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Most of us interested in Carpentry and Joinery probably have a few books on the subject. Perhaps they are textbooks from college, reprints of old books or if you are very lucky vintage books. I am very fortunate to have a full set of "Joinery & Carpentry" printed in 1931 by The New Era Publishing Co and "The Carpenter and Joiner, Stair Builder and Hand-Railer” written by Robert Riddell and published around 1860 – 1880. Both are great reading and the books from the 1930’s have been a very useful reference. However the book by Robert Riddell is on another level.


Joinery Books
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Within Mr Riddell’s book you will find a design for a house front in wood, designs for bay windows, a design for an observatory with curved roof, the French or Mansard roof, elements of handrailing, platform stairs, plan of staircase with winders in the quarter circle, the wreath and ramp at landing of circular stairs and so much more. Although I grasp the principles of the jobs and gained further understanding the geometry involved is very complex for someone of a modest understanding (me). Any carpenter, joiner or enthusiast who has a very good understanding of geometry would get so much more from this book.

Carpentry Books
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One of my favourite sections of the book is the introduction of which I will share a section with you.

The young beginner in Carpentry should start with a full determination to excel and attain eminence in a trade that is both honourable and manly. His first practical lessons begin in the workshop. Everything then depends on the use that is made of time and observation. The workmen are necessarily his real instructors: to them and all others, let his conduct be such as to merit general approval. To be civil and obliging is nothing more than the duty of an apprentice. He should at all times be willing and ready to comply with reasonable requests. Even the poorest workman is entitled to respect, who may, perhaps advance some idea that will be of service. Treasure up every valuable hint, and select, for a model, the most skilful and scientific workman. Notice with what ease and rapidity he handles tools, displaying neatness and finish in execution of all his works.

The high standard of excellence is within the reach of any one having a spark of ambition to be something more than the mere operative that plods, works, and never thinks. It was never intended that the whole of life should be spent in toil and drudgery. The mind was made for better and nobler purposes, and he who exercises in the right direction, cannot fail to succeed in any pursuit. In a word, endeavour to aim at that point of excellence just alluded to, which gives dignity and respectability to mechanic art

If you are fortunate to find a copy at a reasonable cost snap it up and enjoy.