I am a huge fan of Charles Hayward, so I am thrilled that Lost Arts Press has published a gorgeous edition of Hayward’s most important articles for The Woodworker magazine.
Hayward, who lived from 1898-1998, was a classically trained woodworker with a staggering array of talents as an illustrator, writer, designer and teacher. Hayward served as editor-in-chief of The Woodworker
from 1939 - 1967, a long stretch that spanned the transformation of woodworking and indeed the transformation of British industry and craft. It is no exaggeration to say that Hayward is indisputably the most important woodworking writer of the 20th century.
Lost Art Press originally published Hayward’s work into two volumes, then added Volumes III and Volume IV to complete the project. Volume I focuses on tools and Volume II on techniques. Volume III focuses on joinery and Volume IV on the design and construction of Western furniture (and also includes some philosophical pieces about the role of craft in society). This massive project now runs over 1500 pages and has taken most of a decade to put together. It’s well worth the wait.
The books are not quick and dirty reprints. All of the illustrations were scanned and carefully restored, and the text has been reset to fit the book. What really strikes me about the books is how elegant and succinct they are. Hayward is a master of using illustration to convey a real depth of knowledge. As soon as we unpacked the first box with the books, I started talking about Hayward with a customer who happened to be in our store. I said, and I meant every word, that Hayward's illustrations are so beautifully focused and on-point, they provide information in a simple yet comprehensive way that reaches people in a way that newer mediums don't. I love a good woodworking video and the modern approach can be great but between Hayward's understanding of the material, his ability to get to the core of the matter, and the clarity of the drawings I don't know of a better way to learn the gamut of woodworking topics than his writings. Do I need to add that soon after checking out the first volume this customer bought himself a copy? Ditto the later books.
Within each volume, topics are organized into sections, each like its own little book (sometimes concluding with original ads from toolmakers like Marples). Articles keep their charming headlines (“Non-Backbreaking Way to Rip Wood,” “When Your Bits Give Trouble,” “On the Relative Uses of the Marking Awl,” etc.) and positively invite you to spend some time with “Interesting Old Planes” and “Tools - The Why and Wherefore.” You can dip in to find out how tools are made, how to convert a tool to another use or how to get the best of their use. I told myself I’d read just an article or two but found it hard to put the book down.
With thousands of drawings and photos. “The Woodworker: The Charles Hayward Years” is printed entirely in the United States on smooth acid-free #60 paper and joined with a tough binding that is sewn, affixed with fiber tape and then glued. The pages are covered in dense hardbound covers that are wrapped with cotton cloth.
We offer the volumes individually and Volumes I and II as a discounted set. Ideally you'll get all four. You read a little of one book, then another, enjoying whatever catches your eye.
For PDF's with complete table of contents of all the books please click on the links below.
The Woodworker is Printed in the USA.