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I try to keep Adam Bowett’s book “Woods in British Furniture-Making 1400-1900” closed tight as much as possible.
Because the British Empire was so massive, “Woods in British Furniture-Making” is actually a history of the world as told through furniture woods. What makes “Woods in British Furniture-Making” more special than a Wikipedia entry on a species is that Bowett’s original research from primary sources, such as trading records, dispels many of the myths about certain species. When “Woods in British Furniture-Making” was first published, I didn’t think it was something I needed.
After only a year of use, my copy is getting dog-eared and filled with little book markers. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press.


Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years. That’s because every time I open it, I lose at least an hour of my day reading a section of the book that I hadn’t yet discovered.
Every entry is like a short story of the species as told from a furniture-maker’s – rather than a botanist’s – perspective. It is never far from where I am sitting when I am writing, drawing furniture or reading other books on woodworking. If you are hesitant to spend that kind of money on a book, check to see if your local library has a copy you can check out. Bowett arranged the book like a dictionary for the most part, implying that it is intended as a reference.


All of the species you use in your shop are in there, including the oak, cherry and walnut of North America. But its dictionary-like structure and title, “Woods in British Furniture-Making,” are misleading.



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