Bicycle Building and Book Building

by | Nov 25, 2013

At a time when the return to hand-craftsmanship is often in the news and the community of design “makers” continues to grow, the custom bicycles built by Richard Sachs—and the attentiveness he brings to building them—are still a rare ideal. This same attentiveness is just as evident in what he calls the “pile“ of books he “built” for his list.

“The thread that runs through most of the books is one of focus,” writes Sachs in his book list introduction. “They’re about someone, or a staff of someones, or a family business with a long line of someones, all paying attention to detail. All the someones have their heads down trying to understand and tame the material, while simultaneously have their heads up thinking about ways to drive their past into a future. Many of the items written about here may seem like vestiges from another era, but I view them more as designs, crafted goods, and business models that are timeless. In the case of the titles that are not about making things, the same is true—the stories and their authors are beautiful to me.”

So, there are books on the finest of guitar makers and violin makers and watch makers—even gun makers. “I don’t really have any particular favorites,” Sachs says, “but the books about Jimmy D’Aquisto (guitar maker) and George Nakashima (woodworker) are the ones I’ve turned to more often, and over a longer time, than any of the others.”

Yet, Sachs continues, “I haven’t read any of the books on my list. But I have opened them hundreds, maybe thousands of times looking for inspiration or an answer. Each is like a friend, or a therapist, or even just good medicine that I turned to when I needed direction. And I think that fact is reflected in the work I do at my bench. It’s been said that I have built the same bicycle for decades, inferring that I am stuck in time. I don’t think I have ever built the same bicycle twice. I am not sure I’d ever want to build the same bicycle twice.” He notes about his books, “Every time I come back for visit, the results are different. No two alike.”

To read the complete book list, click here.



The preceding article originally appeared on Designers And Books.