Other - By Hand And Eye (Rating: 5)

I saw so much talk in the furniture forum for this book I had to get it. The book arrived Saturday and I immediately began reading it. I had heard that this was a book you have to read while in the shop working on layout. This is true. But because I have yet to get some dividers (hint: buy some dividers because they are the backbone of the whole theory of the book) I read it with a glass of brandy in my chair. I finished it Sunday and turned back to page one to begin again.

Basic book geek things:
This is a beautifully bound book. It has the feel of books that just cant be bought any more. The pages are nice and thick. I believe if you have kids this will be one book you can pass down to them without much worry of its structural integrity.

The pictures in the book are beautiful. No other word covers some of the masterpieces shown therein.

There are illustrations that are hand drawn. And though they get the message across I wish they would have been computer generated for a bit more clarity. But that is the only real negative from the whole book. Usually these books are lightweight and pontificate greatly on the things that dont matter much. This book is stuffed with things and you walk away knowing the authors did their due diligence. The historical material that was consumed by the authors in preparation for this book was great.

So what is it about?
Though they didnt say this it is about throwing your tape away, this is one of the take aways I got. It says rather than being bound to the tape, you make things in proportion using ratios and using dividers and a sector (a tool I didnt know existed but makes sense when you read about it). It covers how throughout history artisans used basic ratios to construct things with hardly any formal dimensions. They would make it all using ratios. The authors begin with the columns that the Greeks/Romans used in architecture showing how they relate in every aspect from large to small to the whole of the column.

Moving on they show how this can be applied to anything you make in the shop: Stile and rail width changes due to parallax.

The book ends with 9 projects which are made using this method based on one module. For instance: A step stool with the module being hand-span and the rest of the stool being based off of this.

I do wish they had a reference chart in the back for ratios etc. One page packed with the information for those of us who have yet to get it all memorized/perfected. Also a nod to the Golden ratio (Phi: 1.61803398875) would have been nice. That could have been a section in itself.

As a design engineer this book will help me in what makes me cash and what I love to do (furniture).

I would say to go ahead and buy it. It is worth the cash.