Jun 172016
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As the summer is rapidly approaching (although with quite a wet lead-in for some of us), I went through my bookcase to see what books I wanted to queue up for any slow periods, and possibly during any travel. I have a decent range of topics from which to choose, so I either try to pick something that is associated with some current work, or those that are new (to me) or haven’t had attention in some time. So with that, let’s get to my woodworking reading list:

  1. The Essential Woodworker (Revised edition) by Robert Wearing, Published by Lost Arts Press in 2010 – This is a book that was written as a “Pre-Textbook”, to help those who hadn’t obtain the school-provided woodworking basics, or is working alone (not having gone through an apprenticeship or other development process). Even if you have been woodworking for many years, there is still value in this book, as most that have not embarked on a formal learning path (myself included) can have gaps in their skills/knowledge. This is an enjoyable read.
  2. Japanese Woodworking: A Handbook of Japanese Tool Use & Woodworking Techniques by Hideo Sato, Published by Hartley & Marks in 1987 – I’ve had an interest in Japanese tools and the range of their building designs and methodology since I was a young teenager, and this was one of the earlier woodworking books I purchased. This book provides a good foundation on the Japanese tools and their care, characteristics of wood, layout and different types of joints and their uses. It has been a while since I’ve read through it, and it never seems to fail that I’ll find some nugget I’ve either forgotten or that escaped me on previous reads. This book was originally written in Japanese in 1967 and was translated into English in 1987.
  3. Shoji, How to Design, Build, and Install Japanese Screens by Jay Van Arsdale Published by Kodansha International in 1988 – While this is another book on Japanese woodworking, and has some very slight overlap regarding the tools and usage, it is quite focused on an area of design that adorns many Japanese houses (if you ever have the chance, go to Japan and check out some of the traditional housing). The Shoji Screen is used in many different ways and forms, and adds interest and beauty to any house no matter how plain or extravagant. This book goes into great detail and provides design elements, information on wood, paper and tools, instruction on creating a simple Shoji and possible uses, as well as sources for supplies.
  4. Woodwork Joints by Charles H. Hayward, Published by Sterling Publishing, Co. in 1979 – This book is relatively small, but it is chocked full of information regarding how to create joints from the basic to the complex, as well as the application. The explanations of the joints are assisted by illustrations, both photos and diagrams. This is a great “little” tome to have around.

Find more great Woodworking Books and Plans at the Highland Woodworking website.

Lee Laird has enjoyed woodworking for over 30 years. He is retired from the U.S.P.S. and worked for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks as a show staff member, demonstrating tools and training customers. You can email him at LeeLairdWoodworking@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/LeeLairdWW

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