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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

I am interested in learning about woodworking. I never had the opportunity to take classes and there are no colleges/programs where I live that offer classes. I was wondering if anyone can offer some suggestions of some good books to read to learn the art.

Thanks
 

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Forgotten but not gone
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Start with Understanding Wood by Bruce Hoadley. Make sure it's the latest edition. I have it but forget which it is.

All longterm successful craftsmanship begins with understanding the material with which the craftsman works; in our case wood. Hoadley has written the bible on understanding what wood does and why it does it.

Apart from that, select books that target the type of woodworking you want to pursue most and go from there.

P.S. Tell us what king of woodworking interests you most. Furniture? What kind . . . comtemporary? Arts and crafts? Rustic? etc.
Cabinetry? Small boxes?
 

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I have read Bruce's book and I agree its a great baseline for understanding wood and what it does but I think it may be pretty dry reading and on the edge of boring.May I suggest going to a local book store and looking at several different books on types of woodworking that interest you while sipping on a cup of coffee. Having a selection of woodworking interest books makes the adventure a little more interesting and you may find a specific path you want to take to kick of your woodworking interest. I dont think Bruce's book is known by to many to launch an interest in woodworking. Dont get me wrong, the book is right on and has become many woodworkers right hand for information on wood and its behavior but it does little for the art of woodworking in my humble opinion.
 

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Woodworker and Contractor
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do you have a Woodcraft store near you they offer some nice classes:icon_smile:
 

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What-Cha-Want'in-Ta-Make-?

There's allot between tooth picks and timber frames.

If your wanting to wood work to make items for/in your life + extra woodworks for sale then start with how to safely use basic woodworking power tools like Table saw, planer, jointer, miter saw, router.
Safety first.

A little extra spent on core tools will go a long way.

Study is great, but hands on with an experienced person is Xgreat. I'm not knocking books , but if you ask a book a question, its hard to get an answer.

Building a project or doubles with an experienced person is an easy frugal way to learn.
Maybe- You purchase the wood and the vittles.

jim
 

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reading material

I agree that Hoadley's book is good. In my early days of just learning the craft, I was given a stack of old Fine Woodworking magazines. They have their pros and cons, but if you're really new, they can supply a lot of information. They have indexes to back issues and you can find articles on most anything. Our public library has these, maybe yours does too. It's more for hobbyists with a lot of time and cash, but nonetheless, I still use them for information, sometimes.

As has been said, though, there's nothing like getting in there and doing it. If you live near a university, they might have a woodwork shop open to the public, where you can take a class. We have OSU here, and I've actually taught the intermediate woodworking class in the Craft Center.

Good Luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You would think that by living in a college town there would be places to go to get info, but unfortunately.... I have even talked with the Chair of the department that would offer such classes and even he did not have any suggestions as to where I can get some hands on help (they no longer offer woodworking or similar courses).

I am primarily interested in learning how to use tools at this point so that I can make/create household items like bookcases. My goal is to eventually make a grandfather clock (my grandfather was a woodworker but he passed on many years ago).

I like all the suggestions - I don't know why I didn't think about look through some old woodworking magazines.

Keep them coming - and no, unfortunately the closest non-textbook bookstore is an hour and a half away and we have no woodworking stores in the area. I love living in a rural area except for the occassional inconvenience.
 

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I love to read so I have tons of books. I normally get them from half.com for a pretty good price.

The 2 most helpful that I have are-

The Woodworker's Complete Shop Reference by J. Churchhill

It covers the basics about tools and assembly. I use it mainly for the shop math section, it has all the geometry and trigonometry formulas written out so you don't need to memorize. I was really suprised at how much math is used in woodworking. Having the formulas can save a good bit of time.
This book also has a good section on dimensions, designs and standard guidelines. Examples- Best mattress height, desktop heights and sizes, and measurements for commonly shelved items.


Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner

This would be a better read after you actually learn how to make something.
http://product.half.ebay.com/_W0QQtgZinfoQQprZ182755
 

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Good suggestions from everyone. Like jodie I have tons of the things and would be hesitant to start naming them off. The only one I believe everywoodworker needs is the one I mentioned. Just read the reviews on it at amazon.com and decide for yourself don't take my word alone on it.
For building bookcases no you don't really need it, but when you start selecting woods and choosing joinery etc for that grandfather clock you will find it indespensible. The description given of the book starts with this sentence and I think sums it up pretty well:

Wood is a complex, dynamic material that can only be used successfully if the craftsperson understands it.

The only gripe I have about the book is that when I go to look something up, I usually get sidetracked and end up reading for 30 minutes or more, unable to put the thing down and go back to work! :laughing:
I find the book fascinating but I do understand how some people wouldn't be able to get into it..

HERE is the link to read the reviews - many of them if not most are by admitted "novice" and "new" woodworkers. Scroll down and read the one by "wierdwierd".

I like the idea about covering your table with mags and books and sort of finding your way also, but watch out, it can get expensive. :blink:
 

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My advice is similar to Jim's, safety first. Find a book or mag that discusses safety for the tools you are using.

The best advice I read after I bought my table saw was something like this, "trust your instinct. If a cut seems dangerous, then there is a better, safer way to do it."

So do yourself a favor and take the time to figure out what the other method is.

Dave
 

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johnep
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Have a cruise through the videos on utube. The Wood Whisperer
and Charles Neil are good places to start.
I have learnt lots this way, including how to use pocket holes.
johnep
 
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