Nineteen years ago I was finishing up my first book “Shop Drawings for Craftsman Furniture”. Along with the rest of the world the publishing business has changed significantly. Between then and now I’ve written several other books, spent ten years as an editor for a woodworking magazine and independently published three books in PDF format. Perhaps the biggest change in the publishing business is the fact that it no longer makes financial sense for me to work with a conventional publisher. The author’s slice of the pie is too small and the risks are too high. My three SketchUp books are only published digitally, mainly because that allows me to include video content directly in the book, and they are instruction manuals for using a computer program. It’s much easier to have the book open in another window than it is to balance a printed book on your lap while working at the computer. And the technology isn’t there yet to play videos within a printed book.
My next book, “Shop Drawings for Byrdcliffe Furniture” is more like my first books. It takes a close look at an important branch of furniture made during the American Arts & Crafts period of the early 20th century. Not many people are familiar with Byrdcliffe, but when they see examples of it they are compelled to stop for a closer look. That’s what happened to me early in my career as a woodworker. As I dug deeper into my own fascination with Byrdcliffe furniture, I came across some useful resources, but I also found that a lot of what appears in print about Byrdcliffe leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to being a furniture geek I’m also a history geek, and I get cranky when I read something about the past that “ain’t necessarily so.” Over the past eight years the urge to build one piece of furniture led to me research the entire body of work that was made in the Byrdcliffe colony in a few short years. The furniture is unique and wonderful, and the story of how it came to be made,who was responsible for designing it and why production didn’t continue is a good one.
The complete book is rather hefty at 226 pages. The first section tells the story of the Byrdcliffe colony, who designed the furniture, where and how it was made, what happened after the wood shop closed and where existing pieces can be found to day. Following that are drawings that detail the construction of 28 examples of Byrdcliffe furniture. If you think the Sassafras Linen Press is cool, wait until you see the rest of the pieces. In addition to the construction drawings, there are also patterns for recreating the carvings. Stay tuned for more details about what is inside this important new book.
At the moment the book is essentially done, but I need to decide about what format or formats to offer it in. That’s where you come in. At the bottom of this post is a simple form where you can let me know if you’re interested in purchasing this book as a PDF download, as a softcover trade paperback, or as a hardback. In the book the carving patterns are scaled to fit on a letter size page, with a grid to allow you to scale the patterns up to their actual size. I also plan to offer the patterns separately, in PDF format as a download. These patterns are formatted and ready to print at their actual size, ranging from letter size to 24 x 60. Purchasers will be able to print their own patterns for the smaller patterns, or send the files to a local service for large format printing.
Prices have not been set yet, as I’m reviewing the options for paper and print quality. It’s important to me that the finished product is worth keeping around for a long time and one of the reasons I no longer work for a publishing company is my belief that the value of a book is the information within it. My best guess at this point is that the PDF version will cost between $25-$35, the softcover between $40-$50, and the hardcover between $60-$75.
The last option in the form is for a deluxe hardcover with the PDF book and full-size PDF patterns included as downloads. If there is enough interest this will be a one shot printing of no more than 100 copies, signed and numbered, with the finest available paper and printing. It will cost around $100 and those who purchase this option will have the opportunity to be listed on the final page of the book as subscribers.
Filling out the form doesn’t commit you to anything, I’m trying to judge interest and consider the options before I send the book to the printer. I’m asking for your email address so I can get in touch with you when the book is available in the next few weeks. I don’t share your information with anyone and I am one of the worst email marketers on the planet. I send to my email list once or twice a year at most. Those who fill out the form will be the first to know when Shop Drawings for Byrdcliffe Furniture is available.
Thank you for your interest in my work. As an independent author/illustrator/publisher I depend on your help in spreading the word about what I’m up to, and my family and I appreciate your support.
UPDATE-April 28, 2020. Pre-sales for the softcover version of this book are now available. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS