I need to make a confession. I love woodworking books. Some I buy mostly for the pictures. Others for the content. Several for both.
Here is a list of woodworking books I own. Most of these are great books and definitely worth the money.
Building Traditional Kitchen Cabinets
by Jim Tolpin (Taunton Press)
A friend of mine gave me this book when he learned I was remodeling our kitchen. It’s one of the better books I’ve read on cabinet and door construction.
Figure Carving in Wood: Human and Animal Forms
by Sarah Wilkinson (Guild Master Craftsman Publishing)
I enjoy Wilkinson’s country feel to her carvings. The book is full of beautiful pictures showing her work. After reading this, I felt so inspired that I immediately tried my luck carving a figurine. Sadly, the wood cracked and the figurine looked more like a block of wood than a person. In the end, my first attempt at carving resulted in firewood. This book is written for beginners
Fine Woodworking on Making and Modifying Machines
by the editors of Fine Woodworking, (Taunton Press)
A collection of articles written on how to make or modify woodworking machines. Loved the book. I only wish there were more books like this. The articles are old and the pictures black and white, yet I still find the info insightful. For several years Popular Mechanic also included plans on how to build various machines. I have noticed a renewed interest in this topic, and I can only hope that publishers such as Taunton will start publishing more of these type books again.
Great Wood Finishes
by Jeff Jewitt (Taunton Press)
I have followed many of Jewitt’s techniques, and the results have been fantastic. Most recently, the vintage coffee table. I would like to see him write a follow-up version of the book that shows more projects done using the techniques he discusses.
How to Build a House
by Larry Haun (Taunton Press)
Haun does a good job of explaining the complete process of constructing a home. I prefer Haun’s book, The Very Efficient Carpenter, over this one, but How to Build a House
has merit too. I suppose if I was approaching home construction with no experience, I would rely more on this book. It’s definitely written for the beginner.
Making Kitchen Cabinets
by Paul Levine (Taunton Press)
The version I own is outdated, and as such it is quite heavy on melamine cabinets. It has some helpful workflow advice when designing a kitchen.
Setting Up Shop
by Sander Nagyszalnczy (Taunton Press)
A book that is devoted to exactly what the title is: setting up shop. Nagyszalnczy offers some helpful insight when setting up a shop and also shows several examples. He talks about often overlooked features of a shop such as ventilation, flooring, and security, which I found helpful. Now I just need to find a yard that is big enough to build a shop!
Simply Beautiful Boxes
by Doug Stowe (Popular Woodworking Books)
There are plenty of beautiful boxes in this book. I bought it mostly for inspiration since there isn’t a whole lot on techniques.
The Art of the Lathe
by Patrick Spielman (Sterling Publishing)
This book has some amazing pieces from master woodturners. The book is sparse on lathe techniques, however.
The Complete New Router Book for Woodworkers
by Chris Marshall
Not a bad book. My main gripe is that about a third of the book (~140 pages) is router 101 (i.e., this is a plunge router, this is a plate, this is a bit), which felt overdone for someone who has had a lot of router experience. The next third talks about techniques, which was more helpful, though I wish there was more about safety. The last portion of the book is the reason I bought it — great jigs for the router and projects that can be built using only, or mostly, a router.
The Very Efficient Carpenter
by Larry Haun (Taunton Press)
This is one of my all-time favorite books. I love books like this that have clever solutions to challenges. This book is packed full of time-saving tips and techniques for building a house. I’ve even adapted some of Haun’s techniques for woodworking such as his methods for measuring on the fly and how to determine the angles accurately and with no hassle.
Working with Tablesaws
by the editors of Fine Woodworking (Taunton Press)
This is my favorite book on tablesaws to date. It addresses such topics as tuning the saw, learning tablesaw safety techniques, understanding kickback so that you can prevent against it happening, making tablesaw jigs, and much more. The style of the book is similar to an anthology in that it’s a collection of past articles, which have probably been updated.