|Well, it's certainly the biggest! There are some really great books on tools already, but the new book "Antique Woodworking Tools" by David R. Russell blew me away. |
I bought my copy because I buy everything on tool collecting and I figured for the outrageous price of £90 (about $160) plus shipping from England I would be getting a privately printed book about Russell's tool collection with a few pictures of some really cool tools in his collection.
What I actually got was a hard bound book of 528 pages, 935 photographs of groups of some of the most amazing tools ever assembled in one place starting with the neolithic and continuing onwards. The book is also way oversized about 10" x 14" and a couple of inches thick so you really get your money's worth.
The book is a carefully documented photographic record of Russell's tool collection. What he has is incredible. The section on Norris alone would be worthy of a separate book. Photos of the most comprehensive collection of Norris's I have ever seen complete with probable dates, logos, including a whole bunch of models that never previously appeared in any of the printed Norris material.
And that's just one chapter.
As I said the book is a document of Russell's tool collection. What he didn't have, with very very small exception isn't in the book. There is for example nothing on Mathieson infill planes. Also, with the exception of some very early Stanleys, and early American planemakers, this book has almost no information on American tools. Because of the nature of tool collecting planes of all kinds dominate the book but there are sections on braces, measuring tools, early tools, and other stuff. There is comprehensive material on Holtzapffel,Slater, Spiers, just to name a few makers.
The book is expensive and heavy. We don't stock it but in the United States you can get the book now for a limited time sale price direct from the Astragal Press. If you don't live in the US your best bet is ordering directly from the publisher firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a serious collector or maker of high end tools I cannot imagine not owning a copy. I'm a hard core collector and there was tons of material totally new to me. The book also has a pretty comprehensive list of plane iron stamps and also in most cases there closeups of logos and other information throughout the book that can be used for identification and dating so I expect to be referring to it and learning from it for years to come.
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