My collection of books really isn’t very unique or unusual. I have some of the essentials by the more well-known authors, but it doesn’t go much deeper than that. I am so busy producing and consuming content on the web, that I sometimes find it difficult to chisel out time for a good book. Despite that, I’ve been able to read a number of books that have made a lasting impression on me as a woodworker.
When I read a book, I am not always looking for detailed techniques. Instead, I am looking for pure inspiration. And that inspiration usually comes from an author’s personality, their point of view, and their life story. I am also inspired by gallery-style books with little more than pictures of furniture. When my creativity dries up, there is nothing quite like a furniture design book to get the juices flowing again.
So here’s a quick list of some of my favorites:
“Greene & Greene: Design Elements for the Workshop” by Darrell Peart
I am currently infatuated with the Greene & Greene style. This book is a great starting point for anyone interested in the Greene Bros., the Hall Bros. and the techniques they used to create their masterpieces.
“Understanding Wood” by Bruce Hoadley
This book reads a lot like my plant physiology books in college. I guess that’s why I like it so much!
“Adventures in Wood Finishing” by George Frank
This is a very interesting book full of stories that somehow involve finishing.
“Understanding Wood Finishing” by Bob Flexner
When you decide to take finishing seriously, this is the first book I recommend reading. Even today, I refer to it frequently.
“Fixing and Avoiding Woodworking Mistakes” by Sandor Nagyszalanczy
Knowing where mistakes can occur is a great way to avoid making them. And if somehow you make them anyway, it’s nice to know how to fix them.
“Woodworking Wit & Wisdom” by Jim Tolpin
A good mix of education and entertainment.
FineWoodworking Design Books
These could very well be considered “coffee table books” by many. But for me, they provide inspiration time and time again.
“Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” by Christopher Schwarz
The latest in my list of favorites. Chris’s book opened my eyes to practical workbench design.
Above is the picture of my bookshelf. You’ll notice some sci-fi/fantasy books living amongst my woodworking collection. 🙂
– Marc J. Spagnuolo, The WoodWhisperer.com