Any good furniture making books?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 08-01-2018 08:10 PM 582 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 1074 days

08-01-2018 08:10 PM

I’m not sure if this post is in the proper forum, if not, please forgive me.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what books would be good to read up on for furniture or cabinet making? I am getting interested more in hand tools and joinery and want to build a desk for my home office. I have a lot of maple and walnut on hand and I’d like to build a desk with it using proper joinery (dovetails, mortise & tenon, etc.).

I have little experience in furniture making beyond building bookcases, tables, etc. with dowels and Kreg joinery. I’ve practiced handmade dovetails a few times and I’ve messed around with mortise and tenon work a few times.

Any suggestions?

4 replies so far

View Rich's profile (online now)


5974 posts in 1471 days

#1 posted 08-01-2018 09:47 PM

There are lots of great books out there and I recommend you collect as many as you can on styles of furniture that interest you.

However, for your first book — and even if it winds up being your only on — I strongly suggest you get Illustrated Cabinetmaking by Bill Hylton. It isn’t a step-by-step how-to book, rather it’s a book of detailed exploded drawings of dozens of pieces of furniture and cabinetry of many different designs. The review quote on the cover says it all: “This is the Gray’s Anatomy of woodworking.”

It’s $18.82 on Amazon right now for the paperback edition, and if you use GetHoney you can save $2.12.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Brett's profile


56 posts in 1074 days

#2 posted 08-01-2018 09:54 PM

Excellent. Thank you for the recommendation Rich. I was actually looking at that one but didn’t know how it would fair. I may have to pick it up!

View ElroyD's profile


134 posts in 1470 days

#3 posted 08-02-2018 02:11 PM

I can recommend “With Saw, Plane & Chisel - How to Build Historic American Furniture With Hand Tools” by Zachary Dillinger. He takes you through the process of building six different pieces of furniture by hand. The six pieces come from different furniture eras, so you get a good overview of the differences. The pieces range from a footstool up to a desk, so there’s a nice mix of styles.

-- Elroy

View Woodknack's profile


13503 posts in 3262 days

#4 posted 08-02-2018 05:20 PM

I strongly suggest you get “Illustrated Cabinetmaking by Bill Hylton
- Rich

Great book, kind of an encyclopedia of how to build cabinetry.

I recommend Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking, which is a 3 volume set and is essentially a college level course in woodworking and furniturebuilding by a true master and one of the guys who taught a lot of the guys who now teach woodworking. Tage Frid is the original editor of Fine Woodworking and set the standards and techniques that magazine is known for. He is not a romantic, he’s a get stuff done kind of guy and uses the most efficient methods whether power or hand tools.

-- Rick M,

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