A Vernacular Furniture Pattern Book – Lost Art Press

When I set out to write, “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” my intent was to create a “pattern book” of vernacular furniture. The book didn’t turn out that way, which is sometimes how it goes. But during the research, Suzanne Ellison turned up a little book that fulfilled my original objective.

“A Craftsman’s Handbook: Henry Lapp” (Good Books) is a reproduction of 47 pages of a pattern book created by woodworker Henry Lapp (1862-1904). Lapp was an Amish furniture maker and hardware store owner in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

His book is filled with more than 100 designs that he made for customers on the farms and in the towns surrounding him. Each one is drawn in pencil and then painted in watercolor.

These pieces represent an excellent cross-section of the vernacular pieces common in the Americas during the 19th and early 20th century. You could spend your whole lifetime building these pieces and pretty much find contentment (both for you and your customers).

The little book is 4-3/4” x 8” is nicely printed on uncoated paper, but it is unfortunately perfect bound. Mine fell apart shortly after it arrived. Despite this flaw, it is an excellent addition to your library if you are interested in vernacular furniture. Highly recommended.

— Christopher Schwarz

p.s. There are a couple versions of this book out there. I don’t know how the others are bound.

p.p.s. You can read more about Lapp in this post from Suzanne Ellison (aka the Saucy Indexer).

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