As the craft of woodworking was about to be revolutionized – some would say ruined – by the rise of machine-based woodworking, the London publishing firm of E. & F. N. Spon published a remarkable and enormous book on how to make things.
Called "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book," the 702-page book covered everything you needed to know about more than 30 crafts, from cabinetmaking to forging to bell-hanging. This book was unusual in that it was written by a team of dozens of experts from each field to ensure that the information was correct, timely and useful to the "mechanic" – an early term for a craftsman.
We took 276 of the most useful pages from the 1910 edition on woodworking tasks and compiled them into this helpful and inexpensive modern form. All the pages were professionally scanned and individually cleaned up to create a book that is easy to read and as crisp – perhaps crisper – than the originals.
In this book you will find a massive dose of hand (and machine) woodworking knowledge, including how to design a proper tool chest, how to sharpen a saw, cut a wide variety of joints and even build doors for your house. Unlike most shallow and modern books on woodworking, Spon took a deep dive into every craft. You will find guidance and knowledge that is unavailable to us today because the people who knew this stuff have all passed away.
Lucky for us, the Spon publishing company wrote it down for us. And now we can share it with a new generation of woodworkers with this reprint from the editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine.