We wanted to share the best woodworking guides with you, whether you are a woodworker who is a pro or just starting. You may need something to get you oriented and on your way as fast as possible. Or you’re already at an intermediate to advanced level and want to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for your craft. Our handy guide will cover all bases.
How We Came Up With Our List
We wanted to list timeless and highly regarded woodworking books for all skill levels.
Here are the criteria upon which we have based our recommendations:
Relevance To Woodworking
The recommended books cover topics like techniques and projects. They provide comprehensive and practical information for woodworkers.
The chosen books cover a broad spectrum of woodworking aspects, ensuring readers can understand the craft well. They cover topics such as the fundamentals of woodworking, tools, joining, wood properties, and the science of wood.
Starting from Scratch
These books cater to both beginners and intermediate woodworkers. Using simple explanations, the authors walk the reader through step by step.
Several authors are represented, each with their own techniques and approaches to woodworking. This allows readers to explore different methods and find the techniques that resonate with them.
We Present Our List
This list of book recommendations is by no means exhaustive. Rather than quantity, we went with quality-a few top recommendations revered by beginners and experts. Some of these books were not published in the current decade but are timeless.
- “Understanding Wood Finishing: How to Select and Apply the Right Finish” by Bob Flexner: This book is a comprehensive guide to wood finishing techniques, covering different types of finishes, their application methods, and troubleshooting common issues.
- “The Unplugged Woodshop: Handcrafted Projects for the Home and Workshop” by Tom Fidgen: Hand-tool woodworking takes center stage in this book, presenting a range of projects that are perfect for those starting out. Step-by-step instructions and valuable insights are provided for crafting handcrafted furniture and accessories using minimal tools and traditional techniques.
- “The Toolbox Book: A Craftsman’s Guide to Tool Chests, Cabinets, and Storage Systems” by Jim Tolpin: This book focuses on creating and organizing a woodworking toolbox or workshop storage system. It’s overflowing with practical tips for storage solutions and ideas for the perfect toolbox.
- “The Essential Woodworker” by Robert Wearing: This book highlights traditional techniques, skills, and methods of woodworking.
- “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz: This book highlights using hand tools instead of power tools to explore woodworking. It also gets philosophical and talks about the mental state of woodworking.
- “The Workbench Book” by Scott Landis: While the previous book emphasized tools, this focuses on the craftsman’s workspace-specifically the workbench. This book contains detailed plans and photos.
Essential Books for Beginners
While the books previously mentioned are valuable for beginners, a few other titles specifically cater to those new to woodworking, offering them tremendous help. Here are a couple more suggestions for your consideration.
- “Woodworking for the Weekend: 20 Projects Using Reclaimed Timber” by Mark Griffiths: This book features a collection of weekend projects specifically designed for beginners. It includes step-by-step instructions, photographs, and tips for working with reclaimed wood, making it an excellent choice for those interested in sustainability and repurposing materials.
- “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Woodworking” by Reed Karen: Don’t be insulted by the title. It’s humbling to start at square one. But also exciting. This read is for those embarking into the world of woodworking for the first time. It explains tool usage and woodworking techniques and offers simple projects to practice and build skills.
- “Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship” by Peter Korn: Everyone has to start at square one. And that usually means learning the fundamentals if that’s a language or, in this case, woodworking. This book sees the world of woodworking through new eyes.
- “Woodworking 101: Skill-Building Projects that Teach the Basics” by Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk: With a focus on easy-to-do starter projects, this book gives readers a practical and enjoyable way to dip their toes into the world of woodworking. The reader can follow along and check their progress toward their project completion.
Honorable Mention, Nick Offerman’s Book on Woodworking
Funny man and woodworking aficionado has come out with a book titled “Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop.” Offerman shares in this book his love for woodworking, and gives insights into his woodworking experiences. He discusses his woodworking projects, shares tips, and techniques, and includes humorous anecdotes. In a remarkable fusion of genres, this book intertwines a woodworking guide with Offerman’s personal memoir, revealing his deep-seated affection for craftsmanship and his limitless creativity.
Handy References: Pocket Books Every Woodworker Should Have
For woodworkers on the go, pocket-sized books on woodworking serve as convenient and portable references that can be easily accessed whenever needed. They contain essential information when needed in the field.
- “Woodworker’s Pocket Reference” by Charles Self: This handy reference book is a great way to learn about a variety of woodworking subjects, such as tools and joinery. It also covers finishing techniques.
- “The Handy Shop Reference: Useful Facts and Figures for Every Woodworker” by Tom Begnal: This consolidated guide is a treasure trove of information. This quick guide provides woodworkers with instant access to important information when working on their project.
While not as immersive as some of the other titles on our list, the handy guides provide lots of value in a compact size.
The world of woodworking offers is rich with knowledge and inspiration for both beginners and experienced craftsmen alike. The recommended books in this guide can serve as trusted companions on your woodworking journey. You can rely on the books recommended in this guide to help you along your woodworking journey.Consider the recommended books in this guide as steadfast companions on your woodworking journey, providing trusted guidance and valuable insights every step of the way. If you have read this far, you clearly have a taste for this rewarding craft. So grab a copy of these books and enjoy a richer woodworking journey!