Our book Home Carpentry by John Barnard includes advice and guidance on the basics of woodwork and carpentry for absolute beginners. It is set out in a logical order and provides information and plans for constructing the key elements of simple structures like Dad’s play house – windows and doors for example. After discussing the various types of wood, woodwork tools and how to use them, joints, lathe work, etc., the author begins his section on construction, sensibly enough, with a chapter on how to build the most crucial tool for all carpenters – a work bench.
The next chapter covers ‘Simple and Easy Constructional Woodwork’ and includes detailed instructions for making picture frames, roller blinds and curtain poles, a kitchen table, chairs, household steps and ladders, a clothes horse and flower stands and stages. Having mastered these simple items the amateur carpenter can then move on to the construction of a simple building like a garden shed (or a play house). The author focuses on the construction of simple gates, doors and windows and then goes on to describe the construction of more elaborate designs such as panelled doors and casement windows. Also, reflecting the time at which the book was written (1933) the section on windows includes very useful information on repairing that early form of air-conditioning, invented perhaps as early as the sixteenth century, the sash window (the author does not propose that the amateur carpenter actually constructs a sash window). For more information on the origins and value of sash windows for ventilation see
Tiny homes, garden sheds and other small buildings are very trendy in the USA and UK at the moment – both for living in and as places to pursue hobbies, to work in and, of course, to play in. For those who don’t want to spend what can be a great deal of money on a custom-built tiny home or garden office, there is plenty of inspiration around for those who want to construct their own very individual project in the back garden.
Our two woodwork titles, Woodwork Tools and How to Use Them and Home Carpentry, provide a wealth of practical advice for those who are also keen to use traditional tools and techniques in the construction of their own extraordinary or even eccentric small spaces. After all, the process of building your tiny home or garden retreat is all part of the fun, and working with natural materials is the Wabi Sabi way to wellbeing.