WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking: Two Vols. In One, Unabridged

Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking: Two Vols. In One, Unabridged
by Tage Frid

Taunton Press, 1993
Hardcover, 210 pp, $29.95
ISBN: 1-56158-068-6

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    Tage Frid (he says his name rhymes with "hey, kid") is the man who originally "taught the teachers" in the U.S., and his books are classics. Many experienced woodworkers have known about these books--and a third volume titled Furnituremaking, which covers contemporary design and projects--for years (Book One was published in 1979), but newcomers might not be aware of them.
     "Most of what is in this book," Frid says in his introduction, "I learned from older craftsmen when I was young . . . One thing I can't stand is when people who went through the same learning as I, won't pass it on to the younger generation…" And pass it on he has--from the School for American Craftsmen (at the Rochester Institute of Technology) to the Rhode Island School of Design--since 1948.
     This double volume (Book 1 is on joinery; Book 2 is on shaping, veneering, and finishing) is not so much a textbook as it is a shop manual. Step by step, with clear photos and concise explanations, Frid leads us through procedures on everything from cutting a straight line with a handsaw to assembling compound miter joints with mitered dovetails.
    The table of contents is an itemized index for easy reference. Frid explains the how and why of every procedure. He gives comparative strengths of different joinery methods, and when to choose one over another. He tells how to make your own filler for burn-in sticks, how to do steam bending and cooper a cabinet door. The list of topics is long, but for everything he shows, Frid suggests alternate methods to accomplish it and gives reasons for varying applications.
     Regardless of how long you've been working with wood, there is always more to learn. Frid's classic "how-to" manuals are the ones to reach for first.

...Barb Siddiqui