Learning resources

Here are some of my favorite woodworking resources:


The Workbench Book by Scott LandisScott Landis, The Workbench Book, Taunton Press, Newtown, 1987. Through this book and his related The Workshop Book. Landis taught me to think carefully about my work environment and especially the centerpiece of a shop, the workbench. After reading this book, I made my own workbench about 15 years ago. It's not a grand bench, but thanks to this book I do have a solid bench that takes abuse and is well fitted to my style of working.

Alf Martensson, The Book of Furniture Making, St. Matin's Press, New York, 1979. My father, who taught me how to use woodworking tools as I assisted him as a kid while he remodeled our house, gave me this book. I actually haven't used the main body of the book much, but it concludes with a 60-page section titled Woodworking Techniques that includes a great overview introduction to hand and power tools, and how to use them.

Magnus J. Wenninger, Polyhedron Models, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1970. I came across this book shortly after I finished the LuminAria lamp⩘ . Father Magnus, a Benedictine monk at St. John's Abbey in Minnesota, includes photos of his models of each of the polyhedra he discusses. I really appreciate the passion he has for his subject. [ Overview⩘  ]

Shoji - How to Design, Build, and Install Japanese Screens by Jay van ArsdaleJay van Arsdale, Shoji - How to Design, Build, and Install Japanese Screens, Kadansha International, Tokyo, 1988. His book provided me with a huge inspiration to focus on the art form of shoji lamps. He was the sensei at Daiku Dojo, "a community organization designed to help provide the education and skills necessary for the use of hand tools in woodworking." [ Overview⩘  ]

Keith Critchlow, Order in Space, Thames and Hudson, New York, 2000 (1969); Islamic Patterns, Thames and Hudson, London, 1976. Critchlow explores spatial design with a keen understanding, insight, and passion. Some of the most wondrous designs in the world can be found in centuries-old Islamic art.

Peter R. Cromwell, Polyhedra, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997. This is a river of information, and I haven't learned how to swim yet. But even wading along the shore has been an enriching experience. [ Overview⩘  ]

The Art of Japanese Joinery by Kiyoshi SeikeKiyoshi Seike, The Art of Japanese Joinery, Weatherhill, New York, 1977. The black & white photographs of joinery in this book are simply beautiful. I also have the original boxed Japanese set of three hardbound books from which this book was extracted and translated. It covers wood construction (this book), as well as bamboo and paper construction. I can't read a word of them, but the photographs are fascinating.

plate from the Art of Japanese Joinery

Peter Pearce & Susan Pearce, Polyhedra Primer, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1978. An excellent introductory book to the world and terminology of polyhedra. Peter Pearce also has written another fascinating book, Structure in Nature is a Strategy for Design. [ Overview⩘  ]

The Woodbook by Romeyn Beck HoughRomeyn Beck Hough, The Woodbook: The Complete Plates, Taschen, Köln, Taschen 25th Anniversary Edition. Wow! Contains information on more than 350 North American species: Latin and common family name, other common names, description, habitat, weight, density, use, and full color photos of the transverse, radial, and tangential sections printed on glossy paper. This is a very beautiful and helpful book. For example, I recently noticed that Wall Lumber is selling Lacewood thin wood, and wondered what it is and looks like. It's a stunning lacy grained oak, originally from Australia.
Hard bound, Smythe sewn⩘ , nearly 800 pages. [ Overview⩘  ]


YouTube. You can find a treasure trove of woodworking videos on YouTube. Start with a search on "woodworking" and then refine your search terms as you explore.
www.youtube.com/resutls?search_query=woodworking⩘ .

Charles Neil's In the Workshop YouTube Channel is a good example. It includes videos like Table Saw Safety⩘  and Tuning Your Table Saw⩘ , which are great sources of practical, down-to-earth information.
Related video: Charles Neil Woodworking: Table Saw Safety⩘ 

Hand Tool Techniques by David CharlesworthDavid Charlesworth, Hand Tool Techniques, Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. This is the set of two DVDs that I mentioned on the Planes page—Part 1: Plane Sharpening; and, Part 2: Hand Planing. Charlesworth is a maestro and shares some excellent lessons, tips, and tricks. I've watched the Sharpening DVD multiple times to give me the courage to tackle this aspect of woodworking that has always intimidated me. It's interesting to note that I've heard a couple other master woodworkers refer to Charlesworth and some of the techniques he has invented and shared.

Scraping Wood by Rob CosmanRob Cosman, Scraping Wood, American Craftsman Publications, 2008. Cosman is another master craftsman. He teaches with patience and good humor, taking the time to go through each step in real time so you can see what it really takes to accomplish what you want to do. Cosman has made a variety of DVDs on various topics including dovetails, tenons, drawer making, and woodcarving. I haven't watched any of the rest of these yet, but based on how excellent his scraping lesson is, I'm sure I'll be watching them sometime.

Graham Blackburn, Frame and Panel Construction, Taunton. I have a kitchen cabinet project on the horizon, so I've been reading about cabinetmaking, but there's something so inspiring to watch a master do it. Although I will probably use power tools—and he does cover them in this video, too—it was wonderful to watch his cat wander around on his workbench as he worked with his hand tools.

Hand Saw Sharpening hosted by Tom LawTom Law, Hand Saw Sharpening, ALP Productions, 2004. Tom Law knows saws. 'Nuff said.

Mark Duginske, Mastering Your Bandsaw and Mastering Woodworking Machines, Taunton. Duginske is a wonderful teacher, sharing his mastery, passed down through generations in his family, with a relaxed Wisconsin style. Here's a glimpse: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2j4uyzOVlk⩘ .

Some online resources

There's so much good woodworking information online that it's almost overwhelming. Here are a few helpful sites and articles.

Sawmill Creek. A great forum for woodworkers. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/index.php⩘ .

Woodworkers Guild of America. A lot of helpful resources. http://www.wwgoa.com⩘ .

Lumberjocks. Good videos, a discussion forum, and more. http://lumberjocks.com⩘ .

BenchMark. Lots of articles and reviews from a passionate woodworker, Phil Bumbalough. www.benchmark.20m.com⩘ .

Arch Daily. "The world's most visited architecture website." Among the many great articles is How Tree Trunks Are Cut to Produce Wood With Different Appearances and Uses⩘ , written and illustrated by José Tomás Franco.
Rift Sawn illustration by by José Tomás Franco
https://www.archdaily.com⩘ .

Woodgears.ca. Lots of articles and plans from another passionate woodworker, Mathias Wandel, an engineer who is particularly good with jigs. This guy is seriously talented and clever. He has a great page of links to other woodworking sites⩘ . www.woodgears.ca⩘ .

The Wood Whisperer. A helpful site with many good technique and safety videos. http://thewoodwhisperer.com⩘ .

International Wood Collectors Society, World of Wood. Everything you'll ever need to know about wood collecting. www.woodcollectors.org⩘ .

Woodweb. A good article about the challenge presented by those scoundrels: cup, bow, and crook. Warp in Drying: Causes and cures for warpage when drying lumber⩘  by Eugene M. Wengert and Dan Meyer, Forestry Facts, School of Natural Resources, Department of Forestry, No. 68 - November 1993.

< Odds & ends · Sources >