Gazette Archive 5/19/99
A book review: By Bill Britton
Title: Jack Hill's Country Furniture
With a nicely illustrated, 160 page hardcover book, Jack Hill addresses the country style furniture created in the seventeenth, eighteenth. and nineteenth centuries. Country style furniture emphasized function over fashion and featured simplicity and solid craftsmanship. Usually constructed in rural communities by local craftsmen, wood that was close to hand such as oak, pine, cherry, and maple was the material of choice. Country furniture has endured the test of time and continues to grow in popularity.
In this book, the author addresses general woodworking issues in the first three chapters. There are nicely done chapters on trees and wood, tools and techniques, and joints and woodworking methods. Most of the projects are designed to be constructed with hand tools. Although I'm not much of a neanderthal, I found this general info to be interesting reading. Kind of nice to see how things were done in the days before electricity.
From the general information chapters, the author goes directly into the building of twelve country projects which vary from the simple to the fairly complex. In other words, something for all skill levels. Each project is featured within its own chapter and contains a color photo of the finished project, plan drawings, cut lists, and a pretty detailed set of instructions. Other than getting used to a few British terms like "cramps" for clamps and "rebate" for rabbet, I found the plans well done and easy to follow.
For all you folks who are fans of the metric system, dimensions are given in both inches and metric. I for one, have difficulty in using the metric system. I think in inches and fractions. Its sort of like hearing a foreign language - the ear hears the words but the mind has to convert them to my native tongue before they have meaning.
In any case, I find the book well done and will most assuredly build at least a couple of the featured projects. The book goes in my reference library - its a definite keeper.
Editor's Note: Sterling Publishing has graciously donated several books for review which are passed on to our members free of charge. Thank You!