THE WOODWRIGHT’S GUIDE: WORKING WOOD WITH WEDGE AND EDGE, by Roy Underhill, covers the techniques of traditional woodcraft with muscle-powered tools. The author recounts the process of woodcraft, a journey that begins in the forest, passes through each woodworking trade, and ends with a handmade artifact that will be treasured for generations. Each chapter explores one of the nine trades of woodcraft: faller, countryman and cleaver, hewer, log builder, sawyer, carpenter, joiner, turner and cabinetmaker. Each trade brings new tools and techniques to the process, and sets the stage for the skills introduced in the following chapters. Thus, once the technique of drawboring a mortise and tenon joint is introduced in the chapter on carpentry, it reappears as a known quantity in the chapter on joinery and cabinetmaking. Hundreds of drawings illustrate the hand tools and techniques for shaping and joining wood. As a bonus, Underhill has included an appendix with detailed plans for making a foot-powered lathe, workbench, shaving horse and more. The 192-page softcover sells for $22.50. Contact: The University of North Carolina Press, 116 S. Boundary St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Tel: 919-962-0581. www.uncpress.unc.edu
THE ART OF TURNED BOWLS, by Richard Raffan, is an updated version of the book first published in 1987, retooled with color photographs of contemporary bowls by award-winning turners from around the world. With a unique talent for making even the most abstract ideas accessible, Raffan offers a wealth of design advice. Practical, informative and inspiring, this new edition also expands its exploration of form and developing profiles. Along with a good lathe and a reliable set of tools, the book belongs in the shop of any serious turner. The 270-page softcover sells for $24.95. Contact: Taunton Press, P.O. Box 5506, Newtown, CT 06470-5506. Tel: 800-888-8286. www.taunton.com
SHARPENING PLANES & CHISELS, with Ian Kirby, is a comprehensive guide to sharpening and tuning a variety of planes and chisels. This helpful how-to DVD employs a structured, step-by-step method to show woodworkers of every skill level how to adjust hand planes and chisels for maximum precision. Furniture makers, cabinet makers, joiners, carpenters, coopers and hobbyists alike will quickly learn to appreciate the amazing benefits of working with sharp and finely tuned instruments, in terms of both their feel and the overall quality of their projects. Kirby is a British trained furniture maker who lives in Milford, Conn. The 65-min DVD sells for $21.95. Contact: Linden Publishing, Inc., 2006 S. Mary, Fresno, CA 93721. Tel: 800-345-4447. www.woodworkerslibrary.com
BEST OF WOODWORKER’S JOURNAL: HEIRLOOM FURNITURE PROJECTS, is a collection of furniture pieces for the home that will be treasured among generations for their durability, craftsmanship and classic style. As part of a new 10-book series from the pages of Woodworker’s Journal, the magazine’s editors have selected 21 attractive furniture projects, including a Colonial cupboard, secretary desk, gardener’s bench, veneered checkerboard, and old-time icebox. Each project includes drawings, cut lists and step-by-step instructions. The 160-page softcover sells for $19.95. Contact: Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., 1970 Broad St., East Petersburg, PA 17520. Tel: 800-457-9112. www.foxchapelpublishing.com
This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue.