Picking up a random woodworking book on the shelf could do you more harm than good. There’s a chance that the projects are too advanced, the lessons are difficult, or there’s a lack of illustrations.
To help you find a book that’s tailored to your needs, we’ve reviewed some of the best woodworking books in 2020 below.
Before we proceed the woodworking books, we wanted to introduce Woodworkers Guild Of America.
Woodworkers Guild Of America is an online source for learning woodworking. After letting our team go through many of their videos, we can confidently say the information provided there is much better than any book available.
Here’s a quick overview:
Best Woodworking Books Reviews
4. The Art of Woodworking - Beginner’s Guide
Although the cover says “Beginner’s Guide”, this is one of the most detailed books we’ve come across. Even books by Nick Offerman may not offer so much detail, so this one is a great option if you’re looking for something more advanced.
This book is slightly different from others you’d usually find in the market because it takes the time and effort to go deep into the details. There are comprehensive guides that discuss the differences in wood, adhesives, and your tools as well.
If you’re looking to expand your woodworking arsenal, this book will introduce you to the different hand, power, and machine tools you can get. Plus, it also teaches you techniques such as sharpening and how to make joints.
There’s one distinct difference from other books, though. Instead of giving you specific project ideas, this book teaches you to make your own plans and woodworking drawings. So if you want to develop your own vision as a woodworker, this is the best woodworking book you can get.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING THE BEST WOODWORKING BOOKS
Anyone buying woodworking guides is looking to learn a thing or two in order to improve their craft. As such, you need to be sure that the book you choose offers you the information and advice you need.
But of course, you can’t read a book before you buy it. You can, however, look for certain things that will tell you if the woodworking book is right for you.
While most books are advertised to cater to a variety of woodworker skill levels, you need to make sure that it really fits your skills.
If you like a well-balanced book, it should have something for everyone from how to set up shop and find the proper equipment to extra techniques that would benefit a pro. Some books, like one from Bill Hylton, may require the use of a power tool, so make sure you know this information first.
If you are a newbie to woodworking, the best woodworking books are actually easier to find. Instead of needing the book to cover a wide array of skill levels, you only need something that’s more experience-focused and caters to help beginners in making great projects.
We have some great options on our list above, whether it’s for new or more advanced woodworkers.
Before you buy a woodworking book, make sure it covers the information you are looking for. Many books are made for either beginner woodworkers or expert woodworkers, so find the book that matches your level.
If you want to build small projects such as picture frames, birdhouses and mantle clocks, then you shouldn’t purchase a book geared towards finishing larger furniture projects such as lounge chairs and dining tables.
Also consider that you might need help in setting up your workshop. More importantly, safety tips should be covered by the book as well. You may be handling hand tools or power tools such as the scroll saw, so having an entire chapter dedicated to safety is a must.
If you are a beginner, books that teach you about choosing lumber  and basic woodworking terminology would prove indispensable. Also, if you’re interested in design techniques as well, you can find many great books with information on intricate works.
It’s true that you can get most books at an affordable price. However, you still need to establish a budget to make sure you’re not being ripped off. It’s not even worth paying $5 for one book that will contribute nothing to your expertise.
Fortunately, all our options are affordable and come chock-full of relevant information for making projects. As such, you essentially get what you pay for.
Every woodworking book has a different approach when it comes to projects. Sometimes, they provide full project ideas that you have to follow step-by-step. On the other hand, some books only contain plans but you have to envision the project you want to build.
In general, project making and wood finishing can be tricky, so the information and techniques must be easy to follow. Consider your skill level here as well, because some of us may need illustrations while others can do without.
Also, look at the different projects made in the book and decide if that’s what you want. If you just wish to know the basics, get a book that’s focused on making simple wood projects instead of complex ones. At the same time, if you don’t own any power tools or heavy-duty equipment, steer clear of books targeted at making those projects.
If you want to get an idea of the kind of projects you’ll be working on, you can check out our suggestions for DIY plywood creations.
But if you’re really serious about woodworking, it’s a good idea to start investing in some small and medium-sized equipment, like a mini circular saw. Every woodworker who’s interested in building furniture should get these tools for their workshop.
While we think it’s useful for woodworkers to know how to use every tool out there to achieve their next best project, some may just want to be a hand-tool worker or one that works solely with heavy machinery.
If you want to learn how to use handheld heavy-duty machines, check if the book covers projects that require them. On the other hand, if you just want to focus on chiseling, whittling, and wood finishing, then the best books for you should focus on these techniques.
There isn’t just one book that would fit everyone’s needs. To find the best woodworking book for you, identify the projects you want to focus on and the knowledge you want to learn.
In our list above, we have books that encompass the basics for beginners – with one that focuses on a more detailed approach, while the other one brings in project illustrations. All beginner books should also have a section on safety as well, since potentially hurting yourself applies to all woodworkers regardless of experience.
For seasoned wood workers who simply ran out of ideas, we also have a book that’s full of woodworking projects. You can choose the level of difficulty you’re comfortable with, working your way up from easier to more difficult outputs.
In the end, finding the right book for you is the first step to creating amazing projects. If you’re looking for something for children, check our roundup of woodworking projects for kids and a selection of kids woodworking kit to get them started.
Want to know what we think of sites that offer kits and plans? Read our review of Woodprix, for starters.