Gazette Archive 11/12/97
As an amateur woodworker for most of 20 years, it was exciting that I had the opportunity to review a new book on the market. The author, Dave Mackenzie, has presented a book to us that is refreshingly easy to read. Mr. Mackenzie is a graphic design artist, journalist, and a woodworker of 20 years. His experience has enabled him to craft a book that is clearly written with beautiful photos of his work. The style is typically British: 'Dave Mackenzie is married with two children and enjoys painting, walking, and twitching.' Twitching? Not sure, but I do that a lot when I cut an 18" wide black walnut panel.
The book begins with a brief description of the tools used to craft the projects. These are mostly hand tools and a few bench top power tools. No Unisaws or 66's here. This is followed by short a discussion of the properties of pine. He then describes the construction methods - rail and post, frame and panel, board and batten. Joinery mostly consists of hand cut dovetails, finger joints, mortise and tenon, dowels.
There are 12 projects in all: kitchen stool, gate-leg table, kitchen cupboard, kitchen work trolley, bed headboard, bedside cupboard, chest of drawers, blanket chest, computer desk, chair, desk drawer unit, bookcase. All the projects are unstained pine. All should be well within the capabilities of most woodworkers. The designs are simple and the style is straightforward and pleasing. Mr. Mackenzie uses tried and true joinery. The details of construction are clear and easy to follow. The photos are exceptional. The Chest of Drawers I found especially pleasing and a perfect project for my son' s dorm room at college.
The cutting lists and diagrams are well done but the drawings do not reference the cutting list. I guess I' m too accustomed to matching part A on the drawing with part A on the cutting list. Dimensions are listed in both English and Metric which I found a bit distracting. Some of the terms, again typically British: plinth, batten, rebate, and glasspaper might not be familiar to some woodworkers but offer no problems during construction. Actually I think they make the book more interesting.
If you like pine furniture this book is for you. In paperback, 8 x 11, quality paper, 120 pages, it lays open and is easy on the eyes. If you want to sharpen your use of hand tools and build something at the same time, get the book. But whether you use the hand tool methods described or drag out the ol' dovetail jig, biscuit joiner and fire up the 66, I think you will be pleased with the designs. It' s furniture that is to be used, not displayed. The price is right. Enjoy.
To learn more about books from - Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.