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 Joel's Blog

Books You Should Read This Year (If You Haven't Already Done So)


It's that time of year again when a tool retailer's mind drifts to retailing. With that in mind I thought I would go over some of the books we stock that I think you should read.

Make a Joint Stool From a Tree is a great underrated book. A how-to seeped in history. Jennie Alexander, a co-author along with Peter Follansbee also did a video on chairmaking many years ago called Make a Chair From a Tree which I found long, but comprehensive and very interesting.

We Sit Together is a small charmer of a book. I wrote about it and an exhibit based on the book here.

Identifying American Furniture is a must have book for anyone interested in furniture - making or collecting, and is a wonderful stocking stuffer.

Exercises in Wood-Working is a great book for those of you who want to learn woodworking using hand tools and can benefit from a structured series of lessons.

I still think that The Joiner And Cabinetmaker, which I had a hand in getting to press, is one of the best books on learning to do woodworking. The reason is that it is a story, a narrative about learning to be a joiner. I think the projects make eminent sense for a beginner and the story gives everything context.

Chris Pye's Woodcarving Course & Reference Manual is the book I am using as I learn to carve. I'm getting better by the way - and having paced lessons is really good for me.

We stock a lot of books, some I think are must haves, some that may not be a first choice for a beginner, but as you get more interested in producing good work these are books that should find their way into your library. In this age of the internet where so much information is available free one important thing you get from a book is a coherent narrative. The author has made editorial choices on how to present information over the length of the book and that to me makes it far easier to learn.

Here are a bunch of more books that are not on the list above that you can learn from:

To Make as Perfectly as Possible

By Hand and Eye

With The Grain

We expect to have one or two more titles available in the coming days or weeks. I've also left off the list a few charmers like Pocket Tree Finders by Nature Study Guild which are great stocking stuffers and other titles which I can't think of now (it's Tuesday night just before the blog goes live and with all the talk of Black Friday and Cyber Monday I feel that I have to mention some products for the holidays but it's not like the marketing analysis committee has been working on this list for months. Actually the best part of working in a small company like ours is that we get to pick stuff we like - remember "staff picks" at the bookstore or video store - when we had book and video stores run by people? This is what this blog entry is really about.)

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The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.