Woodwork Joints: How They Are Set Out, How Made And Where used; With Four Hundred Illustrations And Index; Revised Edition
The Woodworker Series, Evans Bros., London
By William Fairham


"To be successful in woodwork construction the possession of two secrets is essential - to know the right joint to use, and to know how to make that joint in the right way."

"...written for the practical man...", Woodwork Joints is an essential resource for learning and improving hand tool skills.

Woodwork Joints, by William Fairham, a practical woodworker as well as an educator, is a title in the Woodworker Series published by Evans Bros., London, during the early 20th Century. Covering both the major and minor woodworking joints, Fairham provides clear, concise and well illustrated instructions on when to use and how to make joints for Carpentry, Joinery and Cabinet-Making.

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: The Toolemera Press (September 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780982532973
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches

Editorial Forward by Gary Roberts, Publisher - The Toolemera Press. The Woodworker Series; J. C. S. Brough

The Woodworker Series of books, first published by Evans Bros. of London during the early years of the 20th Century, were intended for instructors and students of Manual Arts classes. In many cases derived from articles first printed in The Woodworker, a monthly journal of craft also published by Evans, The Woodworker Series expanded upon the material of the journal to produce a classic series that remains applicable and valuable today.

William Fairham authored the majority of these titles, the complete list of which can be found in this reprint. Who Fairham was, from what town or city he came and where he worked is not yet known. From the introductory statements in various books of the series, it is clear the Fairham was what was known as a “practical woodworker”, meaning a practitioner of woodworking rather than a theorist. He is also described as being an Instructor in Technical Schools, most likely at one of the many British schools that featured Manual Arts as part of their classwork.

Fairham wrote the first edition of Woodwork Joints as well as this Revised Edition. The Revised Edition, comprehensively updated by Fairham, features illustrative line drawings and explanatory text for all of the major woodworking joints as well as those that are exotic or specific to a particular need.

Following Fairham came Charles Hayward, who also wrote for Evans Bros. In 1950, Hayward updated Woodwork Joints, as well as other books in the series, for Evans Bros. In comparing the two authors, it’s apparent the Hayward revisions were meant to update the book to meet the mid-20th Century needs of both avocational and vocational woodworker. Given the nearly 50 years between the publication dates of the two books, it’s quite likely Fairham had died by the time Evans Bros. chose to re-issue various titles of The Woodworker Series.

I prefer the books of William Fairham to those of Charles Hayward. Although both men were “practical woodworkers” and involved in education, Fairham’s approach to illustrating and discussing the methodology and application of woodworking techniques reflects the tenets of the Manual Arts movement to educate by clear, straightforward descriptions and demonstrations. Hayward can be unnecessarily complex in his descriptions, an approach I attribute to the influence of the mid-20th Century Machine Age society on the manual arts. The more complex a process was, the more important it must be. Our respect for handwork gave way to respect for the machine made craft, with the exception of that part of society that refused to give up on traditional ways.

Fairham provides those illustrations that are necessary for the student or instructor to understand what is intended. His text explains the reasoning behind the use or application of a given tool, technique or material with the understanding that the practitioner will benefit from the educational process of interpreting the content of the books rather than adhering to a strict set of guidelines. Fairham does not crowd his books with an excess of illustrations or descriptions, rather he urges the reader to use the information as the basis from which to create craftwork.

The Manual Arts Educational Movement

The Manual Arts movement saw handcrafts as a necessary element in the development of young men and women. The Manual Arts classes of the day used handcrafts to instruct the student in the development of concentration, physical coordination, imagination, dexterity, mathematics, spatial perception and intuitive reasoning. By the 1940’s such coursework became known as vocational education and by the 1960’s, was on the wane in both U.S. and European educational systems.