Friday, September 29, 2017

Mackintosh Furniture

This book, from F+W Media and author Michael Crow, is a technique book which includes usable diagrams and shop plans for 30 different Charles Rennie Mackintosh inspired furniture with some very good pieces which are close copies. 
I enjoyed the introductory history section, with a lot of period photographs and information about Mackintosh himself and his commissions and career and life.  I have been a serious Arts Nouveau nerd for many years and though most of the projects in this book are slanted toward the well equipped woodshop, there are several projects which  are well within the ability of a keen / dedicated amateur.

The uncluttered and clean lines of these pieces are timely and beautiful today.  When you compare them with the typical Victorian furniture of the time, heavy, dark and overly ornate, the contrast is profound.  These are really beautiful pieces, wonderfully cleverly constructed and tasteful.  His commissions included commercial restaurants and tea rooms, so the furniture needed to be designed to use less expensive woods which could withstand constant use.  He used oak and surface treatments to cut the costs of production and materials and turned a potential disadvantage into a design element. 

Each project chapter includes an introductory page about the history and date of the original piece.  The construction notes include several exploded drawings of construction methods and details as well as a complete list of pieces and measurements.

There are several hints and tips sections in the book including useful details such as making patterns for cutting identical pieces and how to make uniform cutouts to save time and effort.  The construction tutorials give several alternative methods (with different tools) which help the average craftsman who doesn't have ALL the available tools and materials.

Except for the introductory section, the book has very little photography, but compensates very well with the sepia-toned technical drawings.  Everything is meticulously measured and diagrammed.  This is not a glossy coffee table book.  This is a usable workshop book.

I have not yet followed the instructions to make any of the projects yet, but all of the measurements I checked in the diagrams were correct. 
 A worthwhile addition to the woodworker's library. 
Four stars.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher

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