Illustrated Cabinetmaking - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

This book belongs in the workshop of every novice and intermediate level woodworker.


Illustrated Cabinetmaking: How to Design and Construct Furniture That Works

I've been a fan of Bill Hylton's work for some time. While best known for his router books, he's written on a wide range of woodworking topics, including frame and panel construction, wood joinery, chest construction and outdoor furniture.
I bought my first copy of Illustrated Cabinetmaking in 1998. The dog-eared condition of the book and the replacement 'duct tape spine' that I added a couple of years ago attest to how frequently its been referred to in the shop. I'll admit my bias up front: its one of the five basic books I recommend that every novice woodworker should own (though it doesn't mean that an intermediate level woodworker won't benefit from this book).
The first few pages in the book "Furniture Anatomy" presents a visual dictionary of the various furniture parts you need to know. So, you'll no longer refer to the 'thing in the middle', but the 'muntin'. Hylton then goes on to describe all the various furniture styles you're likely to encounter. It's nice to be able to tell various styles apart, and see style influences in other peoples work. Once you hit on a stile that you really like you can then research it in greater depth.

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This is followed by a short but informative overview of wood movement. Again, Hylton provides the basics here. Once you understand the basics of wood movement you'll be well served by moving on to a more thorough treatment, such as Hoadley's "Understanding Wood".
The next fifty pages, appropriately titled "Joints", cover all the basic joints you are likely to use. Each joint is accompanied by an illustration and a short description of its purpose and function. Until you get very familiar with joinery you are likely to come back to this visual display time and time again.
Once you know about joints, you need to know how various pieces of wood go together to form a piece of furniture. In the next fifty or so pages, Hylton describes some of the major subassemblies common to many woodworking projects, including post and rail construction, tabletops, casework, and door and drawer construction. Here, you see the joints, described in the previous chapter, put into context. There are copious illustrations to supplement the discussion.
The rest of the book, some 240 pages, consists of just over 100 furniture projects, everything from tables to desks, to cabinets. Here Hylton shows you how various pieces of furniture are put together. Each project consists of a short description, a detailed illustration that shows how the parts go together, a sidebar (Design Variations) that provides tips on altering the appearance of the project, and a list of where you can obtain plans for similar projects.
"Illustrated Cabinetmaking" is pretty much a course in itself, and belongs in the workshop of every novice and intermediate level woodworker.

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  • Fundamentals
    • Furniture Anatomy
    • Furniture Styles
    • Wood Movement
  • Joints
    • Edge Joints
    • Case Joints
    • Frame Joints
    • Rail Joints
  • Subassemblies
  • Post and Rail Construction
    • Tabletops
    • Casework
    • Door Construction
    • Drawer Construction
    • Cabinet Bases
    • Moldings
  • Furniture
    • Dining tables
    • Occasional tables
    • Desks
    • Chests
    • Cabinets
    • Built-In Cabinets
    • Beds
  • Index
PUBLISHER:Fox Chapel Publishing
AVAILABLE FROM:Your local bookseller or online
FORMAT:Softcover, 384 pages
AUTHOR:Bill Hylton
Carl Duguay
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