68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
The Not Quite Complete Book of...
, December 24, 2004
This review is from: The Complete Book of Woodworking: Detailed Plans for More Than 40 Fabulous Projects (Hardcover)
I've been hesitant to review this book because, despite its title it is by no means a 'complete' book, and yet it is well written, and what it does it does well. It is well written, and covers many of the important subjects - Setting Up Shop, Designing Projects, Introduction to Wood, Joints, Finishes, etc. And it provides a host of projects suitable to the beginner. It's hard to fault what it does do, but there are several problems with what it doesn't do.
First and foremost of these gaps is that the book is entirely power tool oriented. Given that a woodworker rapidly gets surrounded by a host of machines, it never hurts to spend time on saws, planes, and the other hand tools that are part of good woodworking. Good hand tools are berely cheaper than machine tools, and selecting the right ones is one key to achieving top-grade results.
The book flies too high to provide important detail on the tools that it does cover. Power saws, planers, drill presses and anything else require knowledge in order to be used safely and successfully. And to make the right choices when purchasing. This book would serve best the beginner who has access to a full shop, not one who is in the process of putting a shop together.
The projects are very straightforward - too simple in some cases to keep the attention of someone who wants to attain levels of artistry. There is no effort to rank the projects by complexity, or connect the skills required to section of the book. This can trap a beginner into a task that takes experience to complete. I'm also informed that some of the shopping lists are incorrect, so make a point of checking before buying. Nothing is more irritating than having something become scrap because you followed the directions.
So be warned that this book is of the greatest value t someone who is both a complete beginner and has access to a full shop. Access to a competent woodsmith wouldn't hurt either. If you fit in that niche the this could be a satisfactory purchase. If not look about you. Several of Taunton Press's efforts may be more useful to you.
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