by Joseph Moxon
Joseph Moxon is one of the most important muses at TFWW, name checked on a dozen blog posts and given tribute in our Moxon vises. So we’re delighted that Lost Art Press - our fellow Moxon superfans - has reprinted Moxon’s classic Mechanick Exercises.
Mechanick Exercises, or more fully, Mechanick Exercises: Or the Doctrine of Handy-Work, is the first book on woodworking in English. The book, originally published between 1683 - 1685, was an unbelievable compendium of the tools and techniques of woodworking of Moxon’s era. The book covers joinery, blacksmithing, carpentry, bricklaying, turning and other crafts. Moxon wrote in defiance of the protocols of the guilds of the era and shared his knowledge of many skilled trades. If you yourself have skills in these areas, or if you are interested in the history of technology, you owe it to yourself to check out Mechanick Exercises, especially in a handsome edition like this one, printed like all LAP books to last.
The book is printed on acid-free paper that will resist yellowing and eventual disintegration, and (like Moxon’s original booklets), printed in signatures that are sewn together for durability; the sewn “book block” is then reinforced with fiber tape and covered in thick boards and cotton cloth.
Note: This reprint is based upon the 1703 edition of the book made available to LAP by the Early American Industries Association, a very worthwhile organization dedicated to “celebrating trades, crafts and tools in American history and their impact in our lives.” LAP’s proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit EAIA.
And in case you are torn between Mechanick Exercises and LAP’s edition of Moxon’s The Art of Joinery: the Art of Joinery takes the chapters of Mechanick Exercises that address joinery and adds commentary by Chris Schwarz. Mechanick Exercises is the complete text, and includes Moxon’s discussions of other trades (blacksmithing, carpentry, etc.)
Publisher: Lost Art Press