For beginners, woodworking can be challenging from the measuring and cutting to the joining and finishing. Even with the right tools, supplies and materials on hand, the results can be less than satisfactory. Fortunately, beginners can learn the basics from the following books on woodworking before taking the saw to the wood. Once the basics are mastered, literally thousands of woodworking plans are available.
1. Woodwork: A Step-by-Step Photographic Guide to Successful Woodworking
Like most excellent books on woodworking, this photographic guide is divided into two parts, namely: first, the breakdown of the basic tools and techniques; and second, the step-by-step guides on the proper use of these tools and techniques. It is truly one of the best books on woodworking in the market for good reasons.
The book has many advantages over other woodworking books with a similar format, nonetheless, which makes it a great buy. For one thing, the furniture shown on the pages are actually beautiful and practical with styles ranging from Shaker to Thomas Moser. For another thing, the guides are broken down into detailed steps complete with clear photos and sub-steps that make it easy for beginners to understand the instructions and apply these into action.
For example, the instructions in building a tool box, the step on fitting the hinges to the lid is further detailed into six sub-steps and 8 photos. Even the most amateur of beginners in woodworking will find the guide so useful as to be spoon-feeding the information.
Note: The authors are British, so a few terminology terms will be different. This is a minor point that can be easily overcome after familiarizing yourself with the words used.
2. Woodworking Basics – Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship – An Integrated Approach With Hand and Power Tools (Paperback)
The book was authored by Peter Korn and was based on a 2-week course on the fundamentals of woodworking offered by the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Camden, Maine. Call it covering all the bases, because Korn discusses the basic skills essential to excellent wood craftsmanship, which cover virtually everything from working with hand and power tools to cutting dovetails.
Beginners will surely appreciate the clear step-by-step guide on cutting woodworking joints; the author made the effort of illustrating the process using easy to understand words and colored illustrations. Veterans in woodworking will also appreciate the book’s contents because many of the subjects discussed take his work to a higher level of excellence.
The best thing about the book: It is written in a clear, friendly and accessible manner such that every interested individual will enjoy reading it – no grappling with sophisticated terminology, no wrestling with advanced concepts, and no struggling with obscure joints that even veteran woodworkers will be hard-pressed to explain. You can even learn to cut a gap-free 1/8″ pin dovetails using a coping saw, a dozuki, and a sharp chisel!
Note: Set realistic expectations when comparing the book with the course. In the end, nothing beats the interactive nature of participating in the 2-week course wherein master woodworkers are able to guide students on the basics of the craft. Still, the book is a good substitute but you must also practice the craft in order to become a master at it.
3. I Can Do That! Woodworking Projects (Updated and Expanded Paperback)
Authored by the editors of Popular Woodworking, this book are targeted toward woodworkers with intermediate and advanced skills although beginners will also be able to learn several lessons on the craft. The trick here is in reading the instructions, matching these tips with your present skill levels, and then challenging yourself to become a better woodworker.
These three books are all excellent teaching guides to the craft of woodworking. Use a comprehensive set of plans for your future projects, such as http://tedswoodworkinguncovered.com.