Monday, 18 August 2014

Woodworking Book Review: Making Furniture Projects & Plans by Mark Ripley

This is a book that achieves a rare double; it has great appeal for the novice woodworker and the experienced cabinet maker alike. For the beginner it offers a glimpse into the world of the possible, aspirational plans and exotic joints with explanations that make it all seem very reachable given time and practice.  For those with well-developed skills it’s an exploration of form, function and design with some great insights into harnessing the natural properties of timber to make beautiful and functional furniture.

The book is set out in two parts; the first section has an overview of the principles of furniture design balancing the four essential elements of structure, function, aesthetics and economy.  It also looks at the process of batch production with a case study of a set of chairs the author created.

The second part of the book is where it can become your coffee time browse to muse over the 24 projects. They are really well written, rather than a list of simple instructions there is an easy to read narrative that talks you through the process in a conversational style. There are some excellent photographs of the details of each project and a full set of dimensions for you to work from.  What it is not, is a strict set of rules to reproduce what you see on the page.  You are invited to understand the process and to put your own interpretation on each of the pieces.

There is no doubt the quality and design of the furniture in this book will appeal to many, and those with real ambition, a quality workshop and plenty of time should be able to reproduce Mark’s plans to great effect. For everyone else this is a grand book that will give us all plenty to aspire to and an excuse to buy a few more tools in preparation for that “One Day” moment.

Making Furniture Projects and Plans is available from GMCbooks.com and other retailers on line.

ISBN-978-1-86108-560-3