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Mechanic's Companion

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Elements and Practice of Carpentry, Joinery, Bricklaying, Masonry, Slating, Plastering, ...
by Peter Nicholson

Since its publication in 1678, Moxon’s "Mechanick Exercises" has been inspiring woodworkers -- including Peter Nicholson, a 19th British cabinetmaker, architect and writer. In 1812, Nicholson wrote "The Mechanic's Companion, Or, the Elements and Practice of Carpentry, Joinery, Bricklaying, Masonry, Slating, Plastering, Painting, Smithing, and Turning," intending it as a companion and update to Moxon’s work.

As Nicholson himself explained, "It can be no disparagement to its ingenious author, to say that the progress of science, and the changes in matters of art have rendered the work obsolete and useless. It treated on Smithing, Joinery, Carpentry, Turning, Bricklaying, and Dialling. I have followed the excellent plan of Moxon and treated each art distinctly: I have first described the several tools belonging to each branch of business, next the methods of performing the various manual operations or exercises, to which they are applicable, these are further illustrated and explained by nume­rous plates: the descriptions are made as plain and familiar as possible; and there are few operations but will be found fully and clearly explained: finally to each is added an Index and extensive Glossary of terms used by workmen in each art, with references also to the plates: and it has been my endeavour that the description with its definition should be clear, and show the connection between the science and the art, thereby producing a pleasing and lasting effect upon the mind."

The structure of this book is a combination of straight definitions of tools and operations, to a usually simplified approach to the operation. You won't learn how to be come a master craftsman from this book, but a lot of early nineteenth century tools and building methods will make more sense. For someone who is interested in general early nineteenth century architecture the scope of different crafts touched on in the book will be especially interesting.

The Mechanic's Companion was originally reissued by Megan Fitzpatrick under her Rude Mechanicals Press imprint. It’s a scan of an 1845 edition of the book, with type that has been cleaned-up and slightly increased for legibility. The book maintains Nicholson’s erudition, practicality and readability, along with the 40 beautiful plates that illustrate the trades. This new edition is published by Lost Art Press in recognition of the book's importance.

Printed on acid-free paper, with signatures that are sewn and reinforced with fiber tape. The interior is then wrapped in hardcover boards and cotton cloth. Produced and printed entirely in the United States.

Pages: 334
Binding: HC
Publisher: Lost Arts Press

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