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Forum topic by Matt posted 08-31-2015 03:02 AM 818 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Matt

137 posts in 1345 days


08-31-2015 03:02 AM

Since I’ve become more serious about woodworking in the last few years, I’ve begun to read and collect books related to the topic. I’m always searching for a book to read but find the selection in book stores limited. So, I think it would be helpful for those of us who like to read to have a thread where we can discuss and find woodworking books. Any books related to trees, tools, lumber, and any sort of woodworking are welcome.

I’ll start with my favorites, which range from manuals to memoirs and cover joinery, carpentry, and history.

Audel’s Carpenter’s and Builder’s Guide, 1939 Edition.- A good old ‘how to’ series. Has a section on excavation using pick, shovel, and horse.

The Anarchist’s Tool Chest, by Chris Schwarz- Has a lot of info on tools and includes detailed plans on building the (in)famous tool chest.

The Essential Woodworker, by Robert Wearing- This is with me in the shop, always.

Country Furniture, by Aldren Watson- This is a nice mix of ‘how to’ and history. Watson’s description of the country furnituremaker’s shop reminds me of mine and I’m sure others on this site could relate to it, too.

A Carpenter’s Life as Told by Houses, by Larry Haun- This is Haun’s memoir; while some might not agree with his philosopy, I’m sure all would be interested in the story of his life.

A Reverance for Wood, by Eric Sloane- A quick read on the importance of wood in early America. Sloane’s illustrations are reason enough to read this book.

Feel free to add your own favorites and suggestions to the list.


14 replies so far

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FancyShoes

506 posts in 826 days


#1 posted 08-31-2015 12:02 PM

The place i find the most wood working books are the half price book stores near me. I think the books are basically obsolete since there is so much good info online. I did buy one for building a canoe. I hope i can get that going soon!

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FellingStudio

93 posts in 1145 days


#2 posted 09-01-2015 01:40 AM

“The soul of a Tree” – Nakashima

“A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook” – Krenov

-- Jesse Felling - http://www.fellingstudio.com

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bearkatwood

1201 posts in 474 days


#3 posted 09-01-2015 02:06 AM

“A reverence for wood” is one of my favorites. Sloan also wrote “A museum of early american tools” that is a fun read. My Favorites by Krenov are “art of cabinet making”, “The impractical cabinet maker” and “with wakened hands” all good reads. Jeff miller has “The foundations of better woodworking” and “Chair making and design”. I suppose it all depends on what avenue of woodworking you want to pursue. I think it is a good idea to start with an old textbook from a wood shop class. I have found a few of them from years ago that are very comprehensive. For the philosophical approach there is Nakashima, Krenov or history with books from Roubo, Moxon, Flabien, Shereton, Chippendale and Hepplewhite. A very comprehensive manual that is more modern is “Woodworking wisdom and know-how” by fine woodworking. I have shelves of reference books in the shop and almost all of the fine woodworking issues, but I keep my favorites books by my computer. Every room in my house has a woodworking book or magazine laying around. Very fun thread, something I can definitely relate to. I look forward to more discussion on this one.

-- Brian Noel

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bearkatwood

1201 posts in 474 days


#4 posted 09-01-2015 02:09 AM

I forgot my Pictures


-- Brian Noel

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bearkatwood

1201 posts in 474 days


#5 posted 09-01-2015 02:10 AM



I forgot my Pictures


Notice the bookends ;)

- bearkatwood


-- Brian Noel

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Matt

137 posts in 1345 days


#6 posted 09-01-2015 02:37 AM

I’ll have to add these suggestions to my amazon wish list.

I’ve also flipped through ‘A Museum of Early American Tools.” I’ve been meaning to pick up Watson’s hand tool book; I’ve seen Paul Sellers recommends it so it must be good!

Brian- Those are cool bookends. I’m working on my book case now and am in need of some, myself.

I just finished “Making Aunthentic Shaker Furniture” by John G. Shea. It included a ton of pictures and measured drawings of Shaker pieces, as well as a lot of info on Shaker craftsmanship.

‘Classic American Furniture’ by Chris Schwarz and editors of Woodworking Magazine, has some good Shaker and Arts & Crafts projects. Besides plans, the authors also include a good bit of background info on the furniture itself.

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bearkatwood

1201 posts in 474 days


#7 posted 09-01-2015 11:53 AM

Hi Matt,
Admittedly most all of my books lack measured drawings for furniture save a few here and there. They are targeted more to the concepts of woodworking. One book I didn’t mention, but can’t recommend highly enough is Peter Galberts “Chairmaker’s Notebook”. I am a chairmaker so it is obviously one of my favorites, but it shares a good core understanding of wood movement and what is required to make a good piece of furniture. Over the last four years I have received many orders for furniture based solely on a photograph and I had to deconstruct them and build them with sometimes just one view of the piece. It is fairly straight forward with a desk or chair as those base measurements (29-30” for a table/desk and 16-17.5” for a chair) are pretty consistent. It is a good skill to learn if you ever see something in a photo you would like to build, you can make your own plans. Another good book is Walker and Tolpins’ “By hand and Eye”. It talks about proportions and ratios concerned with making a piece that is pleasing to the eye. Your coffee table turned out beautiful by the way. I have made a few pieces where I tried to showcase the pith pockets and defects of the wood to show its’ flaws and some people just don’t like it, they think it is by mistake or poorly done. I think it shows the truth of the wood. Hope you get some great books. Best of luck.
Brian

-- Brian Noel

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Matt

137 posts in 1345 days


#8 posted 09-02-2015 03:12 AM

Brian,

Thanks! I really wanted to showcase the beauty and character of the lumber cherry in the coffee table. I also had a small supply of cherry to choose from, so I decided to make the best use of the two pieces with the bark inclusion. I’ve started thinking about a serving-type table to match it. I like the project books and books with a lot of drawings because they give me ideas, which I can adapt to the lumber I have on hand. All the cherry I have is in short pieces, around 4’ long mostly. I’m finding that it’s teaching me to think about how I use each piece in the project.

‘By Hand and Eye’ and ‘A Chairmaker’s Notebook’ are also on my long list to read. ‘Furniture of Necessity’ also looks to be really interesting; I think it comes out next year and has a few chair projects in it.

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bearkatwood

1201 posts in 474 days


#9 posted 09-02-2015 12:12 PM

I will look for that one. Gary Rogowski told me he is working on a new book too, I don’t know when it will come out though.

-- Brian Noel

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Bluepine38

3341 posts in 2547 days


#10 posted 09-02-2015 04:28 PM

My favorite books are Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop”, “The Woodwright’s Companion” and
“The Woodwright’s Work Book”. He starts with the tree and gives you a good history of woodworking
and explains how to do most woodworking and how to make the tools necessary. I still enjoy going back
re reading his books.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

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darinS

678 posts in 2330 days


#11 posted 09-02-2015 06:36 PM

If you want to read online, try https://archive.org/

A lot of what you find there you can download in different formats or read online. Good way to load up a kindle or e-reader.

Can also try some of these:
http://www.wkfinetools.com/mLibrary/mLibrary_index-1.asp

http://www.evenfallstudios.com/woodworks_library/woodworks_library.html#Shop%20Mathematics%20and%20Calculation

http://toolemera.com/Books%20%26%20Booklets/library-sharpeni.html

http://www.forgottenbooks.com/Technology_and_Engineering/Carpentry

-- They say many people die because of alcohol. They never realized how many of them are born because of it.

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bearkatwood

1201 posts in 474 days


#12 posted 09-02-2015 09:28 PM

View Matt's profile

Matt

137 posts in 1345 days


#13 posted 09-14-2015 03:29 AM

Just finished “Oak: The Frame of Civilization,” by William Bryant Logan. It discusses the significance of oak throughout history. It was pretty interesting and a fun read. Oak isn’t the biggest or strongest tree in the world, but it really is the most prolific tree as far as usage by us for use in construction, furniture, heating (firewood and charcoal), and a variety of other things from food to ink. I recommend this to anyone who likes to read about social and natural history.

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Matt

137 posts in 1345 days


#14 posted 09-18-2015 02:31 PM

Here’s another: Eric Sloane’s “American Barns and Covered Bridges.” You might tell from the title this book doesn’t cover furniture building. However, it’s full of information on the old ways of building barns and bridges. It discusses tools, lumber selection (including lumber while the tree still stands) and is full of American folklore and long-forgotten history. It’s full of really nice drawings of barns, bridges, and tools. It’s a good read for anyone interested in how things were built back in the early days of America.

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