About a month ago, I saw a post on the SAPFM Forum by Tom Meiller about a memorial book he had written on Gene Landon. I didn't know a lot about Mr. Landon, other than that he had taught woodworking at Olde Mill Cabinet Shoppe in Pennsylvania, he was a very respected woodworker, and that he had passed in June of 2011.
I clicked on the link that took to the site where the book was for sale, a print on demand publishing company and saw the price. A bit steep for me at $79.95. I also saw that they had a preview button that you could click on. The 13 or so pages in the preview were enough to convince me that this book was worth taking a chance on. And boy am I glad I did.
I feel this book is worth the price just for the pictures alone. Over 300 by my count, most in color, all beautifully done. The pictures were taken in Gene's home, Seven Hearths, which he built in the 1970's but looks every bit like it was built 200 years earlier. The house is a fantastic backdrop for his amazing furniture. The text is not extensive, but it is well done and gives you a glimpse at what an amazing craftsman and an amazing PERSON that Gene Landon was. He was one of the premier builders of period reproduction furniture and has pieces that he built or restored in museums across the country and even in The White House. One piece he did that I found fascinating was a replica of the rising sun chair in which George Washington sat in during the Constitutional Convention in 1787.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm sure it's one that I will reference again and again for inspiration and ideas. I came away with am immense respect and admiration for Mr. Landon's work and for who he was as a person. After reading this book, I am saddened that I never had the chance to take a class from this giant of woodworking and just as sad that I never had the opportunity to meet a man who was obviously a very special human being.
Congratulations and kudos to Tom Meiller for a fine job in putting this book together. I only wish that it was available in a leather bound edition, which would be fitting for a book containing these works of art.