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The Best Books for Woodworking!
So, you’re on the search for some of the best woodworking books to enhance your knowledge on the trade. Oftentimes, this can be a difficult task because if you live in a city like mine, the local library isn’t exactly filled with amazing content on woodworking and carpentry books.
Plus, who the hell even goes to the library anymore? (sorry mom)
The truth is, there’s quite a few woodworking books out there. However, jumping on Google and searching for the term “best woodworking book” might not give you the results you’re looking for.
This is because there’s so many different types of books on woodworking. Some focus on fine woodworking with hand tools while others focus on bigger projects that require power tools. Some carpentry books are outdated and don’t account for some of the modern techniques and tools available. You get the point.
Therefore, I’ve created a list of the top 5 best woodworking books available today.
These woodworking books cover everything from tips and tricks to step-by-step woodworking plans. I’ve included a sneak peak of each one to give you an idea of what’s inside.
So, without further ado – here’s our list of the top 5 best woodworking books!
1. Woodworking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Skills, Techniques, and Projects
This 448-page carpentry book is great because it has so many illustrations to guide you along your woodworking journey. If you’re a visual learner like me, having full-color images detailing each step is very important to make it easy to follow along a project. Luckily, this book is filled with them. In fact, it has over 1,200 photos, illustrations, and simple diagrams.
Another thing I love about this woodworking book is the amount of information it covers. It goes over everything from setting up a workshop, choosing lumber, using power/hand tools, gluing, cutting, finishing, and more. If you’re looking for practical woodworking knowledge that will expand your skills and not overwhelm you, you’ll definitely want to consider this book!
Furthermore, it covers plenty of woodworking projects for beginner/intermediate woodworkers. In fact, it has 41 indoor and outdoor home furnishing project plans that are laid out in a simple step-by-step format. It has an index in the beginning so if you’re ever in a pickle or need a quick reference, you can simply flip to the index for easy navigation.
Each project comes with simple to follow instructions with colored images showing how each piece is laid out and assembled. In addition, each set of plans comes with a materials/tools list, cutting list, and vital statistics. The vital statistics include the size of the project, the required lumber, finishes, joinery, and construction details.
- Plenty of practical knowledge on woodworking
- Covers how to setup a workshop
- Lots of indoor/outdoor furniture plans
- Filled with over 1,200 full-colored images and diagrams
- Geared towards beginners
- Not many youth projects such as toys and games
2. Good Clean Fun: Misadventures in Sawdust at Offerman Woodshop
You’ll never guess who wrote this one! The author is none other than Nick Offerman AKA Rob Swanson from the popular TV show Parks and Recreation. To be honest, I didn’t even know Offerman was a leading figure in the woodworking industry prior to discovering his book on woodworking.
This best seller is one of the most popular woodworking books out there – and for good reason. It was published in late 2016, so it contains all the latest information on modern woodworking.
Offerman’s carpentry book Good Clean Fun is filled with high quality images that assist in building projects easily and effectively. The projects range from basic handcrafted furniture to more quirky projects such as ukuleles and canoes. If you’re looking for a book to build some really cool woodworking gifts – look no further.
The great thing about Offerman is he is also a comedian, so you’ll never get bored as this woodworking book is filled with humor and entertainment. If you’re looking for good, clean, entertaining woodworking projects you can do with the whole family, this is one of the best woodworking books out there.
Furthermore, this book accounts for woodworkers of all levels. Whether you’re just getting started in the trade or you have your own woodworking business, the amount of new information you’ll gain from this book is immeasurable. Offerman offers plenty of tips and tricks that you simply won’t find elsewhere.
- Perfect for beginners and expert woodworkers alike
- Entertaining and humorous writing that won’t leave you bored
- Covers basic woodworking projects along with quirky, fun projects to do with the family
- Available in hardcover, Audiobook, and Kindle
- No glossary
- Some of the recommended tools are expensive
- Places a bigger focus on power tools over hand tools
3. Woodworking with the Router: Professional Router Techniques and Jigs Any Woodworker Can Use
If you’re anything like me and your router is your favorite woodworking tool, this book is definitely for you. Although this book isn’t necessarily a full woodworking guide for a beginner – it does contain a ton of great information that will help expand your knowledge and skills.
If you’re unaware, a router is probably the most versatile tool in your workshop. I swear I’m finding new ways to incorporate my router in every new project I complete. This woodworking book goes over all the different things you can do with a router. This includes cutting decorative edging and molding, cutting curves, circles, and ovals, making frames, shaping furniture parts, cutting different types of joints, and so much more! Plus, it has plenty of tips and tricks to guide you along the way!
The author of Woodworking with the Router; Bill Hylton, has been writing about woodworking for over 20 years. He’s written dozens of best sellers related to woodworking and carpentry. And believe me, this one doesn’t fall short. This is easily the best woodworking book pertaining to routers and I find myself constantly referring to it.
If you’re a beginner in woodworking, don’t disregard this book! I recommend anyone add this to their collection – regardless of their skill level. However, if you’re an expert, you need to get this book immediately! You’ll find tons of new ways to incorporate your router that you would have never thought possible.
- Plenty of great information on using a router and all the tips and tricks you’ll ever need
- Goes over tons of different things you can do with a router
- Easy to understand for beginners or expert woodworkers
- Isn’t a full woodworking guide; focuses solely on the router and its different uses
4. The Handbuilt Home: 34 Simple Stylish and Budget-Friendly Woodworking Projects for Every Room
If you’re looking to build practical woodworking projects for your home, this is the book for you! Author Ana White is a self-taught woodworker who has been helping people build and improve their homes for years with her unique project designs and practical knowledge.
Her first book, The Handbuilt Home, is perfect for the beginner woodworker looking to build some awesome furniture pieces on a budget. This is truly one of the best woodworking books out there due its practicality and money-saving approach.
From your living room to your kids’ bedrooms, this book covers furniture for every room in your home. White places great focus on working with hand tools. Almost all of her projects can be built with a drill, a saw, and a few hand tools.
The Handbuilt Home has a beautiful layout with high resolution images, detailed diagrams, and plenty of awesome articles. White goes into great detail on the very basics of woodworking from what a cutting list is, to prepping, cutting, and building a project from scratch. She even includes information on how much each project will cost, the amount of materials required, and how much time each project will take to complete. White also goes over all the basic tools of woodworking and the place they have in your workshop. If you’re looking for a fun, practical approach at building furniture for your home, this book is a must-buy!
- Beautiful design with plenty of high-resolution images
- Practical projects that you can build on a budget
- Comprehensive guide for the beginner woodworker
- Many of the images show the final product stained or painted, yet some of the plans fail to explain the finishing process.
- Geared towards beginners
5. Great Book of Woodworking Tips: Over 650 Ingenious Workshop Tips, Techniques, and Secrets from the Experts at American Woodworker
This is one of those woodworking books that is a must-have for beginner and expert woodworkers alike. Although it isn’t filled with woodworking plans – it does have plenty of tips and tricks that every woodworker must-know.
The Great Book of Woodworking Tips covers everything from workshop safety to using your tools effectively. Other topics include routing perfectly fitting edge joints, sharpening chisels and various other blades, storing, moving, and sawing wood, making drawers that slide, and so much more!
This is an excellent book to reference when you run into an issue or don’t know how to accomplish a certain task. It’s filled with over 650 woodworking tips and many people consider this book to be the best woodworking book there is.
Although it doesn’t focus on woodworking project plans, it will definitely assist in any project you attempt to tackle. It has plenty of images with simple explanations that solve your problems quickly.
The book is written by American Woodworker, a world class woodworking magazine that has been in business for decades. The Great Book of Woodworking Tips was written by their top contributors with years of professional experience.
- The most comprehensive book for woodworking tips and tricks
- Detailed images showing exactly how to accomplish each task
- Extremely organized and easy to locate information
- Focused more-so on tips rather than woodworking project plans
What to look for in a woodworking book
Before I go out on a limb and purchase a woodworking book, I do a little research to figure out which one will best serve my needs. Not only do you want to find the best woodworking book for your needs, but you don’t want to end up with something low quality or outdated. In an attempt to help you avoid such issues, here are the things to look out for when searching for the best woodworking books out there:
Check the publication date
Trust me – there are plenty of woodworking books out there. And when I say plenty, I mean decades of woodworking ideas and project publications. While there is plenty of good woodworking info in these “golden oldies”, most of them are lacking the modern advances and advantages of current-day woodworking. Woodworking has hugely evolved over the past couple of decades with the invention of advanced power tools, fresh ideas, online influencers, and more. Not too long ago, woodworking was solely a profession, not a hobby.
My point is, the best woodworking books will be published within the last 10-15 years, as they will consider the modern-day woodworker. If you settle for a classic woodworking book, you may be instructed to find and chop down a nearby tree for lumber. I know, that was a bad joke, but you get the point.
Read the reviews
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how people impulsively buy things because they look good. They end up buying a product, realize it sucks, and just allow the money to go to waste.
My word of advice – always check the reviews! This applies to anything you spend money on. Personally, I check the reviews on almost everything. Do I want to see a movie with my family? I check the reviews. Do I want to try a new restaurant? I check the reviews. Am I buying a new book? You guessed it, I check the reviews! You get the point – always read what other people have to say before impulsively buying a product.
Consider your personal needs
So, what are you looking for in a woodworking book? Are you looking for woodworking projects to build? If so, look for a book that provides project plans. Are you looking for a book that provides woodworking tips? Obviously, you need to find a book that provides woodworking tips.
If you’re a beginner, the best woodworking book will be one that goes over everything there is to know about woodworking. This may include setting up a shop, equipping it with the proper tools and safety equipment, and learning how to approach your first project. You’ll need to learn about material and cutting lists and how to safely use your woodworking equipment.
Luckily, many of the best woodworking books account for most of these items. However, if you’re a seasoned woodworker, you may have trouble finding a woodworking book that will suit your needs. If you’re just looking for general woodworking knowledge and new ideas, you should be able to find this in just about any woodworking book. However, you may struggle to find intricate woodworking projects or advanced plans that require a lot of detail and time. Typically, the projects most often found in woodworking books are simple and beginner friendly.
Even after years of woodworking, I still find myself referring back to my books and applying the information to my projects. Therefore, I think it’s important for every woodworker to check out at least a couple books throughout their woodworking journey. Even if you’re a professional, you’ll still find valuable information and fun little projects you can follow. If you’re a beginner, it’s that much more important for you to read about woodworking to build a foundation and learn the basics of the craft.
All things considered, we hope this list of the best woodworking books was useful. Hopefully you’re able to sort through them and discover one that will enhance your woodworking knowledge and increase your passion even more!
As always – Happy Woodworking!