The Woodworker's Studio Handbook

A general overview of what's involved in woodworking for anyone thinking about taking up the craft.

The Woodworker's Studio Handbook

The Woodworker's Studio Handbook

Subtitled "Traditional and Contemporary Techniques for the Home Woodworking Shop" this book provides a general overview of what's involved in woodworking. The author covers a little of everything - furniture making, crafts, turning, and carving. This makes it good, I think, for anyone who is thinking about taking up woodworking as a hobby, and wants to find out what is involved in the craft. It's much less likely to be of practical use to someone who has taken the plunge, and wants to learn more about woodworking techniques. 

The first chapter provides a list of various machines, power tools, and hand tools that are used in woodworking, but it doesn't provide any guidelines for which tools you might initially want to purchase. For example, there are 8 types of hand planes listed, 7 types of hammers, and 7 types of handsaws – with nary a mention of which tools the novice should buy. A reader might be forgiven for thinking that he or she will need all of them.

The section on wood, sheet goods, and veneers is somewhat more informative, though it veers off rather quickly into rough sawn and green lumber. In my experience most novice woodworkers tend to purchase pre-milled lumber from their local building supply store. It certainly makes more sense to practice on inexpensive lumber than higher prices imported stock.

Likewise, the section on project design, though it has some useful information, seems out of place when the bulk of the book focuses on project plans. While emulation is an important part of the learning process, so too is imitation. 

The book contains 13 projects, though one project "Dovetails Made with the Router" is essentially a technique, not a project. In general, the woodworking techniques covered in the book are too simplistic to be of much use. For example, the section on cope and stick joinery is limited to one page - half photos and half text. While it tells the ready what to do, it doesn't explain how to do it.

The cut lists (what the author calls 'Estimating Templates') include rough dimensions for some of the stock, along with final dimensions. However, there appears to be no consistency in usage, as for some projects the rough dimensions column is simply blank.

If you're at the 'contemplation' stage of woodworking ("Maybe I should get into woodworking"), then this book will give you a general idea of what's involved. If you've made up your mind to take up the craft, or you've just begun setting up shop, I'd suggest you consider purchasing a couple of books with a greater focus on woodworking techniques.

Table of Contents:

  • Setting Up the Studio
  • The Wonders of Wood
  • Project Design
  • Wood Joinery
  • Bending Laminated Wood
  • Routers
  • Carving Wood
  • Turning Wood
  • The Final Finish & Gallery
  • Appendix
  • Resources
  • Glossary
  • About the Author
  • About the Photographer
  • Acknowledgements
  • Index
PUBLISHER:Quarry Books
FORMAT:Softcover, 176 pages
AUTHOR:Jim Whitman

Carl Duguay
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