What is Woodworking?
Woodworking is your route to creating beautiful and useful items from wood. It’s a process that involves cutting, shaping, and joining pieces of wood to make everything from furniture to decorative pieces. Imagine turning a lump of wood into a stunning, handcrafted coffee table. Yes, that’s the craft.
It’s an intricate craft that may seem daunting at first, but anyone can learn it with the right guide, patience, and practice. Exciting, isn’t it? Now, go grab your kit and bring your ideas to life.
Importance of Woodworking Books
Beginner woodworking books can be your best friend as a newcomer looking to navigate this rich craft. Here are a few reasons why they’re your perfect workshop companion:
- Comprehensive Woodworking guides: You’ll find detailed help, illustrations, and diagrams useful for honing your basic skills. Think of books like your personal trainer, directing your movements step-by-step.
- Expert views: Books let you access the minds of expert woodworkers, which can save you from potential pitfalls.
- Progression in Difficulty: As your skills grow through practice, the projects presented in these books rise in difficulty, too, pushing your boundaries.
- Familiarity with Tools: You’ll learn each tool’s best uses and applications, which helps advance your woodworking achievements.
Remember, woodworking is a journey best travelled with a good book. They provide a goldmine of information and instructions to help you navigate your projects.
Expert advice comes in handy on setting up your woodworking shop, the basics of design, and a complete step-by-step guide to essential woodworking skills. Experienced woodworkers can rev up their skills with tips on building jigs, joints, and essential finishing touches.
Best Woodworking Books for Joinery
1. The Complete Book of Woodworking
If you are looking for one of the best woodworking books for beginners focused on making joints, “The Complete Book of Woodworking” has you covered. A classic by Tom Carpenter that’s been around for decades, and despite being a bit dated, there’s no denying its value.
- Coverage of both hardwoods and softwoods.
- Walk throughs on using hand and power tools.
- Rich information on jointing, bonding, laminating, and fastening.
- Beginner friendly yet suitable for advanced people too.
- More than 1,200 enriching pictures.
- Detailed information on safety and tool usage.
- Covers the basics of woodworking and making furniture.
- Has an array of home furnishing project plans.
- Information could be a bit dated.
- It may be overwhelming for a newcomer.
- Some may consider it excessive.
- Not updated since its publication in 2001.
As for pricing, it’s quite affordable, considering its comprehensiveness. Remember, knowledge is an investment!
2. The Woodbook: The Complete Plates
“The Woodbook: The Complete Plates” is a gem in the world of woodworking. Fourteen volumes were originally published between 1888 and 1913. It’s your go-to resource if you want to know about types of wood and properties on a deep level.
- Real wood specimens for each entry.
- Detailed descriptions of wood properties.
- Alphabetical arrangement of woods.
- A visual and tactile comprehension of different woods.
- It takes a deep dive into each wood’s origins and physical characteristics.
- Analysing and determining the best woods for woodworking.
- Alphabetical ordering of woods for convenience.
- A complete collection of American samples.
- While super informative, it’s not a tutorial book.
- The descriptions can sometimes be overly technical.
- More a reference book than a ‘how-to.’
- No project guides.
- It focuses specifically on American woods, which may limit its use internationally.
Price note: Look around! This is the book you need, just remember to wipe the drool.
3. Bill Hylton’s Power-Tool Joinery
Bill Hylton’s Power-Tool Joinery is a book for woodworkers of all levels. Ideal for learning the art even if you aren’t constructing joints routinely.
- Easy-to-read style.
- Detailed descriptions with helpful pictures.
- Focus on the use of power equipment.
- Insightful coverage of joint-making techniques.
- Specific guidance.
- Suitable for all skill levels.
- Real-world applications of usage.
- Excellent visual aids.
- Authored by the highly proficient Bill Hylton.
- Without a focus on manual methods.
- Might not appeal to traditionalists.
- Absence of real woodwork understanding.
- Limited focus on variations in wood characteristics.
Note: Pricing details can be found on Amazon. All in all, a great resource for honing your fundamental skills.
4. Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop
“Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop“, penned by the notable Nick Offerman, is your go-to guide for a fun-filled adventure.
Notable features include:
- A comedic yet, educational writing.
- Coverage of fundamental woodworking projects.
- True stories of Offerman’s woodworking experiences.
- Ideal book for beginners with top-notch tips and tricks.
- Insights into classic woodworking techniques.
- Makes woodworking enjoyable and less daunting.
- Offerman’s insightful anecdotes and stories.
- Jam-packed with high-quality illustrations.
- Not focused on powered tools.
- Deals primarily with traditional techniques.
- Insufficent scope for advanced woodworkers.
- Slants towards autobiography.
- Less focus on modern woodworking technology.
Price-wise, it is good value for money, considering the blend of knowledge and entertainment it provides. Use it as your light-hearted companion in your journey.
5. The Complete Guide to Joint-Making
“The Complete Guide to Joint-Making” is your ultimate joint book. It has in-depth information, so an excellent choice for novices and experts.
- Instructional photo essays.
- Wide spectrum of building options.
- Guidelines to choose the right joint.
- Detailed: Each step is laid out with easy-to-follow photos.
- Comprehensive: 35 types of joints, from simple to challenging.
- Useful: Includes advice on choosing the right joint based on various factors.
- Modern: It showcases a contemporary approach to cabinetry.
- Expert: Written by renowned master craftsman John Bullar.
- Not suitable for advanced users looking for specialized solutions.
- May be overwhelming for total beginners.
- Inadequate coverage of power tools and their setup.
- Might get redundant for experienced carpenters.
- Could do with a more precise index for easier reference.
Pricing: Rest assured, this investment won’t gather dust. It should be a perm fixture for any novice woodworker’s collection!
6. The Workbench Design Book
Looking for the ultimate guide to wood joinery? Your search ends with “The Workbench Design Book” by Christopher Schwarz. Perfecting just one core topic – construction of 9 workbenches, the go-to manual for any new woodworking enthusiast.
- Detailed explanations of procedures.
- Wide range of nine designs and critiques another ten.
- User-friendly approach.
- Essential workbench guide to design.
- Excellent for all skill levels.
- Insightful author expertise.
- Packed with useful advice.
- Lacks modern examples.
- Not a variety guide.
- May be too detailed for hobbyists.
- Could use more visuals.
An investment, available new or used on Amazon, that pays off in honed skills.
7. Cabinet Making and Millwork
“Cabinet Making and Millwork” opens up the enthralling world of woodworking, specifically cabinet making and joining the components. Renowned as a comprehensive guide for beginners and professionals.
- Selection of projects.
- High-quality diagrams and images.
- Extensive coverage on tools and materials.
- Inspiring and easily understood.
- Methods and their use in practice.
- Wide spectrum of projects.
- A hands-on guide to tools.
- Suitable for all skill stages.
- Assumes prior know how of woodworking basics.
- Few modern day topics.
- Some photos may seem old-fashioned.
- Writing style might be overly complicated for some.
- Might be overwhelming for absolute beginners.
Note: While pricing can differ, it typically stays affordably within reach, offering great value for its in depth content.
8. A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook
“A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook” will teach you all you need to know about the art and crafts of woodworking.
Its top insights include:
- Deep reflections on the cabinet makers craft.
- Detailed guides for less experienced workers.
- Inspirational for enthusiasts in every medium.
- Penned by a skilled cabinetmaker.
- Suitable for newcomers since it begins with the fundamentals.
- Has specialized work for further learning.
- Inspires with working drawings.
- Encapsulates cabinetmaking as a philosophy & way of life.
- It’s more philosophical, less technical.
- Might be too basic for woodworking veterans.
- Absence of genre classification.
- Contains specialised terminologies.
- The inspirational tone might not appeal to all.
Pricing wise, check out Amazon or Abebooks for the best deals.
9. Encyclopedia of Furniture Making
No kidding, “Encyclopedia of Furniture Making” is a rockstar of great woodworking literature. The top choice for learning the art of fitting pieces together.
Top features of this essential tome:
- Coverage of European furniture construction.
- Detailed drawings and photographs.
- Experience-based writing.
- Lots of details about furniture design.
- Real-world construction practises.
- Large variety of furniture projects inspiration.
- Constant updates with the latest techniques.
- Introduces furniture restoration.
- May be too complicated for beginners.
- Focused mostly on old European styles.
- Lacks a digital edition.
- Only handmade furniture.
- One possible criticism is the cost.
Speaking of price, it leans towards the expensive side but considering the info-packed pages, a worthy investment!
10. The Complete Illustrated Guide To Joinery by Gary Rogowski
Consider “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery” by Gary Rogowski for your starter guide in joinery. This book on wood joinery is not only informative and insightful but is incredibly user-friendly.
- Step-by-step photo essays.
- Over 1,400 pictures.
- All building types covered.
- Up-to-date on tools and methods.
- Great for beginner skill level.
- Tailors to the type of project and available tools.
- A modern visual approach.
- Both simple and complex joinery.
- Relatable and easy-to-read.
- Less of a step-by-step guide.
- Too detailed for basic projects.
- High resolution visuals may not be needed for some.
- Not ideal for quick referencing.
Note: Pricing can vary, but worth every penny for its broad coverage.
Best Woodworking Books for Carpentry
1. Great Book Of Woodworking Tips
The “Great Book of Woodworking Tips” is a treasure chest for woodworking enthusiasts. From views on like bandsaws and drill presses to the intricacies of gluing and sanding, it’s your ultimate go-to guide.
- Recommendations on woodworking tools.
- 650 suggestions on glueing, sharpening, and more.
- Good graphics for easy retention.
- Organized pages for referencing.
- Encyclopedic information.
- Useful illustrations.
- Coverage of common pitfalls.
- Handy tips for lone individuals.
- 650+ solutions to woodworking problems.
- Some repetition of ideas.
- Limiting focus on woodworking philosophy.
- Less attention to hardwood and softwood distinction.
- No advice on workshop setup.
- Might be overwhelming for beginners.
Considering the wealth of information, pricing is reasonable and big bang for your buck. Remember, it’s about quality, not quantity!
2. Understanding Wood Finishing
Hey there, if you’re into books on woodworking, “Understanding Wood Finishing” should be top on your reading list. Trust me, it’s not just another woodworking book for beginners. It’s detail and expansive knowledge have earned it the unofficial title of the ‘finishing bible’.
Take a look at these book features:
- Up-to-date data of wood finishing.
- Contains over 300 illustrative visuals.
- Deep-dive explanations.
- Includes more than forty reference tables and troubleshooting guides.
- Comprehensive book, no stone unturned.
- Nice-to-read format.
- Useful for advanced woodworkers.
- Well-structured format.
- Renowned author Bob Flexner has vast experience in the field.
- Not the most exciting book on finishes.
- Some may think it is too detailed.
- Not the simplest of formats.
- Lacks light, engaging stuff to read.
A must-read, but keep in mind that good writing doesn’t come cheap. Check out the price on Amazon.
3. Understanding Wood: A Craftsman’s Guide to Wood Technology
Hey there, builder! If you’re looking for a top-notch book to beef up your woodworking game, ‘Understanding Wood: A Craftsman’s Guide to Wood Technology‘ should be on your radar. Why?
- A classic thoroughly tried and tested.
- Popular among pros and hobbyists alike, and has been for 40 years!
- It combines science and love for woodworking, written by a scientist who is also a woodworking enthusiast.
- It’s continually updated, incorporating modern materials like composite and adhesives.
- It’s incredibly visual, with over 300 pics detailing each process.
- Outlines the basics of wood technology.
- Detailed information on wood properties.
- Delivering opinions on contemporary materials.
- Contains numerous illustrative photos.
- Acts as an essential guide during project work.
- May be too detailed for beginners.
- The wealth of information, while useful, can be overwhelming.
- Focused more on theory than on hands-on practice.
- This may be a tad dry for some readers.
- The scientific approach may not resonate with everyone.
It’s priced under $30 on Amazon, which is pretty reasonable given its value. So, whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or just starting out, consider adding this to your toolbox!
4. Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Woodworking
Looking for a comprehensive guide to working with wood? “Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Woodworking” is a gem in the realm of carpentry books. Often regarded as a great reference book on the subject due to its:
- Detailed discussions on various types of timber.
- Expert guidelines on hand and power tools.
- Thoroughness spread over 448 pages.
- Lavish with full-color photos and easy-to-follow steps.
- An extensive overview of woodworking essentials.
- Specific suggestions on measuring, marking, and layout.
- The book covers everything from setting up a workshop to finishing.
- Includes project plans.
- Clear, easy-to-understand instructions.
- Discussions might feel tedious to some.
- Contains trade terms not clarified for less familiar readers.
- The price can be steep.
- The exhaustive aspect could be redundant for experienced carpenters.
That said, notably, the investment in this book pays off in terms of knowledge and skills. It’s a worthy addition to your woodworking library!
5. Projects for your Shop
Ready to tackle some nifty new tasks for your very own workshop? “Projects for Your Shop: Building Your Own Workshop Essentials” is a must-have guide. It’s like having an expert woodworker on speed dial!
Top book features:
- A highly detailed guide on building your own workshop equipment.
- It includes beginner-friendly to complex projects.
- Strategies provided for work engagement.
- Deep dive into design essentials.
- Essential for beginners.
- Build economic and customized equipment.
- Details step-by-step detailed instructions.
- Creates long-term engagement with assignments.
- An expansive familiarity with design aspects.
- Might be too simplistic for trained pros.
- Minimal focus on pre-made equipment.
- The complexity of tasks might intimidate beginners.
- Engagement strategies might not work for everyone.
- The aesthetic details might be unnecessary for hobbyists.
These books may cost more, but the timeless skills and unending inspiration are worth it. Their prices vary depending on a used or new book and available discounts.
6. Measure Twice Cut Once
“Measure Twice, Cut Once” is your go-to woodworking bible from the “popular woodworking magazine” stable.
- Written by professional woodworker Jim Tolpin.
- It holds valuable recommendations on measurement principles.
- It helps you through every stage of woodworking.
- Introduces you to an array of tools.
- Techniques to correct mistakes.
- Good explanations make learning easier.
- It conveys essential woodworking techniques.
- Suggestions on preventing and correcting errors.
- The author’s background lends credibility.
- It suggests a wide range of useful tools.
- Skilled carpenters may find some of these methods overly simple.
- Overlapping information can appear repetitive.
- Advanced techniques could be challenging for beginners to master.
- Limited illustrations could be a downside.
- Reliance on specific tools may not suit those with little equipment.
For those looking to improve their woodworking abilities, it’s money well spent.
7. Getting Started in Woodworking
- Insightful on setting up your workshop.
- Fundamentals of woodworking.
- Tips on recommended tools for the beginner.
- A complete guide on executing a range of tasks.
- It covers safety measures you should take.
- Guides tool usage extensively.
- Versatile; helpful for different proficiency stages.
- Contains over a thousand color photographs.
- Home furnishing projects.
- The sheer breadth of it may be intimidating to some beginners.
- The section on modern workbenches might not apply to all.
- It assumes a basic background of the crafts.
- The wealth of knowledge contained inside it might be overwhelming.
- Pricing could be considered high by some.
Note: Although it’s a thorough guidebook, it might hurt your pocket a bit. But hey, for such guidance, it’s worth it.
8. Wood: Identification and Use: Identification & Use
“Wood: Identification and Use” is your go-to guide for everything about the nature of wood, so a top choice for carpenters. It’s a broad source of knowledge enriched with interesting points about wood properties.
- Forests of samples to learn from.
- Details on each type.
- Practical guidance.
- Detailed insight on the properties
- Useful for all experience levels.
- In-depth descriptions.
- Easy to understand format.
- Highly durable.
- Lack of modern tool coverage.
- Advanced users might find parts repetitive.
- The hardcover book is heavy.
- Pricier than other books due to its unique attributes.
Take note, this book’s price tag reflects its incredible value to carpenters.
9. Simply Stairs: The Definitive Handbook for Stair Builders
“Simply Stairs: The Definitive Handbook for Stair Builders” is a carpenter’s ultimate guide, making it a top pick in DIY woodworking books. It effectively translates complex subjects into simple terms.
- Step-by-step instructions on stair building.
- Explanations about different types of stairs.
- Graphics and illustrations for better ability to understand.
- Tips and tricks from industry experts.
- Thourgh: It has everything, from getting started to detailed execution.
- Effective: Putting Theories into Practise
- Reader-friendly: The language is plain and easy to follow.
- Visual aids: Its graphics help understand better.
- Advice: It shares handy inspiration from professionals.
- Niche focused: It’s primarily focused on stairs, limiting its scope.
- No beginner’s section: Beginners might find it hard at first.
- Limited designs: More variety of staircases would’ve been better.
- Traditional methods: It doesn’t focus on modern building processes.
- No digital copy: There’s no eBook version available.
The book is affordable and available for purchase, both new and used on Amazon.
10. Decorative Routing: Jigs and Techniques by Jack Cox
“Decorative Routing: Jigs and Techniques” by Jack Cox, is a quintessential guide for any carpenter hungry to expand their joinery and carpentry skills. Whether you’re a woodworking amateur or an expert, this book contains detailed plans that make complex techniques seem simple.
- Broader range of joint techniques covered.
- Details on setup and equipment.
- Practical application of learned skills.
- Coverage of basic power tools.
- Good instructions.
- Detailed descriptions make complex woodwork joints straightforward.
- Various approaches appealing to different degrees of expertise.
- Clear visuals supporting written instructions.
- Focus on using electrical tools.
- Emphasis on everyday life skills, not just theory.
- May not be for absolute beginners.
- Lack of focus on hand-tool techniques.
- Could provide more variations on each joint type.
- Not all joints used commonly in every region are covered.
- Some might find too much focus on how to make jigs and joints.
Best Woodworking Books for Tools
1. The Handplane Book
The Handplane Book is a treasure trove for woodworking enthusiasts like you. It’s got all you need to know about handplanes, from buying to tuning to using. Let’s delve into what’s inside:
- Instructional Handbook for Handplanes.
- Covers all key points.
- Fascinating historical insights.
- Tips on buying and tuning handplanes.
- Showcases unique tools globally.
- Historical angles.
- Focus on planes from the Golden Era.
- Limited to handplanes.
- No digital version is available.
- Lack of updates.
- Might be technical for newbies.
It’s available online, priced reasonably for the wealth of knowledge it has. Grab a copy now!
2. Made by Hand by Tom Fidgen
- Interactive guide to hand-tool woodworking.
- Six detailed projects.
- Hints on learning tool utilization.
- Excellent insights into tool functions.
- Accompanying DVD tutorial.
- Strong focus on craftsmanship.
- Brill insight on device operation.
- In-depth walk-through projects.
- Added video aids.
- Good for everybody.
- Too centered on edged tools.
- Small variety of projects.
- Might be too basic for pros.
- Could lack modern digital techniques.
- Not focused on design aesthetics.
Won’t pinch your budget either! It’s reasonably priced for the wealth of knowledge it comes with.
3. Working Wood 1 & 2: The Artisan Course With Paul Sellers
Looking to sink your teeth into a woodworking project but not sure which guidebook to follow? Say hello to the Artisan Course “Working Wood 1 & 2” by Paul Sellers. This tool-focused treatise is a crowd favourite, perfect for newbies and competent handymen.
- Concise instructions on building a sturdy piece of furniture.
- How to make amazing things with only basic hand tools.
- In-depth knowledge of different types of wood.
- Walkthroughs of various handmade things.
- Authored by Paul Sellers, a legend with 40 years of woodworking experience.
- Rich in visual aids with over 800 color images.
- Covering now popular, standards and techniques.
- Comprehensive guides.
- Special focus on traditional tools for learners.
- A bit costlier than most bestselling books about woodworking.
- No focus on electric devices in this book.
- Some techniques might be too traditional for modern wood work lovers.
- The detailed nature of the book might overwhelm a learner.
- Availability issues for paperback editions in some areas.
Remember, good stuff often comes with a price, and this two-book set is no different. But isn’t it worth investing in the best guide to your woodworking journey? Trust us. It is.
4. The Essential Woodworker
“The Essential Woodworker” by Robert Wearing is a must-have for any serious woodworking enthusiast. Lauded for its detailed instructional prowess, you’ll find no shortage of reasons why it tops the list.
Some of its striking characteristics include:
- 500 hand-drawn plates.
- Clear insights on essential tools and operations.
- Inclusive coverage of sawing and planing techniques.
- Practical for acquiring woodworking expertise.
- Expert advice to help you become a master woodworker.
- Detailed knowledge of tools’ usage.
- Broad range of topics and techniques covered.
- Additional ideas offered to hone skills.
- Vintage feel with drawn images. Don’t let that put you off.
- Older publication, may feel outdated.
- Targeted at serious enthusiasts, might be overwhelming for beginners.
- Presentation can seem densely packed.
- Non-color visuals.
- Might be too detailed for hobbyists.
For a classic, its price is reasonable around $30. Despite the cons, it’s still a favourite that will improve your craftsmanship.
5. Making and Mastering Wood Planes
“Making and Mastering Wood Planes” stands out as top-notch in the sea of woodworking literature. It’ll turn any novice into an expert, a must-have in your collection.
The top features of this book are:
- Empowering readers to make their own planes, even a weekend rookie can manage it.
- A wealth of basic information.
- Solid grounding in the fundamentals of fine woodworking.
- Recognized by woodworking experts (listed on Toolerable and Mike’s Woodworking Projects).
- Hands-on approach.
- Discusses hardwood characteristics.
- Detailed illustrations for basic furniture projects.
- Focused on traditional woodworking skills.
- The third print might not have updated techniques.
- Doesn’t discuss motorised tools.
- May be dense for newbies.
- Does not talk about advanced projects.
- Not widely available online.
Expect to find it on Amazon as a used paperback. The price of this book is justified by the wealth of knowledge it contains.
6. Router Magic: Jigs, Fixtures, and Tricks to Unleash Your Router’s Full Potential
Getting hooked on all aspects of woodworking? It’s time you laid hands on “Router Magic: Jigs, Fixtures, and Tricks to Unleash Your Router’s Full Potential.” This go-to pick unravels nifty tool strategies, chiefly for cabinetry setup. Here’s why it’s a must-read:
- Showcases diverse joint types.
- The instructions are given in great detail.
- Offers valuable viewpoints on using accessories and fittings.
- Chock-full of practical tips and helpful pointers.
- Comprehensive directions.
- Practical gadgets and help.
- Versatile tips.
- Accessible for different abilities.
- Affordable, with free Kindle option.
- Might be tool-specific for newbies.
- Requires basic woodworking knowledge.
- Limited focus on other power tools.
- Might overwhelm a newbie.
- Not a general beginner’s guide.
Available for less than $2 with shipping included, or free via the Amazon Kindle Library!