Not everyone has the time or money to attend woodworking classes—good thing woodworking books & guides are available for anyone who wants to learn.

We’ve compiled the best woodworking books to help you hone the necessary skills to craft the perfect carpentry gifts. They also equip you with the know-how to transfer your learnings to other carpentry projects.

Best for Beginnners
The Complete Book of Woodworking
Best Woodworking Book
The Woodworkers Treasure Chest
Best in Project Plans
Good Clean Fun
The Complete Book of Woodworking
Treasure Chest
Good Clean Fun
With simple discussions of basic info on woodworking safety, types of wood, and tools, this book is a must-have for every beginner.
This book includes impressive woodworking plans, tools, videos, and 3D illustrations that are proven to sharpen your craft and enhance your woodworking experience.
This book is filled with incredible project plans smartly organized for a convenient experience, so you’ll have a great time woodworking.
Best for Beginnners
The Complete Book of Woodworking
The Complete Book of Woodworking
With simple discussions of basic info on woodworking safety, types of wood, and tools, this book is a must-have for every beginner.
Best Woodworking Book
The Woodworkers Treasure Chest
Treasure Chest
This book includes impressive woodworking plans, tools, videos, and 3D illustrations that are proven to sharpen your craft and enhance your woodworking experience.
Best in Project Plans
Good Clean Fun
Good Clean Fun
This book is filled with incredible project plans smartly organized for a convenient experience, so you’ll have a great time woodworking.

Reviews of the Top 5 Wooodworking Books

1. THE WOODWORKERS TREASURE CHEST

Setting up a woodworking shop, building pieces of furniture, using and getting the right power tools can be pretty hard for a beginner. However, this provides solutions to those problems so novice woodworkers can get started on their woodworking journey.

The Woodworkers Treasure Chest helps accomplish all your projects within a short timeframe.

Whether your projects lack accuracy, the right wood selection, or poor finishing/joinery, this comprehensive and well-documented title has thousands of woodworking plans, step-by-step videos, and tutorials to sharpen your craft.

Overall, the Woodworkers Treasure Chest is one of the most informative woodworking books for beginners and pros.

Pros

  • This book contains thousands of illustrations and 3D dimensional drawings that can be beneficial to a beginner and an expert.
  • Includes detailed PDF plans and a step-by-step process on making the perfect piece of furniture.
  • You can access all plans from anywhere, whether on your mobile device or laptop.
  • Grants access to different wood types, helping you understand their strength and weaknesses.
  • Easy to understand

Cons

  • The drawings are not super clear.

2. GOOD CLEAN FUN: MISADVENTURES IN SAWDUST AT OFFERMAN WOODSHOP

GoodCleanFun by Nick Offerman

If you haven’t heard of Nick Offerman, he’s the author of two bestseller books on woodworking while moonlighting as an actor, comedian, cohost of an NBC crafting competition show Making It. He’s popularly known as Rob Swanson in the TV Series Parks and Recreation.

There are a variety of ways to purchase his title, a good old fashioned hardcover, an audio CD or book. It’s also available on Kindle!

It’s good material for novice woodworkers, but pros will benefit from it as well. Within the Offerman Woodshop, you will find projects for woodworkers regardless of skill level.

You can follow everything step-by-step when making you favorite woodworking projects. Overall, this is one of the best woodworking books for beginners you’ll find in the market. You can even consider it as an ideal gift for woodworkers who wanted to improve skills even more. 

Pros

  • Great for beginners who want general woodworking knowledge
  • The woodworking reference gives examples of popular woodworking projects
  • Beginners and experts can benefit from the colorful pictures
  • Written by bestselling author Nick Offerman himself
  • One of the most highly rated and favorite woodworking project books out there
  • There are plans that are simple and do not require the use of power tools, like hybrid table saws

Cons

  • Many pro woodworkers think that it's made more for entertainment purposes

3. THE COMPLETE MANUAL OF WOODWORKING: A DETAILED GUIDE TO DESIGN, TECHNIQUES, AND TOOLS

The Complete Manual of Woodworking by by Albert Jackson and David Day

If you’re looking for informative titles filled with detailed content and project ideas, this popular woodworking publication is a joint book from Albert Jackson, David Day, and Simon Jennings is what you need.

Building furniture in a woodworking shop can actually be an easy endeavor if you have a detailed starter guide instructing you on all you need to know about this form of art.

This woodworking reference includes easy to follow wood shop tips and tricks, diagrams, photographs, and drawings to help you be a fine furniture maker. Whether you own an impressive table saw priced around $1000 or not, you can find a project here for you.

Pros

  • Not only are the techniques discussed, but even the differentiation of hardwoods and softwoods
  • The techniques involved include jointing, bonding, fastening, etc.
  • Learn wood selection and know the tools list for your new project

Cons

  • Might be a little dated

4.THE COMPLETE BOOK OF WOODWORKING: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE TO ESSENTIAL WOODWORKING SKILLS

complete book of woodworking

Expert advice on everything from setting up shop to identifying and using hand tools safely (e.g. professional chainsaws) can be found inside this book. 

Other than basic info about wood craft, you also get forty ready to go plans in this book.

They come with detailed woodworking plans, tool list, and materials every woodworker needs to make indoor and outdoor pieces. And to help beginners, the best part is there are 1200 images included to help them make better sense of the entire process.

With what this title offers, it sure is one of the greatest woodworking books for beginners as they learn their way in the woodworking world. 

Pros

  • Over 1200 photos available
  • Any novice woodworker will learn to set up shop and get to learn all the basics from one of the best mentors
  • Both beginners and pros will learn new things and probably further develop their woodworking techniques
  • Get a taste of finishing every type of project small and large for indoors and out.

Cons

  • It might not be for woodworkers only looking to use power hand tools

5.WORKING WOOD 1 & 2: THE ARTISAN COURSE WITH PAUL SELLERS

Working Wood 1 & 2 by Paul Sellers

The author of Working Wood 1 & 2, Paul Sellers, has over 40 years of experience in the field under his belt. He tailors the perfect reference that discusses the step-by-step process on shaping ang shaving wood to learning about hand tools at home.

The woodworking knowledge you will receive from this expert veteran can be transferred to a variety of other fields and technologies. For other tips and tricks from veterans in the woodworking world, you might want to check out America’s Woodworker’s Guild.

The paperback includes detailed and easy to understand diagrams and can even be purchased alongside the 7-DVD series (sold separately). 

Pros

  • People of all skill levels can take away valuable expertise on how to craft wood
  • The paperback can be purchased alongside a 7-DVD series
  • The knowledge you gain can be transferred to other fields
  • Complete with diagrams and clear instructions from an authority in the woodworking world

Cons

  • The graphic design may be a bit messy

6. GREAT BOOK OF WOODWORKING TIPS: OVER 650 INGENIOUS WORKSHOP TIPS

Great Book of Woodworking Tips by Randy Johnson

This is the equivalent of a workshop bible—a great book that provides tips for every type of woodworker.

From how to sharpen your equipment like hybrid table saws to the finer details like how to rout edge joints and clamp and glue miters, this will give you a bit of everything.

Not only will you learn essential skills and information, you will also realize how to avoid common errors and pitfalls that beginner (or even expert) woodworkers make. With all this info on the table, this title is fit for any library too.

Pros

  • Learn what to do and what not to do
  • Learn the woodworker basics and the difficult details such as cutting joints and other joinery methods
  • You will benefit from the experience and advice of others
  • Comes with 800 colored photos

Cons

  • Might not be a good pick for a beginner woodworker as it is suited more for an advanced craftsman

Woodworking Book Buyer's Guide

What to look for when buying woodworking books

When buying a woodworking book, you need to be sure that what you purchase will offer you as much information and woodworking ideas as possible. It is like you are attending the top-rated online woodworking classes where you can learn carpentry and woodworking with ease and finesse.

However, it’s a no-brainer that you can’t read a title before you buy it, so follow our advice below to make sure it’s right for you.

Skill Level

While most books are advertised to cater to a variety of woodworker skill levels, you need to make sure you’re getting information that matches the level of difficulty that you need to improve. If you’re a novice woodworker, look at woodworking books for beginners. You can create simple pieces like cutting boards, footrests, and others.

man with shield doing woodwork

These woodworking books should have things and programs for everyone’s needs –  from how to set up shop and introducing the proper apparatus to carving skills and extra techniques that would benefit a pro woodworker. Some woodworking books like one from Bill Hylton or Ana White may require the use of professional equipment, technologies, or even knowledge in woodworking software including Sketchup or Fusion 360, so make sure you know.

What’s Covered

Make sure that the carpentry books or woodworking magazines cover the information and advice that you’re looking for.

If you want to build small woodworks at home such as picture frames, birdhouses, cutting boards, and mantle clocks, then you shouldn’t purchase titles geared towards finishing larger pieces such as lounge chairs and dining tables. 

Aspiring woodworkers should also consider title picks that improve a specific skill such as router techniques, joinery, whittling, woodcarving, or finishing. Joinery is a useful skill that most woodcarvers work on. You should get your hands on “Woodworking with the Router”, as it’s a popular reference to get started on joints. Alternatively, there’s a CompleteStarter Guide on Whittling if you want to work on having sound knowledge in this area.

Also ask yourself, do the books cover safety info, basic workspace setup, cutting list, and a wide range of other categories? Is there a part that introduces hand tools, materials, and equipment and what they are used for? You can learn easily how to work with a powerful scroll saw.

We know beginners and pro woodworkers that could really benefit from that concept. And if you need a hand beyond the how-to’s, books like Michael Pekovich’s carpentry books explore why you should learn to be a craftsman. There’s many an article online that discusses this part, too.

Price

While you can get most books at an affordable price (at under $50), you still need to establish a budget. It’s not even worth it paying $5 for a publication that won’t bring anything to the table. So think about what you are willing to pay for a new skill set.

best woodworking books

Pictures and Illustrations

Another part that should be in books should be drawings and photos. We cannot stress the importance of this useful section in best books. While experts may understand what’s being said on these pages, many people prefer seeing for themselves rather than visualize the project. Photos in a publication are easier to follow for many readers, especially if you’re working on a workshop task like creating different joints or other joinery methods.

If you thought putting together furniture from Ikea or similar stores was tough, try building things of your own with some photos. And Ikea instruction manuals come with pictures!

If you think of it that way, you will understand the purpose of these illustrations and pictures in a publication and why they make sense.

Projects

Does the woodworking magazine provide project plans you can work on? Are those plans carefully thought out and the list of instructions illustrated and clear? Also look at the different projects given as we mentioned before and decide if that’s what you want. Some of the best books and titles may contain youth projects such as toys or a wood box as well, which make for perfect woodworking gifts.

If you don’t own a collection of large tools or heavy duty equipment in your workshop, then steer clear of books targeted at making advanced projects. These machines may also require strength, and some may not be a one-person job. 

However, you may also get started with investing in some small and medium-sized machines that can do the job, like a top-rated mini circular saw, if you’re serious about the craft. Highly-detailed guides from popular sources like Bob Flexner (author of “Understanding Wood Finishing), Bob Moran, Tom Carpenter, and Scott Landis are worth looking at for people who need a hand in starting a woodworking business.

If you’re after woodworking books for beginners, something like “Woodworking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide” is a great reference. For some readers, you can also discover a bit of the why and how of the craft from a publication like American Woodworker magazine. That’s usually a good place to start for many people if you don’t want a library of books just yet.

woodwork projects that sell

woodworking safety

People like learning something that interests them, that’s why many want to use their hands on wooden projects even at home. Safety is an important part of this craft, and a woodworking magazine or publication worth it’s salt will happily outline all the safety precautions you should take especially at home.

Whether your skill level is professional or beginner at the moment, safety isn’t something to be ignored by every craftsman. Finding the right books with the right information will help you create a collection of amazing projects to come!

our top pick for a woodworking book: The Woodworkers Treasure Chest

Woodworkers Treasure Chest’s comprehensiveness and attention to detail make it our top pick.

This contains several woodworking plans that cater to all woodworkers. It’s one of the most popular woodworking books for beginners, and it’s a great reference for expert craftsmen as well. Additionally, it offers thousands of videos, step-by-step guides, and illustrations to help a beginner start.

Overall, our team of experts was impressed with what it offers and its ease of use. It provides helpful knowledge and entertainment for woodworkers, which is a great combination  for a woodworking resource.

If you want to teach your children basic woodworking for young ones, we also have a fun selection of woodworking projects for kids.

Robert