Best Woodworking Books: Buying Guide 2018

Woodworking is an art and craft that you can learn through DIY projects from best woodworking books. However, the market is flooded with woodworking books, some useful and other not useful at all. Therefore, it is important to know the value of the book you are purchasing, in terms of the information contained. Here is a review of top 5 woodworking books to help you choose the right book to reference your project.

What Is Woodworking?

Woodworking is simply the process of creating a project from wood using some skills and with the help of some tools. Through imagination, you can make whatever you want, such as home furniture.

Although you might take woodworking as a hobby, it might turn out to be a career, and from the unique designs you create, you can a decent income. However, you need to be creative in making special designs. Some of the careers in woodworking are interior finishing and cabinetry.

What Are Some Basic Woodworking Tools?

To achieve any woodworking project successfully, you must have some tools and equipment at hand to help you shape the wood to desired pattern and thickness. Here are some basic woodworking tools.

  • Jigsaw, to help you cut curves, but for detailed work you need a coping saw.
  • Thickness planner and jointer to help you achieved the desired thickness of your wood and attach joints easily.
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure accompanied by markers like pencil.
  • Smoothers like files, rasps, sand paper and smoothing plane.

Factor To Consider When Buying Woodworking Books

Just like you consider different factors when purchasing anything, you should not buy woodworking books without some considerations. Here are some things to consider.

Cost and value

The layout of the book

Language used

Content of the book


Top 5 Woodworking Books

1. Woodworking Basics - Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship - An Integrated Approach With Hand and Power tools

The paperback of the book is 208 pages, and the language used is English. Taunton is the publisher of the book, which was published on 9th September, on the year 2003.

The author of the woodworking basics is Korn, who is also the director of Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, located in Rockport, Maine, to provide workshops in woodworking. In addition, he is the author of Working with Wood, published by Taunton press in the year 1993.

The book is an introductory course to learning woodworking, which more than 20 years, hundreds of individuals have learnt great tips. The process used by Peter Korn helps beginner woodworkers master the appropriate woodworking techniques. Also, experienced woodworkers can master classic skills of making furniture, which are essential in fine craftsmanship.

To help you get the confidence of working with various tools and put the skills into practice, the author describes the process of making two projects, which are a side table featuring a drawer and a door, and a small bench.


Cutting dovetails

The process of cutting dovetails is described step by step by the author, and all aspects of the project are covered.

Cutting mortise and tenon joints

The book covers the process of cutting mortise and tenon joints in a simpler way. The DIY process is made easier even for fresh woodworkers in an attractive manner.

Using hand tools correctly

If you intend to learn how to use different hand tools, the book describes all that appropriately.

Four square milling of a board

The step by step four squares milling of a board is explained in a simple language in the book.

Using woodworking machinery safely

The book features a guide to using woodworking machinery safely, thus a good beginner guide.


  • Great starter book for new woodworkers.
  • Step by step guide for DIY projects.
  • Simple and easy to understand.
  • Great content, thus a great read.


  • Although the information is great, to accomplish some of the projects describes, you need to buy some expensive equipment like a planer.

2. Great Book of Woodworking Tips (Best of American Woo)

Randy Johnson is the author of the 336 pages book. The book shares woodworking tips of any woodwork project. The Great Book of Woodworking Tips is an important DIY reference, full of reader-written woodwork techniques and tips borrowed from American Woodworker Magazine, which is a premier publication of woodworkers.

The book makes a comprehensive guide, providing over 650 answers to usual woodworking problems. Every useful point has been tested by the editors, and made clear using workshop photography. Answers to challenging questions to both beginner and experienced woodworkers are in the book. Among the skills covered in the book are finishing, joinery, gluing, clamping, routing, sawing and drilling among others.

The book is well organized to help you solve maintenance, shop organization, techniques, tools and material problems that even the experienced woodworkers cannot provide. Besides, the book shares the secrets of experienced woodworkers into making woodworking effective and easier.


Flattening warped wood

One of the topics featured in the book is the means of flattening warped wood in as easier way that is unknown to many.

Gluing and clamping curved parts and awkward miters

Both processes are explained step by step to make it easier.

Routing fitting edge joints perfectly

The topic helps you master the easiest way to always rout fitting joints perfectly.

Sharpening blades and bits

You will learn how to sharpen different types of blades and bits, which comprises carbide router bits.

Making drawer slides

The book features the topic of making drawer slides perfectly, such that they will never wear out or glide.

How to plane and joint

You will learn how to plane and joint to the required thickness without causing snipes.


  • Excellent information for both new and experienced woodworkers.
  • The book has a great layout.
  • Very cheap and with ideas and tips.
  • Helpful information.


  • Some information does not suit new woodworkers.

3. The Complete Manual of Woodworking: A Detailed Guide to Design, Techniques, and Tools for the Beginner and Expert

The authors of the book are David Day and Albert Jackson, best-selling authors of many Woodworking and DIY titles. The book comprises of 320 pages in English language, and it’s a 5th printing edition of Knopf publishers, which was done in 3rd December in the year 1996.

The book is an authoritative guide composed of the entire woodworking art and craft, illustrated with over 1,800 photos, diagrams and drawings. The design of the book is aimed at inspiring and instructing all woodworkers, both beginners and experts.

Besides, the subjects covered are interesting if you are interested in learning about woodwork or to start your own DIY woodwork projects.


Principal of hardwoods and softwood

A detailed discussion of hardwoods and softwoods principal is featured in the book, giving you a clear understanding of both, in terms of use and suitable projects.

Choosing and using hand tools

This is a major topic covered in the book, to help you choose the appropriate tools for your project. Besides, the topic gives a detailed guide on how to use the hand tools you choose.

Working techniques

The book features many useful woodworking techniques lessons, to help you learn a step by step. The techniques are explained in a way that a complete beginner can master them. Among the techniques covered are laminating, fastening, bonding and jointing among others.


  • An excellent manual for new and expert woodworkers.
  • Great details for various technique instructions.
  • Well illustrated for amateurs.
  • It is easy to read.


  • The book makes an excellent basic reference guide but not a project guide for beginners.

4. Big Book of Scroll Saw Woodworking: More Than 60 Projects and Techniques for Fretwork, Intarsia & Other Scroll Saw Crafts

The book is compiled by the Editors of Scroll Saw Woodworking and Crafts. The 1st edition of the book was published on 1st December in the year 2009 by Fox Chapel Publishing. The book is a collection of 60 projects, suitable for scroll saw starters and experts. Besides, the contributors of the book are 25 scroll saw experts.

Furthermore, the book makes a good reference for crisp photos, techniques, tips, detailed patterns and step by step expert instructions. All these are aimed at helping you increase your creativity or in mastering the featured projects.

In addition, you will get inspiration from great contributors such as Rick Hutcheson, Kathy Wise, Ron Brown, Gary Mackay and John A. Nelson using their simple designs for beginners, as well as detailed portraits and compound cut pieces. To make it easier in location of various projects, the book is categorized.

The book starts covering simple topics to complex topics, with each topic giving information on materials to use, tools, how to use, planning and finishing among others.


Selection of materials

A detailed guide to help you select the right materials for your project is featured in the book.

Working with patterns

The topic helps both beginners and experienced woodworkers to use different patterns in their projects with ease.

Blade selection

Blade selection is also a category covered in the book to help you select the right blade to use in your project.

Scroll saw tips

Great and unique scroll saw tips are featured in the book, which you might not find elsewhere.


  • Nice read for scroll saw fanatics.
  • Great for learning patterns.
  • Excellent instructions on every project.
  • Good starter pack for woodwork lovers.
  • Well written and the information is useful.


  • Some references needs updating.
  • Variance in projects is not that much.

5. Complete Starter Guide to Whittling: 24 Easy Projects You Can Make in a Weekend (Best of Woodcarving)

Editors of Woodcarving Illustrated are the authors of the series book, Best of Woodcarving. The paperback of the book is 96 pages, and Fox Chapel Publishing is the publisher and the first publishing was done on 1st May in 2014 using English language.

The book is composed by 12 leading woodcarvers to help you whittle with ease, by presenting 24 easy whittling projects. The only limitation to whittling is your imagination, otherwise with the help of the book, you only need is a twig and a knife to whittle anything.

The book covers important tips, photographs, patterns to carve and instructions of how to carve various patterns.


Easy whittling projects

The book features 24 easy to whittle projects. The projects are explained in details using a step-by-step guide to help you do it yourself. Besides, the projects are explained using clear photos and various test carve patterns are available.

Whittling techniques

Whittling techniques of both branches and twigs are featured in the book, to give you an insight of what to do when you choose either in your project.

Basic knife cuts of whittlers

The four basic knife cuts that are used by almost all whittlers are featured in the book and explained in details, to help you choose the best.

Choosing and sharpening whittling knives

To help beginners get the perfect knives, the book explains all factors you should consider when choosing a whittling knife, as well as a guide on how to sharpen the knife safely.


  • Interesting and fun projects to do.
  • Quality illustrations to guide beginners.
  • Good information from the start, making a good guide.


  • Although the information is good and well-illustrated to make the projects much easier, the words and directions used are favors intermediate beginners.

Closing Remarks

Different woodworkers have different best woodworking books, based on their expertise. However, they all consider woodworking books with great information, clear step-by-step guide to carry out various projects using photography illustrations as the best books. The woodwork book you choose should match your needs. Also, from the reviews above, the price of a book does not determine its quality. Therefore, you should check the content of the book before purchasing, as well as the reviews of previous users to know the quality and usefulness of the book.

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