‘Mechanic’s Companion’ Now Available for Pre-publication Orders



I’ve now sent to the printer Peter Nicholson’s “Mechanic’s Companion”; it is scheduled to ship to my driveway in late June, then a few days later out to buyers (just as soon as I train the cats to wrap books…then give up and do it myself).

So, the online store for Rude Mechanicals Press (RMP) is now live (please excuse any initial hiccups). My modest goal is to release only a book or two per year for now, all of which will be of high quality and printed in the United States.

“Mechanic’s Companion” is among the classic tomes (and among the most readable) on woodworking and other building trades in the early 19th century (the first edition was published in 1812). Yet, with the exception of the well-known workbench from Plate 12, it doesn’t get as much attention as other early English technical books. That’s a shame, because it’s an invaluable and thorough treatment of techniques, with 40 plates that provide an excellent and detailed look at the tools of the time, along with a straightforward chapter on the geometry instruction necessary to the building trades.

Nicholson – unlike other technical writers of the time – was a trained cabinetmaker, who later became an architect, prolific author and teacher. So he writes (and writes well) with the authority of experience and clarity on all things carpentry and joinery. For the other trades covered – bricklaying, masonry, slating, plastering, painting, smithing and turning – he relies on masters for solid information and relays it in easy-to-understand prose. (The sections on wood-related trades are by far the most robust.)

There are, of course, online and print-on-demand versions of this book available, but I wanted a well-made, affordable copy that would last, and that one can take into the shop (but that still looks good on the shelf). This one is a scan of an 1845 edition that has been cleaned up in Photoshop, then printed a bit larger than the original for legibility.

This book is 6″x9″,  416 pages and printed on a natural acid-free paper, with just a hint of texture to evoke the look and feel of the original. The interior signatures are Smyth sewn (so the pages are durable but can be opened to relatively flat) and the hard cover is wrapped in cotton cloth and stamped in silver foil. The book is produced and printed entirely in the United States. It is built to last.

The price for Nicholson’s “Mechanic’s Companion” is $34, which includes domestic shipping.

P.S. For now, I cannot ship outside the U.S., but select retailers, including one in the U.K., have expressed interest in stocking this book. Please stay tuned! And know that RMP books will only ever be available direct from me and from reputable partners.


About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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15 Responses to ‘Mechanic’s Companion’ Now Available for Pre-publication Orders

  1. Kent Ryan says:

    Bourbon must’ve worked! The announcement that RMP is now open for business was very coherent. The ordering process a little familiar and flawless! I know that I will be satisfied with my purchase!
    All the best,
    Happy Customer

  2. Pat says:

    Congratulations on getting this going. Thanks for all the work keeping these techniques alive. Can’t wait to start reading the book. Let me know when you start printing Hobo Woodworker/Publishing bookmarks.

  3. Matthew Buntyn says:

    I’m glad that I never pulled the trigger on one of the copies sold on Amazon

  4. Pam says:

    Congratulations on your efforts! I was thrilled to read your post about the imminent dispersal of the product of your labours but then, having built my excitement about owning the first of a potential library of (magnificent) RMP offerings, you cast this Aussie woodworker into the darkness with the announcement in the last few lines. I’m very disappointed that your talented cats are unable to lick enough stamps for international mail! Very very disappointed…..

    • fitz says:

      I’m sure I’ll work it out to do International orders if I can’t find an Australian distributor…just not immediately!

  5. tsstahl says:

    Great! Now that book is done, can you do Nicholson files that cut flat and true? The ones in print now suck acidic paper, because they can’t cut it. 😉

  6. John Verreault says:

    Any distributors in Canada (Lee Valley comes to mind)?

  7. johncashman73 says:

    Ordered! I’m really looking forward to a good copy of this book. Any chance there will be a digital version as well?

  8. ikustwood says:

    Bravo!! Another one to add . It will be an honor !

  9. Kyle Barton says:

    First day back in the office after the fantastic class with Chris Williams and had to scratch that WWing itch by pre-ordering this classic book. I’m looking forward to reading/studying it.

  10. Paul Smith says:

    My cat says she can wrap book ha ha ha waiting with baited breath

  11. I’ve ordered my copy – fortunately I have a network of good buddies who will mule books, tools, and music paraphernalia across the globe to me. Can’t wait to read the book!

  12. don2laughs says:

    Hope you can BRING mine with you to LN on July 13th…..I’ll BE THERE!

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