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The Real Wood Bible: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Choosing and Using 100 Decorative Woods Paperback – January 12, 2012
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[Review for previous edition:] A thorough guide that can help beginning and advanced woodworkers choose between 100 types of decorative woods... A photo index makes browsing easy. (Rebecca Swain Vadnie Orlando Sentinel 2005-08-28)
[Review for previous edition:] This comprehensive guide to 100 of the world's most popular woods can help you select the best one for your project... Great for woodworkers, designers and homeowners alike. (Diana Luciani Style At Home)
[Review for previous edition:] It's the book you'd expect from a guy who made his first tool box from utile, an African mahogany. (Mark Feirer This Old House)
[Review for previous edition:] Invaluable for the novice but also a good reference for the pro. (Peggy Mackenzie Toronto Star 2006-01-19)
[Review for previous edition:] There's more to wood than just how it looks.... learn the strengths and weaknesses of all types of wood. (Heidi Rose Lamirande Boston Globe 2005-11-03)
[Review for previous edition:] Every type of wood has its own personality and its own best uses, according to The Real Wood Bible... color photos and descriptions of 100 popular decorative woods. (James Cummings Dayton Daily News 2005-08-18)
[Review for previous edition:] Of particular note is a full-page photo of each species showing the wood in two states: bare and with a clear finish... a valuable and useful guide. (Anatole Burkin Fine Woodworking)
[Review for previous edition:] Written to answer any wood-related question... With such complete information, a book like this is likely to become the Holy Grail of wood. (Hardwood Floors 2005-12-01)
[Review for previous edition:] An essential reference for anyone who works with wood or makes decisions about how and where it's used. (Home and Design)
[Review for previous edition:] You'll learn all about wood color and grain, sustainability and storage -- even how to turn your own trees into boards and veneers. It's a must-have reference to the world's most popular building material. (Sara Scott Log Home Design Ideas)
About the Author
Nick Gibbs is a carpenter and editor of Woodworker magazine. He has contributed to many books including The Flooring Handbook.
Top Customer Reviews
However, the book doesn't offer much practical advice for working the wood. A lot of the lesser used species include advice like "Gluing: Little is known, best to experiement on scraps." Uhh, thanks?
The reason I purchased a reference book was so that if I use something uncommon, I could look up things I don't know. Instead, the author, an editor of a woodworking magazine no less, tells me that the only thing his book is good for is the pretty pictures. This is especially true of the section called "Secondary Woods"--substamtially lacking in useful information.
Why isn't there a book that compilies USEFUL information about a wood?
Some of the photos on unique aspects, such as quarter sawn surfaces and figure, do not illustrate the wood well. For example, the photos of figured cherry, curly maple and crotch mahogany don't even start to illustrate the beauty of these woods. The spalted maple photo makes one think that spalted maple should be used for heating the house. The burl photos do a very good job however. (Why is bog oak listed under diseased wood?)
Also, there are inconsistent names used. For example, American elm is listed with the note that it is "often referred to as white elm" but later in the description it is referred to as "gray elm". So, is this just a typo or is there another type of elm called "gray".
Finally, the information provided is not very consistent. For example, Some woods have information regarding assembly (screwing, nailing, gluing) others don't. The omission of assembly information is inexplicable and rather unforgiveable. Anyone who buys woods will assemble it, won't they?
Another example, under Dutch elm, it says that it must be given "the opportunity to move when used as a panel or tabletop". Don't you need to do this with all wood? And if so, why isn't mentioned with any other wood? Is Dutch elm special?
And here's a list of woods not covered that probably should be: aspen, big leaf maple (aka oregon maple), ipe, lyptus, pernambuco, myrtle, claro walnut, peruvian walnut, granadillo, black acacia, red gum, canarywood, regular/american chestnut, mesquite,, goncalvo alves, cypress, box elder, lacewood, leopardwood, olive, lauan/phillipine mahogany, kwila, doussie, alaskan yellow cedar, port orford cedar, vera/argentinian 'lignum vitae' and sycamore.
If I could, I change my rating to 1 star.
BTW, the picture for horse chestnut is wrong.
For the ecological concious woodworker it tells you those species that are endangered. It describes the characteristics of each wood, hardness, grain, workability etc.
The only drawback I found was that I would have appreciated that in addition to the latin name and english one it should show the name of the wood in other languages
However, this is a book written by a woodworker for woodworkers. By this time I can make a list (prior to opening the book) of the errors that are likely to be in such a book. Opening this book I find all these errors faithfully perpetuated, as expected. A rather spectacular new blunder is made in the entry for /Aniba/ (in this case /Aniba rosaeodora/ under its synonym /Aniba duckei/) where the text points out that there is an African "pau rosa" and a South American "pau rosa", and then blithely combines the name of the South American "pau rosa" with a picture of the African "pau rosa" (to be clear "pau rosa" is a vernacular or trade name attached to several woods: the two woods that are linked in the book have less in common than a Boeing 747 and a Rolex watch).
Another quible is that $30 is rather pricey for a middle-of-the-road book, that offers nothing new. Still, all in all a likable book.