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TRADITIONAL FINISHING TECHNIQUES, from the editors of Fine Wodworking magazine, is a collection of previously published articles written by professional woodworkers and finishers. Topics include preparing a flawless surface, choosing the right brush and how to use it, mixing your own shellac and oil stains, and matching an existing finish. Authors include Jeff Jewitt, Philip Lowe, Chris Becksvoort, Lon Schleining, Frank Pollaro, Garrett Hack, Mario Rodriguez and Mike Dunbar. It starts with a pair of articles on choosing and using sandpaper, followed by Lowe's instruction for using a smoothing plane and scrapers to prepare the surface. Other sections focus on coloring wood, oil finishes and varnish. Rodriguez and Jewitt describe the processes of padding on lacquer and shellac, respectively, while Sean Clark thoroughly explains French polishing. Techniques for gilding, making wood look old and other special effects are provided, along with a section on restoring finishes. Each article includes step-by-step instruction, color photographs and a source list for materials and supplies. The 154-page softcover sells for $17.95. Contact: Taunton Direct, 63 S. Main St., P.O. Box 5507, Newtown, CT 06470-5507. Tel: 800-888-8286.

TREEHOUSES OF THE WORLD, by Pete Nelson, features more than 30 treehouses that serve as private retreats, guest houses or play spaces for family and friends. As you might guess, these have little resemblance to your childhood attempts at carpentry. Nelson, an author of three previous books on the subject that have sold more than 200,000 copies, takes us on an around-the-world journey to discover how treehouses are designed, built and enjoyed in a wide variety of cultures. There are more than 250 color images from locations in China, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Germany, Poland, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. Nelson also owns a treehouse design and construction company, Treehouse Workshop Inc., in Seattle. The book also features a special section that looks at the entire process of creating a fun, safe and environmentally responsible treehouse, from materials selection to design and construction, with photographs and drawings that demonstrate the key stages. The 224-page softcover sells for $35. Contact: Harry N. Abrams Inc., 115 W. 18th St., New York, NY 10011. www.

KAYAKS YOU CAN BUILD, by Ted Moores and Greg Rössel, is an illustrated guide to plywood construction techniques. It offers detailed instructions for building three prefabricated kayak kits, including the functional Pygmy Coho, recreational Mill Creek 13 and sleek Enterprise models. Moores and Rössel recognize that part of the fun of building one's own boat is experiment and innovation, and they both encourage and guide that process. The first chapter describes how wooden-boat building techniques have developed and advanced, followed by information on choosing the right kayak by considering how the boat will be used. It explains what can be easily altered, such as new hatches, and what can't be, such as making the cockpit wider. There's an overview of the tools required, plus numerous tips and tricks of trade. The book includes a "builder's journal" for each of the three project boats, which breaks the process into manageable, day-by-day steps over a period that takes between 28 and 37 days, depending on the boat. The 256-page hardcover sells for $35. Contact: Firefly Books Ltd., 66 Leek Crescent, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada, L4B 1H1. Tel: 800-387-6192.

ROUTER TECHNIQUES, by Philip Schmidt, is a guide to using the workshop's most versatile tool. This book is part of the publisher's "Weekend Woodworker" series, thus primarily aimed at the beginning or hobbyist woodworker. It contains useful information about choosing router bits, building jigs, and creating traditional joinery. Schmidt covers the basics, including safety, maintenance and bit selection, then presents several projects with step-by-step instructions. He also covers table routing, edge-forming techniques for creating sculpted edges, guide routing setups for cutting grooves and slots, and template routing for duplicating any shape. The projects include a tabletop Lazy Susan, bookcase, frame and panel door, and carpenter's toolbox. There are more than 300 color photographs and illustrations, which enhance the instructional text. The 142-page softcover sells for $19.95. Creative Publishing International Inc., 18705 Lake Drive E., Chanhassen, MN 55317. Tel: 800-328-3895. www.creative

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