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Library - September 2008

A SPLINTERED HISTORY OF WOOD, by Spike Carlsen, carves out a comprehensive and dynamic history of wood’s global impact and its personal significance to people in all walks of life. As the publisher correctly points out, it’s anything but a dull dissertation on the scientific properties of wood. Carlsen has traveled thousands of miles and interviewed hundreds of wood users and enthusiasts — including former President Jimmy Carter, musical instrument makers, lumberjacks and belt sander racers. In no particular order, the book covers the history of toothpicks, the art of making a Steinway piano, 10 great moments in catapult history, and the building of the “Spruce Goose,” which Carlsen notes was made mostly from birch. Carlsen, the former executive editor of The Family Handyman magazine, is celebrating wood as a remarkable substance and has compiled an interesting and informative collection of articles for wood enthusiasts. The 432-page softcover sells for $24.95. Contact: Harper Collins Publishers, 10 E. 53rd St., New York, NY 10022. Tel: 212-207-7000.

COUNTRY PINE FURNITURE PROJECTS, by Bill Hylton, includes plans for building 32 classic pieces. The projects require basic woodworking skills and include desks, tables, a large Amish wardrobe, corner cupboard, hanging shelves and case of drawers. They can be completed with basic hand tools or, at the very least, with a table saw and router. Drawings, cut lists and step-by-step instructions are included with each project. The 324-page hardcover sells for $24.95. Contact: Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., 1970 Broad St., East Petersburg, PA 17520. Tel: 800-457-9112.

THE BIG BOOK OF WEEKEND WOODWORKING, by John A. & Joyce C. Nelson, includes 150 projects for beginning to intermediate woodworkers. The projects include a candleholder, cutting board and assorted toys, as well as a four-drawer storage unit and Adirondack chair for the more ambitious “weekend warriors.” Every project includes a materials list that spells out how much wood you’ll need in what dimensions, step-by-step instructions, and clearly labeled, exploded views that show how to put each project together. The 448-page softcover sells for $19.95. Contact: Lark Books, 50 College St., Asheville, NC 28801. Tel: 800-805-5489.

TRIM CARPENTRY PROJECTS, by Chris Marshall, is a valuable guide featuring a wide variety of projects that will add value and beauty to any home. The difference between an ordinary home and an unforgettable one is in the details, and this thorough book explains how to plan the job, choose the appropriate wood and style, and use hand and power tools. More than 360 color photographs break down each process to its core components: start by adding crown molding and a rich-looking cornice, install a chair rail or raised-paneled wainscoting, or replace a boring interior doorway with a custom-crafted, block-and-plinth casing. Using custom or prefabricated parts, woodworkers can dress up a living room with an elegant coffered ceiling, add picture rails, or install baseboard moldings. Marshall is a woodworker and an author of many articles and books on woodworking and home improvement projects. The 160-page softcover sells for $14.95. Contact: Sterling Publishing Co., 387 Park Ave. S., New York, NY 10016-8810. Tel: 212-532-7160.

— Jennifer Hicks


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