Board at Home – ASFD’s Recommendations for Good Woodworking Reading – Part 1
If you are bored at home or just want to keep your woodworking mind sharp, what better time to hunker down in your favorite chair with a good book. We have surveyed our teachers and staff and created a list of their must-reads and favorites. Whether you are just getting into woodworking and are looking for your first woodworking book or a master craftsperson looking to expand your philosophy on the craft, there is something for you. We had so many good suggestions that we decided to make 2 separate blog posts. This is just Part 1.
By Hand and Eye
George R. Walker & Jim Tolpin
“By Hand & Eye” is a deep dive into the world of history, architecture and design. And the authors have emerged with armloads of pearls for readers. Instead of serving up a list of formulas with magical names (i.e. the Golden Section, the Rule of Thirds) that will transform the mundane into perfection, George R. Walker and Jim Tolpin show how much of the world is governed by simple proportions, noting how ratios such as 1:2; 3:5 and 4:5 were ubiquitous in the designs of pre-industrial artisans. And the tool that helps us explore this world, then as now, are dividers. Purchase Here.
Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman
Woodworking, handicrafts–the rewards of creative practice, bringing something new and meaningful into the world through one’s own vision, make us fully alive. Peter Korn explains his search for meaning as an Ivy-educated child of the middle class who finds employment as a novice carpenter on Nantucket, transitions to self-employment as a designer/maker of fine furniture, takes a turn at teaching at Colorado’s Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and finally founds a school in Maine: the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected, non-profit institution. How does the making of objects shape our identities? How does creative work enrich our communities and society? What does the process of making things reveal to us about ourselves? Korn poignantly provides answers in this book that is for the artist, artisan, crafter, do-it-yourselfer inside us all. Purchase Here
Nature Form & Spirit: The Life and Legacy of George Nakashima
A richly illustrated retrospective of the life and work of noted furniture designer Geoge Nakashima examines the original furniture creations of the acclaimed artist, his influence on contemporary design, his work as an architect, and his remarkable craftsmanship and emphasis on the organic use of the natural lines and grain of wood. Purchase Here.
The Complete Manual of Woodworking: A Detailed Guide to Design, Techniques, and Tools for the Beginner and Expert
David Day, Simon Jennings, Albert Jackson
With more than 1,800 drawings, diagrams and photos, this authoritative guide encompasses the whole art and craft of woodworking. Designed to instruct and inspire every woodworker from the beginner to the most exacting expert, it has become a classic. It includes a discussion of all the principal hardwoods and softwoods, how to choose and use hand tools, detailed information on every woodworking technique–jointing, bonding, fastening, laminating, and much more. Purchase Here.
The first edition of Understanding Wood was published in 1980 and has since sold more than 130,000 copies. It is widely held as a definitive reference work and the cornerstone of every woodworker’s library. Now, Bruce Hoadley’s comprehensive guide to wood technology has been revised and updated in this 20th-anniversary edition of a classic.
New information on composite materials, adhesives, and finishes brings this book into the 21st century, while more than 300 photographs bring important visual information to life. This edition covers the nature of wood and its properties, the basics of wood technology, and the woodworker’s raw materials. Understanding Wood was written for woodworkers by a scientist with a love of woodworking. It will be sought after by craftsmen and collectors alike. Purchase Here.
The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking
With continual themes of perfection of technique and building to the limits of one’s skill, this authoritative resource provides in-depth instruction for mastering the craft of cabinetmaking. A bevy of topics, including the proper way to sharpen and hone tools, hollow grinding methodology, and obtaining proper grinding angles, are detailed in this comprehensive cabinet-making sourcebook. Lessons devoted to using and understanding various woods, including common or exotic pieces, learning how to read grain, and the pros and cons in working with air-dried wood versus kiln-dried wood, will educate any level of woodworker. Chapters devoted to resawing as well as problems and concerns due to moisture content and wood movement are also included. Purchase Here.
Encyclopedia of Furniture Making
It’s been the number-one book on the subject for most of the 20th century; the encyclopedia with the latest information on the tools, techniques, and processes. This thorough…edition introduces furniture construction, design, and restoration. Choice color photographs accent…abundant black-and-white photographs and drawings…an invaluable reference. Purchase Here.
With the Grain
A little knowledge about trees goes a long way toward improving your woodworking.
You don’t need a degree in dendrology to build a desk. But you do need intimate knowledge of how our raw material grows and – more importantly – how it responds to its environment after it has been cut and dried.
This knowledge allows you to tame the wood into the shapes that you have envisioned in your head. And it ensures that your furniture will endure the seasons and age with grace and aplomb.
That is why we are particularly pleased to offer the third revised edition of “With the Grain: A Craftsman’s Guide to Understanding Wood” by Christian Becksvoort. This is the book about wood that we wished we’d had when we started woodworking. Purchase Here.
The Caner’s Handbook
Bruce W. Miller, Jim Widess
Give life to old cane furniture as well as weaving seats and backs for new pieces. Traditional techniques and new shortcuts make caning with wicker, rattan, raw-hide, and other materials easy. Useful charts detail how much fiber to buy and what standard lengths are available. “An excellent purchase for any size library. Purchase Here.
The Shaker Legacy: Perspectives on an Enduring Furniture Style
Solid construction and honest functionality make Shaker furniture one of the most popular and timeless design categories. Based on extensive research and personal experience with the last working Shaker community in Maine, this book traces the roots of Shaker design to Shaker belief, which inspired the clean lines, careful craftsmanship, and signature details that define the style. The author also discusses the less known Victorian period of Shaker design and shows how this style has influenced subsequent ones. A bibliography, glossary, and index are included. Purchase Here.
The Craft of Veneering
The Craft of Veneering starts with a simple panel made from a single piece of veneer and progresses through more complex veneer assemblies like bookmatching, bent laminations, and veneering curved panels, edging, and crossbanding. At each step, all the information needed to complete the included sample projects using each of the difference methods is provided. Purchase Here.
Designing Furniture from Concept to Shop Drawing: A Practical Guide
The purpose of the book was to give the reader with a serious interest in furniture making, but little or no design background, a way to craft pleasing and exciting furniture. Purchase Here.
Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking: Three Step-by-Step Guidebooks to Essential Woodworking Techniques
Through these three classic volumes, it’s easy to see why we and woodworkers the world over consider Tage Frid a most cherished woodworking icon. His passion has inspired countless enthusiasts and even shaped the course of the craft today.
In this limited-edition set (only 10,000 copies have been printed), the dean of American woodworking teachers brings to your shop more than half a century of woodworking insight and experience. You’ll learn this master’s techniques through step-by-step photos, detailed drawings, and thoughtful instruction. Purchase Here.
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work
Matthew B. Crawford
Called “the sleeper hit of the publishing season” (The Boston Globe), Shop Class as Soulcraft became an instant best seller, attracting fans with its radical (and timely) reappraisal of the merits of skilled manual labor. On both economic and psychological grounds, author Matthew B. Crawford questions the educational imperative of turning everyone into a “knowledge worker,” based on a misguided separation of thinking from doing. Using his own experience as an electrician and mechanic, Crawford presents a wonderfully articulated call for self-reliance and a moving reflection on how we can live concretely in an ever more abstract world. Purchase Here.
The Intelligent Hand
“The Intelligent Hand” is a peek into a woodworking life that’s at a level that most of us can barely imagine. The customers are wealthy and eccentric. The designs have to leap off the page. And the craftsmanship has to be utterly, utterly flawless. Purchase Here.
In the Greene & Greene Style: Projects and Details for the Woodworker
Legendary architects and designers Charles and Henry Greene created a uniquely American style in the Arts & Crafts tradition, and this book combines a detailed understanding of their design aesthetic with specific shop instructions for re-creating their works. Filled with step-by-step instructions, extensive illustrations, and full-color photographs, the book features several full projects for making replica Greene & Greene furniture complete with authentic details such as ebony plugs and splines, waterfall legs, and curved drawer pulls. Showing today’s woodworkers precisely how the Greenes achieved their unique designs, “”In the Style of Greene & Greene”” also includes valuable advice on incorporating Arts & Crafts elements into new designs. Purchase Here.