The classic Memoir of the Life of a Victorian Craftsmanby Walter Rose
This book has long been one of our favorites.
Walter Rose was a master carpenter and the son and grandson of master carpenters. He writes of village carpentry as it was practiced in Buckinghamshire, England, by his family in Victorian times. Their definition of carpentry was broader than that of the present day; it covered most of the woodworking done except for the wheelwright's work - from windmills to furniture, farm gates to coffins, sawpit work to haymaking tools. The importance of skill, the sense of community, and the attitudes to work and to neighbors all emerge from Rose's accounts of tools and techniques. Not incidentally, the revival of interest in old woodworking tools suggest that once more people are pursing aims that modern technology cannot attain.
The technical information presented in The Village Carpenter will be of great interest to readers who like to work with wood or who simply have an appreciation for what the craftsman can make from the material. But no less significant is the spirit of the old - time craft, and also the spirit that the author himself represents: "We loved to go down into that...[sawpit]. It was always moist and cool; there was a perpetual odor of sawdust, and large yellow frogs often peered out at us from chinks in it slab-lined walls. Once, when searching for walnuts fallen from the old overhanging tree, I saw a large frog, seated on its haunches, staring at me from off the heaped dust at the far end of the pit. With the thoughtlessness common to boys, I raised a stick to strike it, when instantly it covered its eyes with its hands, as though dreading to see the blow that it was powerless to avert. The act was so unexpected and surprising, so truly human in character, that I was at once ashamed, and dropped my stick."
Unlike previous reprints this new edition has all the original pictures in clear fresh scans with newly reset type. The book is easy to read, a joy to behold and it's a wonderful thing that this story is available once again.
146 pages, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2", soft cover.
When I work in my own shop, especially when I am doing joinery or planing with hand tools I get some sense of the calmness and belonging that Walter Rose lived. I started making things with my own hands because I didn't have money to buy the things I wanted but I quickly realized that a whole value system and tradition was involved. I now certainly feel more connected and part of the world around me and the world that once was. This book re-enforces the connection and tells about a traditional way of living that is sadly gone. It's a wonderful read, nostalgic, and one of the few first hand accounts of craftsman and their lives. -Joel, Owner Tools for Working Wood.
Publisher: Linden Publishing