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Forum topic by Brownb4 posted 07-24-2014 04:16 PM 1841 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 2322 days

07-24-2014 04:16 PM

Hey all, I’m new to woodworking and would really like to learn as much as I can. What books would you recommend I read in order to get a better understanding and basic knowledge off the fundamentals?

20 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30577 posts in 3258 days

#1 posted 07-24-2014 04:23 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks

There are many books and videos that will be recommended here. I spend a lot of time just reading and asking questions here. Hope enjoy our journey.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View mahdee's profile


4291 posts in 2687 days

#2 posted 07-24-2014 05:54 PM

I would recommend you get some basic hand tools and read/learn how to use them. Then get some cheap wood and play with your hand tools and make a few things with them. If you still enjoy the trade and want to continue, then start accumulating additional tools. It can be costly to get fully setup, but you will have plenty of time to accumulate as you go through your learning process.


View paxorion's profile


1107 posts in 2965 days

#3 posted 07-24-2014 06:25 PM

Welcome to a wonderful hobby. Books certainly aren’t as much my thing but there is one book that I read almost cover to cover; Woodworking 101 - Skill-Building Projects that Teach the Basics

Where I got my start was from online videos and shorter articles. Youtube is full of good ones, and many many many more horrible ones (I recently saw someone build a bench with a mondo cross-grain glue-up…it hurt my eyes). A few good sources include:
  • Start Woodworking – A Fine Woodworking site, lots of good articles and videos
  • The Wood Whisperer – Marc Spagnoulo’s site and early videos are where I learned most of my woodworking knowledge early in my journey. I also developed a bad case of shop and tool envy…
  • Woodworking for Mere Mortals – If Marc gave me shop and tool envy, Steve Ramsey gave me inspiration and motivation to keep going, with his “mere mortal” tooling, akin to what I have.

-- paxorion

View Earlextech's profile


1162 posts in 3610 days

#4 posted 07-24-2014 07:08 PM

The first books I read were by Tage Frid –
Enjoy the journey!

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View diverlloyd's profile


4030 posts in 2777 days

#5 posted 07-24-2014 07:10 PM

Welcome to lumberjocks. You might want to try YouTube also lots of good tips on there.

View vskgaming's profile


83 posts in 2535 days

#6 posted 07-24-2014 11:05 PM

+1 to YouTube suggestion.

I am not much into buying and/or reading books but i read a lot (a lot) online.

Welcome to LJ


View knotscott's profile


8392 posts in 4295 days

#7 posted 07-24-2014 11:20 PM

The New Woodworker’s Handbook by Tom Hintz. Written by a woodworker for a woodworker. He hits A-Z….what the tools are, how to set them up and care for them, how to use them, how to lay out a shop, wood species, joinery, design, techniques, finishing, etc. Loaded with useful pics.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View larson1170's profile


32 posts in 2531 days

#8 posted 07-25-2014 07:27 PM

Welcome! I know I have learned a lot just reading the blogs here. Most of the ‘Jocks really lay out how they did stuff well. I will advise you that especially just starting out, to help the budget, check for used bookstores in your area. They get lots of books on doing just about any project dropped off when kids are cleaning out grandpa and grandmas old house. Older generations were a lot more focused on reading since Youtube was a crappy source in 70s.

View Loren's profile


10799 posts in 4567 days

#9 posted 07-25-2014 08:07 PM

There are different specialities in woodworking.

For example, a luthier may know little of joinery or
stock preparation for furniture and cabinet making.

You can make chairs and some styles of furniture
with a lathe and hand tools.

Roy Underhill is a good place to start. His emphasis
is on hand tools and how to establish the geometry
of useful and durable things – household tools and
such. Some of it involves going to the woods and
finding a branch or sapling and making something
from it the same day.

If you want to be a furniture maker the learning curve
can be pretty steep and the tool investment can
get pretty substantial. It doesn’t have to be, but
once you start buying machinery the expenses add
up. A lot can be done with hand tools but it’s
a much slower process in general and many people
frankly lack the patience to work wood in the old
fashioned way.

View Woodknack's profile


13522 posts in 3300 days

#10 posted 07-27-2014 08:53 PM

+2 Tage Frid. It’s a woodworking class by a master. Then read one of the popular finishing books, Flexner does it for me. Between those two you’ll be way ahead of the game.

Here is a personal favorite:
The Complete Woodworker’s Companion by Roger Holmes
Teaches through a series of projects, good solid designs that are nice looking.

-- Rick M,

View bondogaposis's profile


5898 posts in 3271 days

#11 posted 07-27-2014 09:45 PM

Welcome to LJ. There are a lot good books to help you but woodworking has many aspects; furniture, scrolling, carving, marquetry, wood turning, boat building, etc.. Decide on your focus, then find books related to your interest. Perhaps a magazine to get you started as they typically carry a variety of projects, with instructions to get you going. “Popular Woodworking”, “Woodsmith”, and “Woodworker’s Journal” are but a few suggestions.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View oldnovice's profile


7683 posts in 4287 days

#12 posted 07-27-2014 10:15 PM

Brownb4, Here is a good place to start it’s Steve Ramsey’s no nonsense woodworking show on YouTube that you can subscribe to and see all kinds projects being built.

Of course once you are on YouTube you will see more good woodworking shows but be careful there are some really bad ones too!

-- "It's fine in practise but it will never work in theory"

View AandCstyle's profile


3288 posts in 3177 days

#13 posted 07-27-2014 11:42 PM

I learned most of what I know from Norm Abram. Watch the vids.

-- Art

View CharlesA's profile


3458 posts in 2717 days

#14 posted 07-27-2014 11:46 PM

There are lots of good suggestions here, from websites to Tage Frid.

One of the most helpful articles I have read in woodworking is Christopher Schwarz’s article in Popular Woodworking, Coarse, Medium, Fine. Here’s a key quotation:

To my mind, people who think hand tools are slow are either using the wrong tool for a task, or they are people who will work slowly no matter what tool is in their hand. I have found that to become truly efficient at woodworking is to first ignore whether or not the tool in your hand has a power cord or a finely honed blade. Instead, you should make sure that you know whether that tool is a coarse tool for hogging off material, a medium tool for refining and truing the work, or a fine tool that’s the last to touch your work. This classification system – coarse, medium and fine – works for many of the tools of the craft, from sandpaper to handplanes. And putting each tool into its place is the first step toward knowing its true use at the bench

I now can pick up a rough board and in very quickly can joint one edge with a plane, for instance. I feel like his approach has helped me use planes and power tools more productively. You can find the article here:

I highly recommend.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View CharlesA's profile


3458 posts in 2717 days

#15 posted 07-27-2014 11:48 PM

And for finishing, see Charles Neil’s website and book.

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

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