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Some Of My Favorite Woodworking Books

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Forum topic by Delete posted 07-18-2019 03:44 PM 858 views 1 time favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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07-18-2019 03:44 PM

Topic tags/keywords: woodworking books book collecting resource question

If you do woodworking you probably have a good selection of woodworking books somewhere in the house, or workshop, even in the age of the internet, when most subject matter is accessed on line, rather than that ancient medium, “paper”.

I have loved books since I could read, I still have books from my teens. When I built this house it was finally in the plans to build devoted shelving for my extensive collection. The result, close to 45 linear ft. of built in floor to ceiling book shelves, spread out over 3 rooms.

My interests are wide, woodworking, the many different aspects of metalworking, hobby crafts, general science and engineering, history, geography, and the humanities. By far the largest number of volumes are in the woodworking field followed by metalworking. I have never counted, but the collection, acquired over a lifetime of collecting, must be close to 10,000 volumes, plus thousands of magazines on related subject matter.

For such a large collection it is hard to quickly come up with a handful of favorites, but never the less here are a few of mine. I have posted some here before, like Alf Martensson’s “The Woodworkers Bible” and Ted Benson’s book on timber frames. Do you have a favorite or favorites? Doesn’t have to be rare, a volume that instructs creatively or inspires the kind of work you do, will interest me and others hopefully.

The summer heat is here, and a few road trips to visit some dusty used book stores, is an activity I try to fit in every summer. Any suggestions for the best or different woodworking books that you have come across, that inspire or instruct the woodworking enthusiast?


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jdmaher

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#1 posted 07-18-2019 04:10 PM

””Construction of American Furniture Treasures”, by Lester Margon

(still sold on Amazon)

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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#2 posted 07-18-2019 04:58 PM

Thanks jd, it will require double checking, but don’t think I have that one. One for the list. If I really can’t find one I want, I will usually turn to E-Bay or Amazon, been burned to many times with E-Bay though. Came across a book once on E-Bay, guy was asking 6 grand, I found the same book in a used bookstore favorite of mine for $12.

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SMP

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#3 posted 07-18-2019 05:52 PM

I don’t personally have any that I would say are great. But a few that I want to get at some point are the Anarchists Toolchest, Virtusos: the bench and tool cabinet of Henry O Studley, The Joiner and Cabinetmaker, The Essential Woodworker all on Lost Art press: https://lostartpress.com/collections/books

as well as Paul Sellers Essential Woodworking hand tools:
https://paulsellers.com/paul-sellers-books/essential-woodworking-hand-tools/

I love to read but mostly read classical literature.

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#4 posted 07-18-2019 06:48 PM

You have similar likes SMP. I like the old stuff too. My biggest collection of original old 1800 and early 1900 volumes are in the metalworking fields but I have a few on woodworking. Lindsey Publishing was a great source of old reprints, they are gone now. It’s nice to know someone like “The Lost Arts Press” is carrying on that fine tradition. I have at least 6 of the books on their books page, including David Finck’s Wood Planes book. I will be looking into a few of the ones you mentioned.

You can never have enough books on woodworking tools, Paul Sellers book looks good.

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jdmaher

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#5 posted 07-18-2019 06:49 PM

Carlos,

I, too, love finding what I want in used bookshops; but that seldom happens, anymore.

I sometimes use Amazon for “reading material”, but when I want a book I plan to keep I usually go to AbeBooks.

In fact, many independent used book sellers list on BOTH Amazon and AbeBooks. However, AbeBooks includes a great many “antiquarian” sellers that have been in the used book business for decades; and those type of sellers can provide a more reliable statement of book condition. To me, that’s important on a book I plan to keep.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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#6 posted 07-18-2019 07:20 PM

I agree jd, a con on the condition can be very disappointing, E-Bay has disappointed me a few times there. I have purchased alot from Powells in Seattle and have always been happy with their descriptions and service. Got to make a trip there one day to explore their stacks, it’s always better when I am wiping dust off my fingers.

I have a few sets of originals that I dug up with covers in poor condition. My interest was not in maintaining their original value, which would have been low do to the poor covers. I had a number of them recovered by a professional who had come over from England and set up shop between Ottawa and Toronto.

Heres two of four examples I have had recovered.Both were published pre-1900. Joshua Roses 2 volume machine shop set measures 11.5” X 14.5” and weighs 15 lbs.

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SMP

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#7 posted 07-18-2019 07:24 PM



You have similar likes SMP. I like the old stuff too. My biggest collection of original old 1800 and early 1900 volumes are in the metalworking fields but I have a few on woodworking. Lindsey Publishing was a great source of old reprints, they are gone now. It s nice to know someone like “The Lost Arts Press” is carrying on that fine tradition. I have at least 6 of the books on their books page, including David Finck s Wood Planes book. I will be looking into a few of the ones you mentioned.

You can never have enough books on woodworking tools, Paul Sellers book looks good.

- CarlosInTheSticks

Which old metalworking books do you recommend? (not to hijack) In High School, I took welding and an ROP class where I got a certificate “Machine Tool Operator” for basic metalwork : lathe, mill, CNC mill basics(on some of the early if not first CNC mills), sheet metal work, etc. But all I really do now is weld (mig/flux), and the occasional metalwork for making tools, bar clamps etc. However, recently I have picked up some parts to make my brake drum forge so I can start doing some basic blacksmithing. My goal is first to forge some basic smaller tools : birdcage awl, graver, DT marking knife, etc.

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#8 posted 07-18-2019 08:17 PM

With metalworking there are many processes which form a very extensive volume of information, each in it’s own right. I have hundreds of gigabytes and many volumes on machine shop, forging, melting and casting, pattern making, and welding to start.

A while back I did a post on the blog on mainly metalworking project books. If you like the really old stuff the Internet Archive has exhaustive resources on all the metalworking subjects.

If your wondering why there is a pottery book here, this book is a classic, most of the book is devoted to instruction on making your own machines like pug mills, wheels, etc. using methods that avoid owning a machine shop.

If you want to blame someone for the revival of home hobby metalworking, Dave Gingery is as good as any. He wrote a series of books starting in 1980 that got the ball rolling again.

Etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

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SMP

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#9 posted 07-18-2019 08:24 PM

That’s quite an impressive collection of books! Some brought back memories of metal shop days. Almost forgot about the sand casting we had to do. Some projects were a screwdriver set and hammer. We had to sand cast aluminum handles onto steel rod, turn the handles and knurl on the lathe, then make the screwdriver points, or thread for hammer head, heat treat and temper etc. Funny enough I think some of those metal shop made tools are still at my mom’s house after all these years.

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jdmaher

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#10 posted 07-18-2019 08:25 PM

Carlos,

VERY nice covers. Especially the Rose volumes.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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#11 posted 07-18-2019 08:58 PM

Thanks jd, It’s my treasure, pages are delicate but in pristine condition, it has been kept out of sunlight and I am doing the same.

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OleGrump

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#12 posted 07-19-2019 04:12 AM

The book that means the most to me is Alex Bealler’s “Old Ways Of Working Wood”. I found this book in the early 1980s, and gave it to my carpenter/cabinetmaker grandfather, who grew up in rural Southern Maryland. (OK, that last might be redundant) This meant that he had USED most of those tools in his young life. Pop-pop was delighted with it, and began putting all of his vintage tools together and making a traditional style workbench. he delighted in showing visitors his “old time shop” area. While he was a kind and generous man, NO ONE was allowed to “borrow” that book from him. Anyone wanting to look up something in it had to sit at his kitchen table and make notes. It wasn’t going out of his eyesight.
In due course, this book came back to me, and always held a special place for me. Maryland was a bit slow in airing “The Woodwright’s Shop” on PBS, so Pop-pop had this book a few years before Roy appeared on our TVs here. Of course I have most of Roy’s books (there are one or two which don’t appeal to me)
I have some reprints of old “manual arts” books from the early 1900s. Most recently, I was able to buy a vintage Popular Mechanics book from 1929, which is a real delight, although I do wish there was more straight up woodworking in it. Now I’d like to find some old copies of “The Boy Mechanic” within my budget. I understand that publication had some very good woodworking projects and ideas.

-- OleGrump

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#13 posted 07-19-2019 03:15 PM

You like many of the books I do Grump. I have had the revised edition of A. Bealer’s book “Old Ways Of Working Wood” for a long time.

I have all but 1 of Roy Underhill’s great books from “The Woodwright’s Shop”, looking for that last one. I have the 3 “Boy Mechanic” volumes, it’s to bad Lindsey Publishing is no longer doing their nice work.

Nothing beats a paper copy, but if you don’t object too much to a digital copy, here is a Internet Archive link to the 3 “Boy Mechanic” volumes.

https://archive.org/details/texts?and%5B%5D=%22the+boy+mechanic%22&sin=&sort=-publicdate&and%5B%5D=languageSorter%3A%22English%22&and%5B%5D=loansstatusstatus%3A%22-1%22&and%5B%5D=mediatype%3A%22texts%22

I have lots of Manual Arts Press books in paper but the Internet Archive also has lots of copies. Here’s a link for 223 titles by the Manual Arts Press.

https://archive.org/details/texts?and%5B%5D=%22manual+arts+press%22&sin=&sort=-publicdate&and%5B%5D=languageSorter%3A%22English%22&and%5B%5D=loansstatusstatus%3A%22-1%22&and%5B%5D=mediatype%3A%22texts%22

Happy reading.

Edit: Bear with me having trouble with these links. There we go, enjoy.

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Ripper70

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#14 posted 07-19-2019 03:21 PM

Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

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#15 posted 07-19-2019 03:46 PM

I have heard about this one Ripper, could be fun, will keep an eye out. For a good old time laugh try this one, the book is available one my blog.

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