We wanted to share the best woodworking guides with you, whether you are a woodworker who is a pro or just starting. You might want something to get started as soon as possible. If you are already an intermediate to advance level artist and wish to improve your knowledge and skills in the field, our guide will help. Our handy guide will cover all bases.
How We Came Up With Our List
Our recommendations for woodworking books are intended to be a comprehensive list of highly-regarded and popular woodworking titles that cater to varying skill levels and woodworking interests.
Here are the criteria upon which we have based our recommendations:
Core Woodworking Principles
The recommended books cover topics like techniques and projects. The books are comprehensive and provide practical information to woodworkers.
The selected books are comprehensive and cover many aspects of woodworking. This ensures readers have a solid grasp of the art. They address essential topics like woodworking fundamentals, tools, joinery, wood properties, and project execution.
Some books are better suited for advanced or intermediate woodworkers. However, there are titles that are specifically designed for beginners. These books offer step-by-step instructions, basic techniques explained, and advice for beginners.
Covering the Gamut of Expertise
The books are written by a variety of authors. Each one brings a unique perspective, experience, and approach to the woodworking world. This allows readers to explore different methods and find the techniques that resonate with them.
Our Curated List
Far from comprehensive is our list. So we went with a few that are well-known and revered in woodworking circles. Some have weathered the test of time, and although they have seen some years, they still remain relevant to this day.
- “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: A compilation of projects ideal for newcomers is featured in this book, with a strong emphasis on hand-tool woodworking. Detailed instructions and valuable insights are included to assist in the creation of 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 is devoted to creating and organizing a woodworking toolbox. You’ll walk away with some great ideas to build your perfect tool kit and workbench.
- “The Essential Woodworker” by Robert Wearing: This book is a guide to woodworking with hand tools, focusing on traditional skills and techniques.
- “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz: This book highlights using hand tools instead of power tools to explore woodworking. It also touches on the philosophy and mindset of the craft.
- “The Workbench Book” by Scott Landis: Scott so eloquently covers the physical space around the woodworker, emphasizing the workbench. This book contains detailed plans and photos.
Essential Books for Beginners
For beginners delving into woodworking, there are a few other titles worth noting. Below are a few more recommendations worth considering.
- “Woodworking 101: Skill-Building Projects that Teach the Basics” by Joe Hurst-Wajszczuk: This book emphasizes learning by doing by giving the reader easy projects to get started right away. With a commitment to reader success, it walks the reader through each step of the way, guiding them with tips and expert advice.
- “The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Woodworking: Skills, Techniques, and Projects” by Gareth Branwyn: This beginner-friendly guide offers a comprehensive introduction to woodworking.
- “Woodworking for the Weekend: 20 Projects Using Reclaimed Timber” by Mark Griffiths: This book includes a selection of weekend project ideas that are specifically designed for newbies. This book is an excellent choice for individuals who have an interest 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 illuminates using tools and various woodworking techniques, presenting readers with simple projects to practice and enhance their skills.
Honorable Mention, Nick Offerman’s Book on Woodworking
Nick Offerman, the actor known for his role as Ron Swanson in the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” has written a book on woodworking titled “Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop.” Through this book, Offerman opens up about his profound fondness for woodworking, inviting readers into his world and sharing insightful experiences from his shop. Along with practical tips, he shares funny stories. This unique book seamlessly weaves together a woodworking guide and a memoir, providing readers with a captivating glimpse into Offerman’s unwavering passion for craftsmanship and boundless creativity.
Woodworkers Pocket Books
Ideal for the on-the-move woodworker, small, portable reference guides are great for quick access. Packed with condensed information and practical tips, compact woodworking books serve as go-to references for woodworkers.
- “The Handy Shop Reference: Useful Facts and Figures for Every Woodworker” by Tom Begnal: This consolidated guide is a treasure trove of information. It’s a quick and handy guide for woodworkers who want instant access to essential information while working on their projects.
- “The Pocket Hole Drilling Jig Project Book” by Danny Proulx: This small book is devoted to pocket hole joinery. In this book, you’ll find step-by-step instructions for numerous projects that leverage a pocket hole jig.
These books are not comprehensive, but they do provide quick tips and ideas for projects. They can also be useful when you need to refer back to them in the workshop.
The world of woodworking is a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration, catering to beginners and seasoned artisans’ needs and aspirations. Allow the recommended books in this guide to be your reliable companions on the path of woodworking, offering invaluable guidance, unwavering support, and a vast array of knowledge to enhance your skills and enrich your woodworking experience. So check one or two out. Browse them on Amazon. Pick up a couple that resonates with you, and enrich your woodworking journey!