Here’s the great thing about woodworking… it really hasn’t changed much over the last few decades, even centuries. Sure, there are new tools and technologies that make things come together faster, light-weight power tools that cause less fatigue, and safety improvement measures like that table saw that stops if you put your tongue on it. But the techniques are classic, and the purpose and design of hand tools are the same as they were for our grandparent’s generation, and their grandparents before. All of which means – there’s some staple, go-to techniques and joints and processes that every woodworker should know, and you don’t have to make sure your sources are up-to-date before you seek out the best way to cut a mortise.
So, we suggest a basic library of classic woodworking techniques, tool use, and DIY approaches from before there even was a DIY movement…just the “doing.” Here are seven of our favorites. Some are pretty new, and some many years old, but the info in them will never be outdated.
1. Cabinet Making and Millwork by John L. Feirer.
I read this book cover to cover when I first got into woodworking, and its still my number one reference book when researching a project or technique. I believe it was intended as a textbook for a high school shop class, so it’s laid out in great 101 style. It includes descriptions of everything from how sandpaper is made to best practices for shop math, and provides details for both hand and power tools.
Some of the sections on finishing is a bit outdated, but the techniques for cutting and shaping wood are timeless. There are several different editions, but anything after 1975 will work well. And the vintage photos are kinda awesome.