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What is The Best Woodworking Book In 2020?

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

1. Woodworking Projects Package

If you’re not a total beginner and you’re just looking for new ideas, Wood Working Projects Package is a great guide. It’s actually one of the books we use in the shop, and it has more than enough plans and designs for any woodworking enthusiast.

 

What makes this woodworking book stand out is how well it’s organized. You get a detailed list of cuts per material and the projects are arranged from easiest to most difficult. This way, you can easily choose which project you want to do without flipping back and forth through the pages.

 

Each plan in the book is very detailed yet simple to understand. The schematics are clear as well, so even if you are a newbie, the step-by-step instructions will hold you by the hand until your project is finished.

Overall, when it comes to originality and abundance in woodworking projects, this is the best woodworking book you can get. 

Pros

  • Jam-packed with new and unique projects
  • Well-organized projects arranged by difficulty level
  • Clear step-by-step instructions
  • A great option for woodworkers of all skill levels

Cons

  • May have less information about equipment

2. A Newbie’s Guide to Woodworking

From the title and the cover, you can already tell that this book is for beginner woodworkers. It starts with basic lessons such as setting up your new workspace or getting your toolbox filled with the necessary woodworking tools – things that the pros already know.

 

While Nick Offerman and Bill Hylton may author some of the best woodworking books in the market, this guide is where you should start if you’re just getting into woodworking. It provides instructions about picking out your wood, following some safety precautions, and even some basic projects to get you started.

 

The best thing about it is it’s not an intimidating guide. If you don’t know the first thing about woodworking, this is a great book that will equip you with basic knowledge and beginner projects, which is the first step in mastering the craft.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Includes basic project ideas
  • Learn basic woodworking terms
  • Covers everything from setting up your space to safety measures in woodworking
  • Teaches you about the tools you need

Cons

  • Doesn’t have a lot of photos

3. A Beginner’s Guide to Woodworking

While our previous option is better for total newbies, this book is best suited for woodworkers who already know the basics and want to advance their skills. So if you’re someone who’s transitioning from being a beginner to a pro, this is the guide we recommend.

 

It still touches upon the newbie stuff, but it’s just a quick refresher because the book focuses more on the beginner part of woodworking. It talks about power tools as well, which is something that a more advanced woodworking magazine would have.

 

Another thing worth mentioning about this book is it tells you where to shop for the best hand tools. The book also goes into more detail, such as discussing the difference between man-made and natural wood. This way, you get a little bit more understanding about your woodworking projects and which pieces to buy.

 

With a good balance between beginner and advanced information, this is one of the best woodworking books on our list.

Pros

  • Great for beginner woodworkers who got the basics down
  • Has a glossary of woodworking terminology
  • Introduces you to power tools
  • Dedicated chapter for woodworking safety measures
  • It teaches you how to choose your lumber

Cons

  • Lack of illustrations

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.

Pros

  • Introduces woodworking tools and how to select them
  • Encourages you to make your own woodworking designs
  • Has a detailed health and safety section
  • Teaches you the differences in lumber
  • Goes into detail about the wide array of tools used in your shop
  • Talks about adhesives
  • Teaches you how to sharpen your equipment

Cons

  • No illustrations

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.

Skill Level

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.

woodworker working in shop

What's Covered

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 [1] 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.

Price

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.

PROJECTS

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.

woodworking in dark

Conclusion

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.

Robert
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