Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Review

Hey everyone- sorry the posts have been a little slack lately but I've been over the top busy with the book shipping and all of the other outside activities a time and space explorer must deal with through the day to day. I'm working on a new series of posts that'll walk through the building of a dedicated sharpening bench so watch for it later this week.

Here's a review (the first I believe) of Made by Hand by Jim Voos of San Carlos, California. Jim is a former College of the Redwoods student and these are his thoughts-

Tom Fidgen's Made by Hand is a great book to add to your shop. It is useful to both the beginning hand tool woodworker and the experienced furniture maker as well. Let me explain.

For beginners, Tom takes you through the practical reasons for setting up a hand tool shop, the basic set of hand tools you will need to be productive, as well as some of the techniques that you will need to use these new tools.

For the experienced woodworker, it presents the evolution that many of us go thru in our discovery of the craft, from using power tools in a cramped space, to the use of hand tools to add a new dimension to our work. I found many parallels between Tom's experience and my own, although I don't think it has taken Tom the 30 years it's taken me to get there.

The other thing that I found terrific was the photography of the workshop, tools & techniques that one uses in building great furniture. This is coffee table quality photography in a book that you will want to keep with you on your bench.

The best part is saved for last, and that's the projects. These are beautiful examples of projects that you will be excited to build. I was particularly taken by the Cabinetmakers' Tool Chest. This is a nice piece which can hold your "travelin" hand tools, and incorporates some nice ideas to make it even more useful. I won't give away some of the tricks added to this piece, you will have to discover it for yourself.

I don't know if this is Tom's first effort or not, but I hope he continues writing, and gives us a good book we could use to build our own boat using hand tools. This would be another reference I would love to add to my library.

Highly recommended.

Jim Voos

Jim and Jim at the College of the Redwoods


  1. I'll second the comment regarding the great photography - really makes the book enjoyable to read, and gives you the sense that you're right there in the shop with Tom.

  2. Not to be too picky, but the word is "through", not "thru"...

    Please forgive the nitpickiness... I hope you will because you are obviously a perfectionist at heart as evidenced by your woodworking. And speaking of which, your Contact info says you are a "craftman" -- I always thought it was "craftsman" (missing an s?).

  3. thanks mark...i should have sent you a rough copy of my book to edit !!