The Wheelright's Shop

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Review by jjw5858 posted 03-04-2012 11:15 PM 2874 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The Wheelright's Shop The Wheelright's Shop The Wheelright's Shop Click the pictures to enlarge them

For any of you out there looking for an inspiring story in the art of wheelrighting you can look no further than George Sturts Wheelright’s Shop.

The book is a first account adventure of George Sturts life as his father has passed away and left George to run the families Wheelright Shop in England during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.

The spirited writting evokes visuals of woodworking and blacksmithing. The materials and descriptions of oak, ash and wheelcarts….sawyers sawing for many hours working away on huge timber, while blacksmiths create there magic over a scorching forge.

This book is a wonderful exploration of just how this craft was performed and also detailed in the making of specific wagon parts, how they were made and their construction to form a completed wagon.

It may take some readers a little time to get the rythm of Sturts writing style…it did for me…….but after some pages turn you begin to get a grasp of how he describes and tells his stories.

Here is a passage to give you an idea of this colorful read:

“The winter, the timber, the wheelrights continuous tussle, the traditional adaptation, by skill and knowledge -
all these factors, not thought of but felt, to the accompaniment of wood scents and saw pit sounds, kept me thinking from the cold- unless to appreciate that too. Delightful? It was somehow better than that. It was England’s very life one became part of in the timber-yard.”

I found this book very interesting to get a behind the scenes account of the day to day grind…and very hard work in a old fashioned Wheelright Shop.

HAAA….I made some rip cuts with a handsaw the other day…got a sweat going…felt pretty good to get the muscles woke up ya know…cool shop stuff……..I began to recall George Sturt telling the tales of the sawyers in the dark and cold sawpit…12 hour days sawing oak and ash timber….from the pit to the tavern for some pints, to bed, early to rise…back to the pit again….saw all day…...I began to calm my claim of feeling so stout with my small box store bought soft pine and short stanley handsaw….lmao!

If nothing else the book is a nice dose of reality from the past…that our techno modern press button facebookers could stand a nice serving of in our fastpaced society of instant gratification.

All in all a great book for some evenings of reading or a quick bit of poetic woodcrafting inspiration out in your shop when you need a lift to press ahead and make the job happen.

I purchased my copy on
here is the link for the book if your are interested:

Hope someone may read and enjoy this bit of great woodworking history.

May your chisels and axe be as sharp as George Cook….(check the book out and you will get what I mean…lol)

Thanks friends,


-- "Always continue to learn, laugh and share!" JJW

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4 comments so far

View mafe's profile


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#1 posted 03-04-2012 11:35 PM

Thank you for a fine review.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View NormG's profile


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#2 posted 03-05-2012 12:02 AM

What a great story it must be

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View JohnnyB's profile


105 posts in 3193 days

#3 posted 03-06-2012 05:51 AM

This is one of my all-time favorite woodworking books, and I have read it several times in the past 30+ years. It combines the details and the vocabulary of the wheelwright’s trade with a fascinating sketch of the life of the late 19th and early 20th century village wheelwright. (Picture walking a mile or two through the English weather just to get to work!) I am very pleased to see that it is still in print. Thanks for your review.

-- JohnnyB - - Sometimes determination can substitute for skill.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3919 days

#4 posted 03-06-2012 09:24 PM

thanks for a fine rewiew :-)


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