A book about the business aspects of Furniture Making

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Review by travisowenfurniture posted 01-23-2011 10:46 PM 1831 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A book about the business aspects of Furniture Making A book about the business aspects of Furniture Making No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I loved this book. Though some of the specifics in this book aren’t up to date (written in 1984) and doesn’t even apply to the US (written in the UK), I found this book to be incredibly insightful and informative. Alan Peters apprenticed under Edward Barnsley, the son of one of the founders of the Arts & Crafts movement. He gives a concise history of the movement as it started in the rural countryside of Britain, catered to a public which could actually afford the work, and spread across the world influencing people such as Gustav Stickley who created “Mission” furniture and Carl Malmstem in Sweden who trained James Krenov. This work was as interesting for it’s historical data as it is for an aspiring woodworker such as myself. When he wrote this, Alan had 20 years behind him as a professional furniture maker and designer. He covers such topics as finance (which mainly applies to Britain), Grants and Loans (which are probably no longer in existence), Design techniques, Customer relations (how to work to commission), Batch Production, Woodworking techniques, Finishing and more.

Though some of the information is no longer accurate, I found it interesting to see what it was like 20 something years ago. He talks about how industry has negatively affected the small business furniture maker and has make it very difficult to stay afloat. That was in 1984!

Bottom line, I think this book is a must read for anyone who would ever want to own their own woodworking business. A lot of the knowledge is practical and timeless, coming from one of the worlds most successful designer-makers.

Plus, his work is beautiful, and there are a lot of photos to gawk at.

Thanks for readin!


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#1 posted 01-24-2011 07:35 AM

Thanks for the review. It sits on my shelf beside Krenov’s books, I kinda gloss over the text, and just stare at the pictures. (You might want to check out Cosman’s video “The Alan Peters Aprroach”. I think there’s a preview on youtube. He is a delightful man. I hope I’m half as together as he is at half his age. I’d be lost without his method of laying out dovetails with calipers and I’m tempted to sell all my planes but for a No. 7.)

Thanks again, I’ll slow down and read the text after reading this review.

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#2 posted 01-24-2011 10:56 AM

Sounds like a great book. I will certainly keep an eye open for it next time I go to B&N.

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91 posts in 3501 days

#3 posted 01-25-2011 07:26 AM

After reading a lot of Krenov, I started to see that Alan was, in a way, saying the same thing. They don’t have the same style of work (or working style, for that matter), and they are quite opposite in that regard as far as “method” goes, but they both have the same beautiful love and respect for the craft. They both have the same belief that you should do nothing less than your your best. I think this may be overlooked due to their different approach. In other words, they don’t share the “how”, but they share the “why”, and I think that’s cool.


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