Author: Vic Tesolin
Published by: Spring House Press
Published: 2015
Pages: 151

The title of this book is also the ‘aka’ of its author, Vic Tesolin, a furniture craftsman, woodwork teacher and author who is also Technical Advisor at Lee Valley Tools.

With a subtitle ‘Essential Tools And Smart Shop Ideas For Building With Less’ and a foreword by Tom Figden, the message should be clear enough. However, this is not another book about unplugged woodworking.

Yes, you can have a workshop and start working wood without machinery and power tools, but the book is not so much a rejection of those things, as a statement about the accessibility of woodworking to those starting out.

The Minimalist Woodworker shows you how to create a workspace when you think you don’t have room for one, and how to satisfactorily equip it when you may not have the money to buy all the bells and whistles.

And it’s not about denial either. The author gives reasons why keeping things simple can free you to some extent. For a start, you can stop making excuses, and get started on the road to enjoying woodworking. For the hobbyist, without time or production pressure, the journey can be the goal, not that hand tool ways are necessarily the slowest where one-off projects are concerned. For the record, the author has powered equipment in his workshop but the book is more about working without them.

Once you have chosen your ‘workshop’ space, the book introduces tools to acquire and the techniques needed to utilise them. The projects are a means to learning techniques and creating useful items such as a sawbench and bent (saw horse), shooting board hook, wooden mallet, workbench and hand tool shelf.

One thing that is not minimal, without being wordy, is the amount of detail given. Aimed at beginners, the text is highly readable and very informative. The presentation is also a statement of elegant simplicity. There is clear text based on personal experience, to-the-point photos, descriptions and diagrams all within an uncluttered layout.

For the beginner this book is an entry portal into the world of woodworking that shows how to get started with a lot less of everything than you might have thought. In terms of motivation, explanation and instruction it’s an integrated package and highly recommended as such.

Vic Tesolin is one of the featured authors at Wood Review's Writers Festival, Saturday June 4, 2016 which will take place at Carbatec Brisbane. Vic's book will be available for purchase and signing. More information at this link.

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