Must have book for ANY woodworker!!!

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Review by Blake posted 12-27-2009 09:36 AM 4437 views 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Must have book for ANY woodworker!!! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Tom Fidgen is one of our own. He’s been a Lumberjock for almost two years now. About three months ago he announced the completion of his book in THIS blog. I was shocked to see that he didn’t get much feedback from the blog post (only 9 comments). But I knew it was a book I was going to need in my collection.

The book was released to Amazon and Boarders just in time for the holidays and I put it at the top of my Christmas list. Well let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I absolutely love this book. I’ve been glued to it ever since Christmas morning.

MADE BY HAND is about 160 pages loaded with beautiful, high quality photographs of the process of working with hand tools. But Fidgen doesn’t just write about the tools, he writes about the process in vivid detail. Despite the fact that he is a gifted artist, he comes off as just a regular guy. He makes it look easy, but he also makes it accessible to anyone who has ever picked up an old stanley hand plane from a flee market.

Fidgen starts by listing the essential hand tools of his collection, then discusses workbenches, hand tool techniques, and tricks of the trade. And then once he’s got your full attention the fun part begins: the projects. More than half of the book is devoted to putting all this talk about woodworking to good use. Six projects are followed—a table, a sideboard, a bookcase, etc.—from start to finish, in beautiful detail. Nothing important is left out.

As well as this book stands on its own, what takes it over the top is that it comes with a bonus DVD as well. On the DVD the reader gets a rare luxury… to see and hear the author speak! Fidgen just stands behind the workbench in his 12’x14’ basement woodshop in Toronto and shows us his collection of tools and why he chooses them.

If you liked James Krenov’s IMPRACTICAL CABINETMAKER you will love MADE BY HAND by Tom Fidgen. He writes, as he builds, in the spirit of the Legendary Krenov. Just like my collection of Krenov books, this book is a must have for any woodworker of any skill level to open your eyes to the lost art of hand tools use.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Blake's profile


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19 comments so far

View Mark's profile


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#1 posted 12-27-2009 09:45 AM

Hi Blake,

I got my copy about 2-3 weeks ago and have read it twice already. i agree it is a must have.

-- Mark, Sydney, Australia

View MsDebbieP's profile


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#2 posted 12-27-2009 01:59 PM

sweet!! Great review.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Karson's profile


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#3 posted 12-27-2009 05:08 PM

Blake: Thanks for the review. A great read and also the like to Tom’s post. It had slipped through my sight earlier.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2644 days

#4 posted 12-27-2009 05:17 PM

I have to ditto Karson. Thanks for the review and I absolutely missed his earlier post. Must put this on my order list.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3385 days

#5 posted 12-27-2009 06:13 PM

Thank you for the great review, Blake!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8810 posts in 3185 days

#6 posted 12-27-2009 06:18 PM

I have this book and I love it.

As soon as he announced it was out I started watching for it at Barnes & Noble and snagged the first one that came in.

The photography is great and with everything going to computer drawings (including myself) I found it interesting to see hand drawings. They bring a personal connection to the work in the book.

I recommend this book for the rich information, photography, and inspiration that it will bring to any woodworker.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3759 posts in 2250 days

#7 posted 12-27-2009 07:03 PM

Thanks Blake, I am placing Tom’s book and the link to your review in the LJ Booklist this morning. It will appear in two places, under hand tools and under general woodworking. Sometimes things like Tom’s announcement just show up at the wrong time and are kicked off the home page fast. I’ll reference this in my blog and give Tom a little more press. This looks like a book I would like to have, and I will give the link to my wife for a birthday gift.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View WayneC's profile


12638 posts in 3183 days

#8 posted 12-27-2009 07:58 PM

I recieved the book a couple of weeks ago and have to agree with Blake, it is a must read for those interested in woodworking for the joy of the craft.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Llarian's profile


128 posts in 2693 days

#9 posted 12-27-2009 08:15 PM

I absolutely love this book. I preordered it on Amazon on a lark since I’ve been wanting to get more into hand tools. I wasn’t at all disappointed!

-- Dylan Vanderhoof - General hobbiest and reluctant penmaker.

View a1Jim's profile


113815 posts in 2663 days

#10 posted 12-27-2009 08:30 PM

Thanks for the review Blake.
The wife has put her foot down no more books until I make more bookshelves to hold them
(I already have about 650 woodworking books and magazines)

-- Custom furniture

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3385 days

#11 posted 12-27-2009 09:31 PM


a1jim also has the most routers!

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View a1Jim's profile


113815 posts in 2663 days

#12 posted 12-27-2009 11:28 PM

Hey Dick
I think Amazon has more routers. LOL

-- Custom furniture

View Dennisgrosen's profile


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#13 posted 12-27-2009 11:44 PM

Tank´s for sharing blake and I´m on his blog now and then and when I got enoff money the book will arive in Denmark


View lou's profile


340 posts in 2528 days

#14 posted 12-28-2009 12:23 AM

its a classic already.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


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#15 posted 12-28-2009 05:20 AM

Thanks for the review!

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