Top Five Best Woodworking Books

Everyone has their own way of starting a new hobby or even learning a new skill. Many would give preference to directly delving into the practical aspect, while others would rather be a better prepared before they get started. For the latter, if you are looking to take up wood work and need to gain a certain level of knowledge, and essentially turning it into the confidence needed to get started, you can go through the best woodworking books given in this article.

Although, every person who does woodwork might have a different set of best woodworking books in their opinion, these five are highly popular with the best woodworkers. The essentials of woodworking have been divided into five categories and each book has been then placed in the category it is most useful for.


For understanding the philosophy of this particular art, you should go through this book.

The Anarchist’s Tool Chest by Christopher Schwarz

The Anarchist's Tool Chest by Christopher Schwarz
The Anarchist’s Tool Chest by Christopher Schwarz

You are not required to build a tool chest to go through this book but after you are done reading it, you will definitely get the carving to build one. The book has been broken up into three main parts, namely; a list of tools, history and detailed instructions on how to build the chest. It will help you decide the kind of tools you need to buy and also, how to de-clutter the large number of tools available to you, allowing you to keep the ones that are essentially beneficial to you. Regardless of whether you’re a tool junkie or have to buy every tool you see, this book will help you get rid of the things you don’t need and buy the ones which you will actually have to use in woodworking.


Be it woodworking or any other skill on the planet, it is nothing without a good technique. You need to know standard techniques to make any kind of progress. One of the best woodworking books for this purpose is;

The Essential Woodworker by Robert Wearing

This book is by Lost Art Press and was re-published by Schwarz. The project around which this book revolves is a table, but you can use the different techniques listed for building many other things as well. The techniques listed are of a simple yet wide variety. It is ideal for somebody who is starting and wants to take things to the next level. There is great detail in the description of each technique, making them easy to understand and apply. An absolute essential guide, for all woodwork fanatics,  in the making.


What would any artist be without his tools? This book tells you exactly what you need and what you need to give away.

Hand Tools by Aldren A. Watson

Hand Tools by Aldren A. Watson
Hand Tools by Aldren A. Watson

Although the title may not be the most imaginative or creative one, the content inside more than makes up for that minor deficiency.  Watson shows a variety of very useful tools together with, how you can properly use them. The book also shows you how to practice the most basic of techniques so that, even the most slow of learners can become experts in them.  Although, there may be some parts about the usage of certain tools, like, the jack-rabbit plane that people who are a bit experienced would find a bit strange. In the end, it comes down to whatever technique you are most comfortable applying. The only problem is that this book is no longer being published, so, you will need to find a used copy or borrow it from the library.


You just got done with a fantastic door or chair, wouldn’t it be a pity if it falls apart just because you were not aware of how to make proper joints? The following book shows you how to master joinery and has earned the places of number four on our best woodworking books for its practicality.

Woodwork Joints by William Fairham

It makes a perfect companion to Watson’s book on hand tools.  The book previously mentioned shows you different types pf hand tools and how you can use them, while this book shows how you can get creative and get the most out of them. The first chapter is on lap joints and is enlightening but a bit deficient at the same time. The deficiency basically lies in the lack of detail when it comes to joint construction.

Fairham’s book is reprinted on Toolemera website. All books are reasonable in price and quality. Easy to find and easy to use, this book should not be missed out on.


Once you have covered all the basics and need to learn how to use your skills to achieve accurate results, this book is the one you need to get. Number five on our best woodworking books is;

Making and Mastering Wood Planes by David Finck

Making and Mastering Wood Planes by David Finck
Making and Mastering Wood Planes by David Finck

There are many good project books in the market but this is by far the best one out there. Finck goes through every little detail when it comes to the construction of these planes. At the same time he shows us a few alternative techniques as well, together with making some of the jigs and tools that you may require.  Recently a companion DVD having 4 1/2 hours of footage was released, in which he goes through the entire process.  It is definitely worth watching repeatedly. The great thing about this book is that it shows you that machines are not necessary for you to achieve accurate and sleek results. With the right tools and knowledge of how to use them, hand tools can be a lot more accurate than any machine.

There are many other books out there that you may find helpful, but in the end it all comes down to which book helps you in practically applying your newly learnt techniques. Most books by Lost Art Press are great. The ones which are not being published should still be pursued. Don’t hesitate in raiding your local library or asking a friend to lend you a copy of a book that they found helpful.

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