Woodworker and podcaster, Ray Deftereos, of the podcast “Hand Tool Book Review” has just released a thoughtful and thorough review of my first book Hands Employed Aright: The Furniture Making of Jonathan Fisher (1768-1847). He clearly took a lot of time assessing the book and distilling its contents for listeners, because I have never heard a more complete and concise description of the book anywhere else. Ray nailed it.
I appreciated hearing his perspective on the practical benefits of this book which fits only by technicality on the dry and dusty “historical monograph” shelf. He talked about how he was delighted to see something different in such a work – something more personal. This was exactly my intention with the book – there was no way that I would be able to say, “This is who he was, and this is what he did” and then close the book. This man and his work changed my life. I knew I had to share this with readers and so I intentionally shifted the tone to make it a warm and personal account.
I was surprised and delighted to hear Deftereos talk about how much he valued and appreciated the catalogue of furniture and tools at the back of the book. This is a standard inclusion in museum exhibition books, but rarely is the reader given more than a single 3/4-turn glamour shot. Woodworkers want to see the guts, so in Hands Employed Aright, I showed the guts. There are a ton of photos of the insides and backsides of the pieces to give the reader enough information to build his or her own version.
I am grateful to Ray for doing this review. I applaud his thoughtful review. He has also promised to review my latest book, Another Work is Possible, in the future, and I can’t wait to hear it. This is a great podcast. Make sure you give it a listen: https://handtoolbookreview.com/index.php/2020/05/07/episode-17-hands-employed-aright-by-joshua-klein/