Monday, June 1, 2009

Civil War Woodworking

"A hundred rifles rattle as they are simultaneously cocked and brought to the shoulder. I train my rifle on the man in the kerchief, waiting. The man is clearer now, exhausted from the heat and the trek up the hill. He doesn’t fire. None of the men advancing on us are firing. Yet." —A. J. Hamler, Civil War Woodworking

Ever since I read A. J. Hamler's article on Joe Cress in Woodwork Magazine (sadly, a discontinued publication), I've been hunting for books with decent images of campaign furniture and have found nothing, until now.

A. J. is finishing up his book "Civil War Woodworking" with a publication date of September 1, but you can preorder it on Amazon.

The book is geared toward amateur to moderately experienced woodworkers with easy projects, like a 5-board bench and hard tack crate, that are well within a beginner's reach. At least two projects are a bit trickier: an officer's folding camp chair and a pine field desk with simple joinery.

A.J. is planning a more advanced book as a follow-up to this one which will include projects with more complex construction.

A. J. spent extensive time researching and sleuthing, since there are so few photos and actual pieces of campaign furniture. For the officer's folding chair, he made paper and foam board prototypes to make sure all parts fit correctly, because estimating sizes and angles from old photos was challenging.

He explains how you can build these pieces authentically—and what it means to be "period-correct"—and provides other options if you are more of a Normite than a follower of St. Roy.

In addition to the projects, A. J. also explains the differences between hardcore and mainstream reenactors and those called "Farbs"— people in period attire who might be sporting a wristwatch and sunglasses while talking on a cell phone. He also includes cool photos of reenactors and 19th c. soldiers.

I've read a few excerpts and it's a great book. Well written • engaging • Civil War woodworking projects. What more could you ask for?

*All images are from A. J. Hamler's "Civil War Woodworking."