What are your favorite WW Books? Especially stories/philosophy---not just skills...

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Blog entry by Napaman posted 10-28-2009 07:12 PM 9078 reads 3 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Well I just researched via “tags” the book forums and there are a few on LJ’s…but they are mostly regarding skills books—-which makes sense for wood workers…

But recently I have been dreaming of building a boat…on a 5 year plan (if you look at my projects you will see I am not ready lol)...and so I have been getting lots of books at my local library…on boat building and other titles too…

But one of the books that I picked up is not a skills book per say…its more of a book about the re-building process and experience and I am really enjoying it…

The book is called “Sloop” by Daniel Robb and I am only into it about 35 pages…but I am enjoying it…this made me think there may be many other good reads out there that is more about the philosophy or experience of woodworking and not just the skills…or probably some good combo books with the skills and history or philosophy…of great wood workers…

So…what are your favorite WW reads that include a tale, some history or philosophy, etc…???

ANd hey——if you can help me on some BOAT BUILDING books that would be a bonus…


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

15 comments so far

View Mike Gager's profile

Mike Gager

665 posts in 4552 days

#1 posted 10-28-2009 07:35 PM

interesting topic.

i tried to think of something for an answer to your question but couldnt think of anything. however i did find an exact opposite. i read one of james krenovs books and found that i really didnt like his philosophy of woodworking. i know it sounds sacriledge, but i just didnt get it. some of his ideas and beliefs just didnt jive with me i guess. i mean its ok to love your wood, just dont LOVE your wood, know what i mean?

actually now that i think about it more i like reading books about the history of american arts and crafts furniture and gustav stickley. cant really name a book as theres many that ive read

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 5412 days

#2 posted 10-28-2009 08:14 PM

The Soul of a Tree by George Nakashima

-- 温故知新

View smartlikestick's profile


54 posts in 4863 days

#3 posted 10-28-2009 08:33 PM

I read “With Wakened Hands” by the late James Krenov. This book was not about skills, but about philosophy, craftsmanship and such. Any other excerpts I’ve read from JK have also had the same flavor. Not only was the man a craftsman in the truest sense of the word, but he really was a word smith too, capturing so much more than how to cut a dovetail or such.

-- -- Mike Beauvais

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5362 days

#4 posted 10-28-2009 10:36 PM

thanks everyone for the nice discussion…I just got back from the library with more boat building books lol…(my daughter has been sick and finally getting better so we went for a quiet outing)...

I will look into all the books…and notottoman I checked out the picasa link and it was great…but when I looked at the first link you gave me to antonio’s site it just took me to the LJ Jock page…so then i googled to “antmjr” it took me to a jock but he only had one project listed so not sure if it was the same person…

could you try sending me the link or the exact name of the jock so I can check out his stuff again…thanks!

again…thanks everyone…will keep reading…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4843 days

#5 posted 10-28-2009 11:18 PM

I read one of Krenov’s philosphy books, and it made me really work on my patience and appreciation for what’s in the wood, just waiting for you to let it out. I did think it was a little hippy-dippy. That’s about the only woodworking philosophy book I can think of. The rest of my books are things like the Stickley catalog, anything by Robert Lang, Darrell Peart, Popular Woodworking, and a bunch of coffee table books like “Motawi Tiles”, “The Worlds Best Sailboats, Vol 1 & 2” by Ferenc Mate, “Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die”, “How to Sail Around the World” by Hal Roth, anything by Beth Leonard, Jimmy Cornell’s “World Cruising Routes”, Bowditch, Dutton’s, Chapman’s Piloting & Seamanship, “Annapolis Book of Seamanship” by Rousmaniere (his other books are great too), etc.

As you can see, most of my reading is sailing related. I’m currently reading Bob Perry’s dissertation on his own designs, which is great. A Valiant 40/42 is on our short list. I read a whole slew of life raft survival stories a few years ago, but that got old.

As far as boat building goes, I helped my buddy Eric start a Shellback dinghy several years ago. I’ve got “Boatbuilding Manual – 4th Edition by Stewart” on my bookshelf, but have basically only perused it while working at West Marine on a rainy Tuesday when nobody comes in for hours.

I’ve always wanted to build a wooden boat, but am intimidated by the hours and investment. I think I’ll keep that dream alive on the “someday” shelf. With that being said Matt, go for it, and post pics! Hope the munchkin gets better soon.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View littlecope's profile


3133 posts in 4787 days

#6 posted 10-28-2009 11:36 PM

Although they’re not about Boat Building, I can’t recommend highly enough the works on Early Americana by Eric Sloane His books on early Weather Forecasting are fascinating as well. They’re profusely illustrated with the Author’s own delightful Pen & Ink drawings and very enjoyably written. Check ‘em out!! You won’t regret it…

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View JayPique's profile


61 posts in 4573 days

#7 posted 10-28-2009 11:38 PM

One of my all-time favourites is “The Village Carpenter” by Walter Rose. I’ve got an old copy, but I think it’s been re-printed (again). It’s sort of a memoir of a carpenter/woodworker back at the turn of the century….errrr…..the late 1800s early 19000s. Excellent read, I highly recommend it.


View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 4633 days

#8 posted 10-29-2009 12:43 AM

A list of books regarding the nature of woodworking would be incomplete if it didn’t include David Pye’s Nature Art Workmanship

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View ShopCat's profile


121 posts in 4864 days

#9 posted 10-29-2009 12:52 AM

George Sturt is a heavy one on the history/philosophy thing. If you read just one of his, The Wheelwright’s Shop should be it. While more historical than philosophical, it will make you think. Peter Korn gets philosophical a bit in Wookworking Basics. Jim Tolpin would also be on my list, although both Korn and Tolpin mix theirs in to what are books focused on technique.

My taste runs to the basic, being genetically linked to the Scottish Practical school. David Hume is a fave, but not for woodworking.

-- ShopCat

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5362 days

#10 posted 10-29-2009 02:52 AM

Thanks guys…these all sound really good…boat books, sailing books…and the history/philosphy just all sound good…I now have a loooong list…I have been reading one of Tolpin’s….like I said I have had a feeeew trips to the library and my wife is even noticing…

what is it about wives——even when its books…there is a complaint???? lol…

thanks again…this is fun for me…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 5491 days

#11 posted 10-29-2009 01:38 PM

Hello Matt;
....ah yes, books! Empty minds don’t read, they just simmer like a pot of soup.

Now days one of the lost arts is the that of reading a book from paper and actually turning pages, of course an-other lost art is that of actual letter writing….and forget emails as these are just spurts of time wasted space, in the world of cyber-space.

Now that I’ve got that one off my chest, let me congratulate you on this blog story//question.

1.) Books i have read on woodworking that have inspired me….the short list:
(a) Adirondack Furniture and the Rustic Tradition by Craig Gilborn:
(b)Adirondack Camps by Craig Gilborn:

2.) Books that have inspired me:
(a) the Bible
(b) The Art of War by Sun Tzu:
(c) The Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu:

3.) Books I am reading at this time on woodworking:
(a) Chinese Domestic Furniture in Photographs and Measured Drawings by Gustav Ecke:

4.) Other books I am reading at this time:
(a) Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami:
(b) Fergus Lamont by Robin Jenkins:
(c) The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng:

5.) Slow but on-going reads:
(a) The Mountain World:
(b) Walking The Gobi by Helen Thayer:

....and as I was saying this is the short list.

Once again Matt let me say thanks for such an interesting blog topic….;


-- --frank, NH,

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5362 days

#12 posted 10-30-2009 05:37 AM

Frank you are soooo right….I cant tell you how many times we have had conversations in the History Lunch room at my school about the loss of reading and writing…the last couple of days I took my classes to the library for research on an immigration project and I had to discuss the importance of a four letter word that teenagers disdained—-READ…they had to READ the material before they gave up as they researched and that there would not be any bells and whistles high lighting the answers of their research…

Kids stop so quickly when they cant find an answer…and I cant tell you how many times I have looked over their shoulder and found the answer to their question in 30 seconds…reading is truly a lost art…

As far as your suggestions…thank you…I am getting a great list that will take me a lifetime…especially at my rate…but I will enjoy this challenge…

I have really enjoyed reading the posts for this blog!!!

Thanks everyone…matt

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View ShopCat's profile


121 posts in 4864 days

#13 posted 12-18-2009 02:32 AM

Late hit. I’m in the middle of Silas Kopf’s Marquetry Odyssey, a heavy history lesson. At +$40, a definite library checkout item.

-- ShopCat

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 5178 days

#14 posted 12-18-2009 02:53 AM

I have quite a library on everything related to woodworking, from tree identification and wood properties, lumber grading, technique, methodology, cosyt management, finsihing chemistry, marquetry, boat building…....lots and lots of books but now, for the most part I only look at pictures to get ideas.

Good luck on the boat…..........I want to build two more before I hang my hat up for the last time

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5362 days

#15 posted 12-18-2009 04:39 AM

thanks guys…I am getting closer to finishing the book:

“Sloop” by Daniel Robb which is a book about rebuilding an old family 12 1/2 Hereshoff…

And since school is ALMOST OUT (teacher) I will have some time to check out some of the books on this list…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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