Highland Woodworking Wood News Online, No. 137, January 2017
The Woodworker - The Charles Hayward Years - Vol 3
Edited by Christopher Schwarz

Book Review by J. Norman Reid

The Woodworker - Volume 3 is the third volume of reprinted articles from the British woodworking magazine, The Woodworker, which includes the work of Charles Hayward and several other noted British woodworkers from the years Hayward was its editor. Following the two earlier volumes (which I reviewed last year ), which focused on tools and techniques, this one is devoted exclusively to woodworking joints. It contains nearly all the material from Hayward's classic Woodworking Joints plus much more in addition. The result is a compact explanation of how to cut a wide variety of joints and avoid common mistakes in doing so.

Like the first two volumes in the series from Lost Art Press, this book is characterized by Hayward's succinct yet clear descriptions and exquisite hand-drawn figures. Together, they leave the reader in no doubt as to exactly what he means and how the joints can best be cut and assembled.

The first section addresses edge joining panels, including jointing them by hand, gluing them and ways to strengthen edge joints. The reader will need to get past a few British expressions—cramps for clamps, for instance—but after that there's much wisdom to be gleaned from this short section about joining thin pieces, avoiding warping and minimizing the need for clamps during glue-up, among other things.

A far more substantial section on frame joints follows. It opens with mortise and tenon joints and demonstrates a number of variations, including blind, wedged, haunched and mitered mortises and tenons. This is succeeded by coverage of miters and scribed joints, ways miters can be strengthened, door joints and loose tongue joints. Treatment of grooves, stopped grooves and rabbets follows. This section on frame joints concludes with consideration of halved joints, casement window joints, bridle joints, one-third lap joints and other lesser-used joints.

The next section, also substantial, addresses dovetail and carcass joints. The lengthy section on dovetails presents several ways for cutting them, including sawing pins and tails in a single operation, jigs for cutting them, making them fit right off the saw, and avoiding common problems in cutting and fitting them. A number of types of dovetails are explained: mitered dovetails, secret miter dovetails, lapped and double-lapped dovetails and decorative dovetails among them. The section concludes with treatment of dovetails in carcass corners, legs and rails, and with the bureau joint.

A final short section covers a miscellany of joints, including the knuckle joint, rule joint, splined joint, third lap joint, scarf joint, coopered joint, scribed joint, cabriole leg joint options and a few others.

Like its predecessors, this volume is beautifully bound in green cloth and letter-sized so the text and drawings are clear and fully readable. Though the articles—drawn from The Woodworker's contents over a 28-year period—contain some overlap and even an occasional contradiction, they nonetheless represent a wealth of authoritative instruction that will be invaluable to hand tool woodworkers and even those who choose machines for their work. If you can get past the implicit assumption that woodworking is an exclusively male domain and its frequent references to "the man" in the woodshop, you'll find this to be an outstanding resource on joinery.

This book is perhaps too advanced for the very beginning woodworker, though the section on dovetails will be valuable to those cutting their first pins and tails. But intermediate and advanced woodworkers, and any woodworker using hand tools , will find this book not only highly useful but even essential as a resource and guide. Like its predecessors, I give it a high recommendation.

Find out more and purchase The Woodworker - The Charles Hayward Years - Vol 3

J. Norman Reid is a woodworker, writer, and woodworking instructor living in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his wife, a woodshop full of power and hand tools and four cats who think they are cabinetmaker's assistants. He is the author of Choosing and Using Handplanes . He can be reached by email at nreid@fcc.net .

Return to Wood News Online

Click the images below to visit some of our most popular tool departments

Wood Turning 

Highland Woodworking
1045 N. Highland Ave. NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30306
Tel. 800-241-6748

Email us at email@highlandwoodworking.com
Visit us on the web at www.highlandwoodworking.com

Copyright © 2017 Highland Hardware, Inc.

Errors regarding pricing and specifications are subject to correction.
SOME SALE QUANTITIES MAY SELL OUT and become unavailable at the advertised price.