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I don’t know if you’ve looked for woodworking books lately at your local bookstore – but I have, and there’s a dearth of offerings. So, our bookstore folk have been working hard to make sure our online bookstore has the books you need. They’ve recently added many new books and DVDs to the store, as well as expanded the categories. I, for one, think iron and wood look great together, so I appreciate the new “Metal Work Projects” category, for example. And when I finally screw up the courage to the sticking point and get started on my kitchen remodel, the “Home Improvement Projects” category is sure to come in handy. So, here are five books we’ve recently added that I find intriguing – two of which are already on my shelf.

“The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director”

by Thomas Chippendale
Thomas Chippendale was the first cabinetmaker to publish a book of his designs, and this book was used not only by his clients to select items, but was used as a style book for those wanting work (perhaps more cheaply) from other cabinetmakers as well. Consequently, Chippendale’s designs were copied by many in his own time. This book is a reprint of the third edition (the first was published in 1754), which was revised and enlarged. I think this book belongs in the library of any woodworker interested in the history of the craft – not just those who build 18th-century furniture.

“Carving Architectural Detail in Wood: The Classical Tradition”

by Frederick Wilbur
While I’ve not yet tried my hand at carving, I’m drawn to architectural forms, and this book provides a primer in the skills to produce mouldings, capitals, rosettes and more. Perhaps someday I’ll sharpen up my grandfather’s carving tools and try my hand at making a new mantelpiece for my house…though I should start, perhaps, with a small Neoclassical picture frame.

“Making Shoji”
by Toshio Odate
While a shoji screen wouldn’t match the style of my house (inside or out), I appreciate the form and I like learning about different traditions in woodworking – and I greatly admire Toshio Odate (I hope at least some of you got the chance to hear him speak at last year’s Woodworking in America in Valley Forge, Pa.).

The Backyard Blacksmith
by Lorelei Sims
I’d like very much to be able to combine metal and wood in some future projects – eventually, I want to build an iron-bound coffer, along the lines of something you’d find in a medieval castle. Don Weber, a woodworker and blacksmith who lives in Paint Lick, Ky., often combines the two materials in his work, and the results are simply beautiful (heck – he even makes iron “buttons” to hold his tabletops in place – how cool is that?!).

“Sourcebook of Modern Furniture”
By Jerryll Habegger and Joseph H. Osman
I have yet to build what you could consider a “modern” piece of furniture – but I want to. And looking at great pictures of some of the best forms from the 20th and 21st centuries is a good way to find inspiration. Plus, this book is so good looking that it belongs on the coffee table rather than tucked away among my woodworking books.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

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