Inspired by Instagram community member @chewton_wood_design, I'm going to share my thoughts on the book "Making Swedish Country Furniture & Household Things".
How - Why - What
When it comes to woodworking books, I feel they all can be plotted somewhere on a Venn Diagram of the circles How, Why and What. Later, I'll touch on why I ranked this book heavily in the WHAT category. For now, lets take a quick look at the general layout of the book and then learn more about the authors.
Content and Layout
The book starts with a multi part introduction that briefly touches on the wood types used, the tools and joints employed and closes with information about finishes. The most intriguing to me was the section on Gilding but even this was too low on the HOW to fully satiate my desire to learn about it.
The book is a compilation of 35 historical Swedish pieces. Each project includes a picture and a measured drawing.
This is not an "inspired by" book. Each project is based off of an actual museum piece. The work of CH Beksvoort and Thos. Moser is often described as "inspired" as opposed to identical copies of Shaker pieces. It's up to you to decide what you value more, adaptations to suit a specific need or accurate reproductions.
Each project has an associated "difficulty level" from "fairly difficult". The chairs near the end of the book fall into the "fairly difficult" category. The wall shelf is an example of an "easy" project.
You had better know HOW to do the tasks in the book, because technique isn't covered. The text that is included with each projects gives a general assembly sequence. Tool selection and application are generally left up to the reader.
A Measuring Stick
Think of the project descriptions as measuring stick that you can hold up to pieces you build to judge your adherence to "The Swedish Way".
This book has three authors. The back cover of the book tells us a little more about them.
Hans Keijser is a specialist in traditional environments.
Lars Sjöberg is a curator at Sweden's National Museum.
R. Willick is a skilled cabinet-maker.
Lars is the most prolific of the authors, with books such as "The Swedish Room (Creating the Look)", Sep 1994, "Classic Swedish Interiors", Sep 2010 and "The Swedish House", Oct 13, 2003, as well as others to his credit. He has an obvious love of the Swedish style.
Its fun to reach outside the purely didactic genre of woodworking books as a way to get inspired. This book will give an experienced woodworker with an interest in Swedish furnishings a deep well from which to draw. But its not a book I would recommend for beginners unless their only goal is to make Swedish pieces.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to ask questions in the comments below.