|The Joiner And Cabinet Maker was written in 1839 and is a narrative account of the training of a joiner in the early 1800's before machines took over and the job became industrialized. In the process of collecting other books on the subject I came across this book "The Boy's Own Workshop; or, The Young Carpenters" by Jack Abbott. First published in 1868 (Scotland) I saw and lost a copy on Ebay. Ah Well. Fortunately the book is available to everyone on Google Books HERE. By the way there has been a lot of comments about how bad the google book scans are, which is largely true, but I have the Google book app on my ipad and I find scans that really are annoying on a laptop can be perfectly fine for reading on the ipad, and stuff like this is Free. I am slowly building up a library of google scanned books on woodworking which is far more convenient for quick research than finding the book in my crowded stacks. |
Back to the book.
Unlike the Joiner and Cabinet maker which was a serious attempt at showing young people what is was like to be trained in the trade, the Boy's Own Workshop is far longer, far more saccharine, and really targeted to younger boys who were interested in woodworking but probably were never actually going to be apprenticed. By this time (1868) woodworking was taught in schools using methodology that is out of context of being a trainee in a real shop. Although there is some pretense of how a boy was trained in a shop the book doesn't ring true in that sense. It felt to me that I was reading a textbook on basic woodworking that was turned into a pretend narrative rather than a simplified version of an actual apprenticeship. It was also written at a time where being a woodworker had less status and was a less desirable job than it had even thirty years previously.
The book has lots of side stories about family life outside of the workshop, but as I said it's a saccharine portrayal in a very Victorian manner. Right now I'm mostly skimming it, but with any luck I will find some technical stuff worth knowing. Since it is free you might want to consider giving it a look see and who knows it might make fine summer reading.
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