People constantly write with questions, wanting to know more about woodworking. Sometimes, I have the answers, but sometimes I do consult more experienced sources such as woodworking books for both beginners and more advanced carpenters. It always helps to have an extra source, especially if you are not entirely sure. If you want to answer your own questions, one of the best ways is to get your own books.
One that definitely got me on the right track and got me going nearly a decade ago now is something called “The Complete Manual of Woodworking” by Albert Jackson, David Day, and Simon Jennings. It’s a perfect place to start for somebody who knows absolutely nothing about woodworking as well as those with a little bit of experience in the field.
Outside of that, there are other books such as Foolproof Wood Finishing by Teri Masachi, which has definitely given me a few good tips, as well as The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery by Gary Rogowski, which definitely helped me to get the visuals I was missing with some other books. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening by Thomas Lie-Nielsen and How to Carve Wood by Richard Butz provide other unique perspectives while the Complete Guide to Chip Carving by Wayne Barton has absolutely everything you might need to know about Handplanes.
Which Book Should You Buy First?
That depends on what you want to do. Some of these books and other books are highly specialized, delving into areas some may not necessarily consider. Some teach you how to build only a few things. However, if that’s what you want to build, obviously you should look into nothing else, whereas others are a little more comprehensive and perfect for the learning or indecisive carpenter.