The best books on traditional woodworking

Graham Blackburn Author Of Traditional Woodworking Handtools: A Manual for the Woodworker
By Graham Blackburn

The Books I Picked & Why

How to Use Woodworking Tools

By R.L. Bridgman

How to Use Woodworking Tools

Why this book?

Published in 1881 this is an absolutely fundamental book for the beginner. Amply illustrated, you will learn important details such as how to hold tools and what to expect from them as well as how basic joints are formed and made. Focused on wooden tools this is information not commonly reproduced in more contemporary books.

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Practical Woodwork

By Charles H. Hayward

Practical Woodwork

Why this book?

The most prolific woodworking writer of the twentieth century, Charles Hayward spans the era that started with hand tools and saw the introduction of the first electric tools thus making clear the advantages of the traditional methods. Profusely illustrated with drawings of joints, tools, and actual techniques, this is truly one of the most complete books on the basics of traditional woodworking.


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The Practical Book of Period Furniture - Treating of Furniture of the English, American Colonial and Post-Colonial, and Principal, French Periods

By Harold Donaldson Eberlein, Abbot McClure

The Practical Book of Period Furniture - Treating of Furniture of the English, American Colonial and Post-Colonial, and Principal, French Periods

Why this book?

Photographs and detailed line drawings cover virtually the entire history of European furniture construction. Not merely a catalogue this book goes into minute detail about construction of the finest furniture that was ever made by hand from clockcases to bedsteads. It explains stylistic details as well as actual methods.


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Antique Woodworking Tools: A Guide to the Purchase, Restoration and Use of Old Tools for Today's Shop

By Michael Dunbar

Antique Woodworking Tools: A Guide to the Purchase, Restoration and Use of Old Tools for Today's Shop

Why this book?

Known primarily as one of America’s foremost Windsor chairmakers Michael Dunbar’s book is a great guide to the purchase, restoration, and use of old traditional wooden tools for today’s shop. This book explains and illustrates how and why so many apparently ‘antique’ tools still do the job they were designed to do, often much better and faster than many contemporary tools.


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Ancient Carpenters' Tools: Illustrated and Explained, Together with the Implements of the Lumberman, Joiner and Cabinet-Maker in Use in the Eighteenth Century

By Henry C. Mercer

Ancient Carpenters' Tools: Illustrated and Explained, Together with the Implements of the Lumberman, Joiner and Cabinet-Maker in Use in the Eighteenth Century

Why this book?

From witchets to moulding planes, from Roman tools to eighteenth-century American tools, this was my first "bible" on the subject. A more thorough grounding — with amazing photographs — would be hard to find. Reading this book puts two millennia of woodworking into a useful perspective. Once read it will illustrate in greater detail every other book on the subject. Totally essential.


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