Author Interview and Review of Simply Wood

Simply Wood: 40 Stylish and Easy To Make Projects for the Modern Woodworker

Product Details

  • Pub. Date: November 2010
  • Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing Company, Incorporated
  • Format: Paperback , 200pp
  • Sales Rank: 254,635

Interview with the Author:

1.  Tell us about  your background.  Where are you from? 
I’m  from Cape Town, South Africa and I have been in BC, Canada now for 15  years. I have a background in Fine Arts and Design and have recently graduated  from the Fine Furniture Program offered at Camosun College in Victoria  BC. 
2.  Why  woodworking?  This is not a typical profession for women, what made you  decide this is for you? 

It’s funny I never really thought that I couldn’t do woodworking  because I am a woman. I found my passion while exploring the fine arts and  its’ different mediums ranging from oil painting to ceramics to  sculpture. It was actually in a sculpture class that I got to use a  table saw for the first time and I was absolutely hooked. I also chose  woodworking, because, call me practical, but I wanted people to use my art  on a daily basis. I wanted people to run their hand along a freshly  finished hand-rubbed table top or sit in a curvy chair that  fits your back just so. I think the face of woodworking is changing and all  I have to do is look in the mirror. Many more women are getting out into the  workshop and are not afraid to jump in and turn on the router or the table  saw. A diamond necklace is not the only gift to give to a woman on  anniversaries anymore 🙂  
3.  Why did you  decide to go into book writing along with your woodworking? 

I  was given this amazing opportunity to put all my thoughts and processes onto  about 200 pages and I jumped at the chance. Writing is another outlet for me to  explore this wonderful medium and to share it with other people and at the same  time learn a few things myself. I just feel overwhelmed with pride when I  get a heartfelt message from someone who has bought my book and is enjoying it  and actually putting it to work. 
4.  Tell us about  the process you went through to write Simply Wood. 

Since I had to cover so much over the pages of the book I had to  come up with an organization tool just to keep my sanity and the deadline in my  sights. Since this was also my first attempt at writing a how-to book, I  really had no idea of where to start, so it did get a little overwhelming at  some points. The first thing I did was bring out my 18″ x 24″ sketch pad  and draw out columns and boxes on what I now call my legend, and I  just started putting all the projects, ideas and patterns in these boxes.  Since I am also such a visual person I actually printed  miniature versions of each pattern and taped them to the corresponding box  to see how everything would lay out. I also taped my legend to the wall, so that  I could see it everyday and make changes as needed. As for the in-progress  photography, I came up with a visual story board, to ensure that I  have completed all the steps needed for each project. This was a  tremendous aide to keep everything organized and on  schedule. 
5.  What is your  favorite project in this book and why? 

I  would have to say my favorite project in the book is the magnet board project in  the office accessory section. I love it because I brought 2 very dissimilar  materials together and I think it turned out quite well. I’m always on the  look-out for new materials that I can combine with wood or just to cut on  the scroll saw.  
6.  What do you  think is the most challenging project in the book and why? 

I  think the most challenging and most time consuming project in the book would  have to be the accent lamp project. Although the joinery I use is quite simple,  it must be precise for all the pieces to fit and there are many pieces to deal  with. I also think most people would be a little intimidated when it comes  to wiring a lamp, but it is easier than you think. With a little patience  and organization I am sure anyone can have a successful outcome…and  a gorgeous lamp to be proud of at the end.  
7.  What would you  tell someone who wanted to get started in woodworking? 

If  you do want to get into woodworking, start with using a few basic hand tools to  really get the feel for it. I started out with just some chisels, a mitre box  and handsaw and a hand drill. I made a much needed coffee table with just these  tools about 9 years ago and it is still standing and getting used everyday. 
8.  What  challenges have you had working in a career dominated by men? 

I  have been very fortunate that I have not had any major issues or  challenges so far. Although, I think as a woman in woodworking you have to  work twice as hard to prove that you are just as good or even better in  some cases than the guy next to you. At woodworking school I proved to be a  worthy peer among the men in the class and at the end of it we had and  still have a great respect for each other.      
9.  What advice do  you have for those of us who are going to try to do some of your  project? 

Please, if it doesn’t work out the first time, try again. Patience  is key. And also prepare for each and every project. Gather your tools and  materials and always have your cutting list on hand…and this is very  important… also know where your pencil is at all times!   🙂 
10.  What is your  favorite part of woodworking? 

I  would have to say cutting the joinery and as you bring the two mating pieces  together and it fits like a glove…wow that  is a great feeling!  But overall I would have to say  the process of designing…from a scroll saw pattern to a piece of  furniture.   
11.  What is the  most challenging project you have take on? 

The  most challenging project would have to be the chair I made for my graduation  from the Fine Furniture Program. It had very strict design guidelines. For  example, it had to be shippable and fit a certain box size. If it went over  and beyond those dimensions you had to make it so that it could be taken  apart and be shipped that way. It also had weight constraints and material usage  limitations.  And of course I had designed my chair with tapered curves and  very difficult dovetail joinery that landed on those curves. I call it my  “Chou” chair. The word Chou is the Kanji or Japanese translation for  butterfly. This name is fitting because of all the double dovetail or  better known as butterfly joinery I use in the chair. I am  still so amazed at the outcome and also of the sheer fact that I have  completed such a challenging project in a very short amount of time.   That’s the beauty of working with wood… you always find new ways to amaze  yourself. 
Now just some fun  questions 
Night owl or Early  Bird? 
Night owl 
Cake or  Cookies? 
Coke or  Pepsi? 
Coke all the way! 
Summer or  Winter? 
Black or  White? 
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions and shed some new light on woodworking for my readers!  I wish you the best of luck on all of the project you undertake.

My Review of Simply Wood:

I found this to be a very well written woodworking book.  I enjoyed that before even getting into the projects there is background about not only the author but woodworking in general.  I was very drawn to the cover and the projects in this book.  In reading the chapters prior to the actual project, the author’s love for woodworking and safety shine through.  There is personality and a lightness that I have not see in other woodworking books.  I also like that the projects are beautiful and seem like projects that anyone would love to have in their home or office.  The directions and tips for the projects are extremely well written and broken down into manageable segments.  I like that it is written in real world terms and not made more difficult that it has to be.  My favorite projects in this books are Celtic based.  I love them!  Overall, this is a great books full of fun projects!  Please check it out!

*Thank you to NetGalley and Traci Niese at Fox Chapel Publishing for the opportunity to review this book.  I was provided no compensation other than the copy of the book and all opinions are my own.