by Roy Underhill
Before there was such a thing as a “television woodworker,” there was the profession of “radio woodworker.” Roy Underhill, who has hosted the PBS television series “The Woodwright’s Shop” for over 35 years, is a television woodworker extraordinaire. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Roy personally for years, and I can attest that he’s also a great conversationalist and storyteller. It turns out that Roy’s great-uncle Calvin served as America’s first and only radio woodworker in the summer of 1937, the charged era between the Great Depression and World War II. In this novelized homage to Great Uncle Calvin, Roy tells the tale of Calvin Cobb, Section Chief of a tiny division of the US Department of Agriculture, supervisor of four severely injured female WWI volunteers who are developing the world’s first supercomputer out of abandoned punchcard machines, and his pursuit of a radio program host via a radio show called Grandpa Sam’s Woodshop in the Air. The novel crams in a lot of madcap antics, as various enemies - the Nazis, the FBI, and plain old Washington politics - give our hero a workout. Roy bills the book as “A Novel with Measured Drawings,” (it also features nifty WPA maps and pictures of DC from that era), so watch out for drawings with Roy’s patented penchant for puns and good humor: With Mallets Toward None; The Sawhorse That Saved Thanksgiving; The Liberty Ladder; and A Box for Ben.
Roy Underhill is far more than a skilled craftsman, he is a showman, a TV star, and when you read this, his first fiction book, you get a chance to enter the world of Roy's own inspiration. Radio, woodworking, The depression, and the excitement of making things and new technologies.
Like all Lost Art Press books, “Calvin Cobb” is produced entirely in the United States. The 6" x 9" hardbound book is casebound with sewn signatures. It is wrapped in a beautiful full-color dust jacket designed by Canadian artist Jode Thompson.
Hardcover. 365 pages.
Publisher: Lost Art Press