A Few of My Favorite Books

As Turkey Day hits and the retail market gears up for crowds, it’s time for us to add one more cliche to the pile by making our suggestions of shopping options for the woodworking book lover. What the heck, try and go one day without a cliche! We asked the PW editors for their favorite books from who else, but Popular Woodworking Books! Oh, and I made them promise not to pick their own books, (I’ll go ahead and do that for them!)

From Megan Fitzpatrick, managing editor:
I’ve been gravitating away from cords lately (my 115 year-old-house is sorely lacking in adequate electric); in my quest to better learn to use hand tools, I’ve found the collection of articles in “Hand Tool Essentials” to be invaluable. From the basics such as setting up and sharpening, to old-school techniques like drawboring, this book has it all.

From Robert W. Lang, senior editor:
I’m going with “I Can Do That“. It’s not for everyone, but it’s the perfect book to give someone just starting out in woodworking.

From Christopher Schwarz, editor:
One of my favorite woodworking books of all time is Jim Tolpin’s “Measure Twice Cut Once.” I read the first edition of this book many years ago and it did something that few other woodworking books do. It made me rethink how I design, draw and build projects. Whenever people ask me for a list of woodworking books they should own, this one is always on the list.

Glen D. Huey, senior editor:
My favorite book from those listed on the PW site is “Pleasant Hill Shaker Furniture” by Kerry Pierce. I’m a projects-oriented guy and I like the pieces that Mr. Pierce selected to publish. If this book were passed to me for a holiday gift, I know full well that my shop time would be booked throughout the year. Shop time, that is, that wasn’t shortened due to reading about the details of the pieces and life in the Shaker community. A solid understanding of Shaker furniture is as important as the actual description of how it’s built.

And because I wouldn’t let the PW editors pick their own books, here’s a few of my favorites:

Workbenches, by Christopher Schwarz
If you’ve ever built a workbench, or you plan on building a workbench, or if you just like workbenches, this is the book for you. Great history, great instruction and a thoughtful look on how we use benches.

Drafting and Design for Woodworkers, by Robert W. Lang
Building is only part of the woodworker’s evolutionary process. As we become comfortable with our craft we want to change designs or design our own. Bob walks through the steps to draw (pun intended) the design from our brains and put it on paper or the computer screen. A must for the developing woodworker.

Glen Huey’s Illustrated Guide to Building Period Furniture, by Glen Huey
You’ve seen them in museums, but many of these furniture styles seem to be out-of-reach for many woodworker’s skills. Not so! Glen brings the process down to earth and shares the secrets of successful period furniture.

We hope this list helps with your holiday shopping needs. but if you’re still not seeing what you want, take a look at the entire store. Happy Thanksgiving!

– David Thiel, Popular Woodworking Books editor