid fundamentals, paring away the fancy portions of previous styles, revealing the beauty in simplicity and wood grain.

Maybe it's the comfort element, because Craftsman furniture surely is that.

Maybe it's the timeless quality of good taste, as Craftsman designs are at home in any home. The exposed joinery and minimalist features serve as decorative elements; an entire suite or one piece complement any room.

Or maybe the style represents something of our own nature: strength, stability, practicality, usefulness.

Bob provides a detailed history of Craftsman furniture, the Stickley Brothers, and the people, places, and trends that influenced their designs. Gustav Stickley was a ball of fire with his ideas and ideals and spent his career addressing the societal changes that affected people's lives. He sought to combat the loss of quality he saw not only in furniture, but in our living and working environments.

Bob talks about the material and hardware; offers sound advice about preparing lumber, allowing for wood movement, and woodworking techniques; and provides loads of information about the details that were used in Stickley pieces.

The project illustrations are simple and understandable, and the measurements are clearly labeled.

It's an interesting read from an historical aspect, as well as a mechanical one, and it's jam-packed with substantial information—no fluff, just like Arts & Crafts furniture.


Find out more about Bob's book and view the table of contents on his website.

You can buy the book from a number of sources, but purchasing it directly from the author makes a tremendous difference in his income.

I do not benefit in any way from the sale of Bob's books. I am purchasing my own copy. In the meantime, Bob sent me a pdf to review.