One of the most important period furniture books published in a long time!

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Review by StumpyNubs posted 06-06-2017 02:53 PM 4418 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
One of the most important period furniture books published in a long time! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Read the print review, or watch the video review- your choice!

This book has been out quite a while, it was published in 2011. And ever since it has had a home in my woodworking library because it is, in my opinion, one of the most important books about classic furniture to be published in a long time. That’s because the southern style itself has always been grossly underrepresented in the pages of woodworking books. There are shelves full of volumes on the furniture styles of Philadelphia and Boston. So much has been written that one may assume that back then, everyone was carving balls and claws on the end of their legs. But an entirely different world existed in the pre-civil war south, with its own fascinating history and style. You don’t typically see southern furniture like this in museums. But unlike the grand, ornate pieces filling the galleries of today, the furniture in this book would actually be familiar to the working class of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. That’s what I like best about this book. It’s not just a collection of projects you can build, it’s a time capsule of twenty-seven pieces of historic furniture, from boxes and chests to bedsteads, tables and chairs. Each piece includes a historical overview and measured shop drawings. If I had to find one complaint, it would be that there aren’t any step-by step instructions for each project. But I don’t believe the authors, Glen Huey and Robert Lang, intended to write another book of project plans. Instead, they’ve provided just enough detail to enable any woodworker of moderate skill to reproduce every piece in the book. But more importantly, they’ve reintroduced the world of woodworking to the extraordinary craftsmanship of the old south. I really believe this book belongs in the collection of anyone who aspires to build better furniture. If you’d like to check it out, and read more independent reviews, please use the link in the notes below the video.

View on YouTube

Find the book on Amazon here.

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15 comments so far

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#1 posted 06-06-2017 03:06 PM

Sounds like something I’m interested in, thanks for the reco. I think I remember this book project being researched but then missed the release!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

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Monte Pittman

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#2 posted 06-06-2017 03:32 PM

Thanks for the review sir.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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#3 posted 06-06-2017 05:01 PM

It’s a good book but I was disappointed there was only one chair project. You’d think we Southerners never sit (or sat) down!

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#4 posted 06-06-2017 07:44 PM

Thanks for the kind words, James. MESDA is unique among museums and the furniture (and other items in their collection) are a better reflection of what you would see in an average home of the period (North or South) than what is on display in most museums. The fancy Philadelphia and Boston pieces that garner the most attention were more or less museum pieces when they were made. Fine furniture was also made in the large cities of the South, but we felt that it was a worthwhile effort to document these pieces.

This book was patterned after my other books of measured drawings, Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture and Shop Drawings for Greene & Greene Furniture in particular. There is a long tradition of producing books like this and I believe it is important to document how particular pieces of a particular time were made. Writer’s tend to be a lazy bunch and too many take the easy way out when it comes to the details that are important to the original time and place.

It helps if you know the basics of how furniture goes together and how to read a technical drawing to get the most our of books like this, but if you don’t, the time spent with the book will be more valuable in the long run than following step-by-step instructions for fewer pieces that may or may not be accurate reflections of the period. Measured drawings are the language of the craft, so this is a good way to immerse yourself in that language and discover what makes each piece interesting.

The history of this book also makes a good story, for it is an indication of the current sorry state of the publishing industry. All of my other books have remained “in print” since their original publication. “Furniture in the Southern Style” should be no different, but it was allowed to go out of print as stock dwindled of the initial print run. The remaining copies were sold off at a huge discount because no one at the publishing company saw the value of paying for warehouse space. Interestingly, a few months after clearing out the old stock, the publisher held a woodworking conference in Winston-Salem, NC, in conjunction with MESDA. I believe that a short “print on demand” run was made for the conference and to stock the MESDA bookstore.

-- Bob Lang,

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#5 posted 06-07-2017 02:50 AM

Looks like a fascinating book. I looked over the Amazon preview and appreciate the 2D drawings in the traditional style complete with a grids and patterns. I take a somewhat perverse pleasure in creating full scale drawings from small scale patterns. There are a few pieces in there that I would like to build someday.

-- Rick M,

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#6 posted 06-07-2017 01:36 PM

Ii have it and agree ..very well done ..

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#7 posted 06-07-2017 01:37 PM

Charles- I bet you’ve built more than your share of furniture in the southern style too, eh?

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#8 posted 06-07-2017 02:05 PM

Oh yea .. but i still like me some yankee period stuff

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#9 posted 06-08-2017 05:05 PM

While I’m not a big fan of this particular style, I do have all of Bob Lang’s books on Craftsman, Arts and Crafts, which includes G&G, Stickley, Limbert, Harvey Ellis, and the list goes on and on. I guess my point is that Bob’s bokks provide a great deal of history and insight into the style as well as some excellent pieces to build.

Bob – Please keep publishing these kinds of books. There are some of us out there that really enjoy them and get plenty of ideas and inspiration from them.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

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#10 posted 06-08-2017 05:27 PM

This book was patterned after my other books of measured drawings, Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture and Shop Drawings for Greene & Greene Furniture in particular.

I already have the Furniture in the Southern Style book, but seeing the update of the Craftsman Furniture book on Amazon prompted me to buy it. It looks like a significant revision with more detail, and since I only had the original, the added projects are of interest to me. The tracking info says it’ll be here tomorrow.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

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Mainiac Matt

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#11 posted 06-09-2017 05:53 PM

I didn’t even know there was such a critter as the “Southern Style” until I saw your video.

Now I R smarterer den I was b4

-- Matt -- I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam

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#12 posted 06-09-2017 08:01 PM

Just bought it. If I buy everything that people give 5 stars, will it make me a better craftsman?? lol
THanks for the review.

-- Pete

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#13 posted 06-18-2017 02:37 AM

I’ve got family in Winston-Salem, NC and have been to MESDA. If any of you get the chance, you really need to go. It’s a terrific collection of furniture for the reasons Bob Lang said. Last time I was there, this book was there because I got it.

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#14 posted 06-18-2017 03:10 AM

You reminded me I ordered this book, hasn’t arrived yet.

-- Rick M,

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#15 posted 08-04-2017 02:18 AM

fascinating! love the drawings and cutting lists showing on the book!


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