WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Dictionary of Woodworking Tools

Dictionary of Woodworking Tools
by R. A. Salaman

Astragal Press: 1977
Paperback, 546 pp., $39.95
ISBN 1-879335-79-4

     Everything must have a name, and sometimes we come across names of things we cannot attach a mental image to. This long-time standard reference to hand tools is an amazing compendium of names and illustrations. You may not know you own a Fawn Foot Hickory Hatchet Handle, defined as a "specially designed handle for Felling Axes, with an oval cross section and smooth double curve, swelling at the foot with the end shaped like the foot of a young deer. See note on Handles under Axe," which begins, "In Roman and Medieval times....". You get the idea.
     There follow from that, eighteen pages of history on different axes. There are eight pages of adzes and their distinct uses, several pages on rasps and rifflers, seventeen pages on hammers, and several pages describing the work of a millwright, with a schematic showing construction of a post mill weighing several tons, including a wooden spur gear made from apple, oak or hornbeam.
     The book is not all esoteric, historical information. Eighty pages are devoted to handplanes, covering their uses, parts, profiles and varieties. Patterns and jigs are illustrated for making wooden handplanes. Saws and sawing dogs, shaving horses and marquetry donkeys, shaves, drawknives, chisels, wheelwright's tools and shaving brakes; the list is 540 pages long. There is a long bibliography with reference materials and personal authorities the author had interviewed. Originally published in 1975, the book has been through many printings, and hopefully, will remain in print for a long time to come.

. . . Barb Siddiqui