Best Books?

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Blog entry by Geedubs posted 11-17-2013 04:15 PM 1585 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

OK, I need some suggestions. I have surgery coming up that will require a long period of rehab…and an opportunity to do a lot of good reading. Here’s the question: What is the most helpful and interesting book on woodworking that you have ever read? Just post your answer…and if you are inclined, a brief note as to why this is book is your choice. THANKS!

-- Todos los dias aprendemos algo nuevo.

8 comments so far

View jdmaher's profile


459 posts in 3027 days

#1 posted 11-17-2013 05:36 PM

The Anarchist's Tool Chest, Christopher Schwarz.

It ain’t about the tool chest, its about what goes in there, and why.

Before this book, I spent 20 years as a hobbyist trying to figure out what power tool I needed to perform any operation; and what jig, and what setup, and how much scrap I’d use getting pieces to fit; and how I could do it with losing any fingers. After this book, I find many (most?) operations that are faster, easier and safer using hand tools.

Changed my woodworking world. Used to avoid hand tools because I believed I’d never have any skills. Now, ain’t so skilled, but definitely gettin’ it done and enjoying it far more.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

View stefang's profile


16711 posts in 3782 days

#2 posted 11-17-2013 05:43 PM

I’m not trying to be sarcastic here, but the best woodworking books I ever read were the ones that answered whatever woodworking questions I had at the time.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Bluepine38's profile


3386 posts in 3533 days

#3 posted 11-17-2013 09:12 PM

For a long rehab, I would go on Ebay/Amazon and buy Roy Underhill’s books, then James Krenov’s books.
First, I would go to local Library and see what they have in stock, you can read and decide what you like, and
buy what you want.

-- As ever, Gus-the 80 yr young apprentice carpenter

View ksSlim's profile


1301 posts in 3337 days

#4 posted 11-18-2013 12:20 AM

+1 on the library, most have a great selection of woodworking books.
You might even find a few selections from the old masters. Krenov, Maloof etc.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View clieb91's profile


3647 posts in 4382 days

#5 posted 11-18-2013 12:42 AM

So many choices, all depends on what you are most interested in. I will suggest two ideas though…

Home Building and Woodworking in Colonial America by C. Keith Wilbur.
Can truly make you appreciate what the early woodworkers had to go through in order to not only build home but simple smaller items. I bought my copy from

If you can find a decent priced collection of Deltagrams online.
These have a ton of fun projects even if some are dated they are a lot of fun to browse and get ideas from. You may even be able to find some online that you can download.

Hope all goes well and you can return to the shop fast.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View SPHinTampa's profile


567 posts in 4133 days

#6 posted 11-18-2013 07:39 PM

Depends on your bent:

Tool Porn
- Simon Nalzancky (sp?) – The Art of Fine Tools

Hand Tools:
- Garrett Hack’s books – Hand Planes and Classic Hand Tools
- Paul Sellers – Working Wood (better with DVDs)

Workbench and Tool boxes
- Chris Schwartz – Workbenches (his second book)
- Scott Landis – the workbench book
- Jim Tolpin – The Tool box book

- Leonard Lee – Guide to Sharpening
- Ron Hock – The Perfect Edge

Japanese Stuff
- Desmond King – Shoji and Kumiko Patterns (3 e books)
- Edward Turner – Making Japanese Style Laps

Period Furniture
- Frank Gottshall – How to Design Period Furniture, Making Furniture Masterpieces

- Bill Hylton – Woodworking with the Router

- Andy Crawford – The book of boxes (and his other book)

-- Shawn, I ask in order to learn

View Geedubs's profile


143 posts in 3677 days

#7 posted 11-18-2013 08:53 PM

Wow, great help so far guys! As I suspected, my challenge may be in narrow down the multiple quality offerings. The library suggestion is a good idea too since I can download books from the local library onto my iPad.

Thanks again!

-- Todos los dias aprendemos algo nuevo.

View Lynn Bradford.'s profile

Lynn Bradford.

71 posts in 2309 days

#8 posted 11-18-2013 11:23 PM

I found some old reprints that have taught me a few things about woodworking. The Practical Woodworker edited by Bernard E Jones is great. I have the Ten Speed press is a concise version of the 4-volume set Lost Art Press is selling. Mine is used from some linrary in California.

Another reprint is Modern Practical Joinery by Geo. Ellis. Great book written at the turn of the last century…20th century that is. Those two should keep you busy.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.


-- Lynn Bradford | Indiana | A poor excuse is better than none.

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