Circular Work in Carpentry and Joinery
by George Collings
An amazing book about the geometric complexities involved with advanced curved work.
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This book was originally published in London over 100 years ago, and is probably the best treatise available on the subject. The focus is not furniture, rather it covers architectural work such as windows and roof construction. However, the geometric wizardry in this book applies equally well for both subjects.
In Collings’ day most doors, windows and other architectural features were built on-site at building projects by joiners well versed in all phases of construction and installation. They used mostly hand tools and some machine tools. This book is for the needs of such people- and so has little reference to machine tool techniques.
But the main emphasis of the book is not which tool you use to make a curved wooden component, but rather the geometry required to make it. The primary strength and main value of this book is the geometry involved. And believe me, there’s some involved geometry here. The main reason for buying this book would be if you are fascinated with the complexities of such curved work geometry. I doubt many of you will buy it because you intend to build a bowed double hung window with arched head using hand tools.
You’ll need to have some experience with geometry to follow Collings’ explanations in the book. To quote him,
“Some knowledge of geometry is of the very first importance in work of double curvature. Indeed, without such knowledge, it is not possible for anyone, however good a mechanic he may be in other respects, to execute with anything like accuracy a piece of work of this nature.”
The book is 125 pages and softbound. There are no photos but every page has at least a few drawings and many have a half dozen or more. There are 144 chapters each of which covers a particular architectural feature requiring unique geometry, or the chapter covers a general aspect of laying out a particular geometric situation.
To order the book click on the link at the top of the page.