Best Woodworking Books | Rob's Top 9 References
Best Woodworking Books | Rob's Top 9 References
Best Woodworking Books. Rob Cosman discusses his favorite top nine woodworking reference books that he uses and recommends
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Rob, and all those who have interest in the wood itself… A highly recommended reference on North American wood spices and an interesting story is "The American woods: exhibited by actual specimens and with copious explanatory text" by Romeyn Beck Hough. Originally published in 14 volumes between 1888 and 1928… each volume contained actual wood samples in three slices, transverse, radial, and tangential, along with general information on that species. Original copies of "American wood" volumes can be found sporadically online and are very expensive, however, Taschen makes a very nice reprint containing all the specimens of the original volumes called "The Woodbook The Complete Plates".
I needed this, thank you!
Five stars of agreement on The Workbench Book by Scott Landis……just a great book period.
Hi Rob, can you do a segment on how to hold thin stock flat on the workbench in such a way that a groove can be cut with a plow plane? I have a 3/8" thick by 3" wide board that I need to put a groove in, but the fence of the plow is deeper than 3/8"! How the heck do I secure the wood to plane it! Help! Thanks 🙂
Have you ever thought about writing a book on hand tool woodworking? I think you would be able to produce a brilliant book with the welth of knowledge and experience you have
Great job calling attention to books as a resource and source of entertainment. The internet is obviously the most impactful innovation in recent woodworking history. However, that does not mean books are value-less. In fact I think books are a great supplement and companion to internet resources. There is some goofy stuff online, double check a book to get a second opinion!
About 20 years ago, my wife bought me the 1st two volumes of "Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking" as a birthday present. That’s all it took. 🙂
About 25 or 30 years ago, my sister-in-law got me Tom Moser’s book for Christmas. The next year, my wife and i gave her one of the projects that I made from the book. I still refer to it on a regular basis when I’m looking for some inspiration. Great video, Rob. I will have to check the bookstore for some of the others you showed us. Thank you.
Thanks for that video. You’re right, there are lots of YouTube videos and other web based info sources. As a newbie wood worker, I have found that the variation in opinions and in many cases the poor quality of that information can be at least confusing and at worst totally misleading. By all means, a wood worker needs to find the path that best suites the individual, but the foundation information that the path is based on and supported by needs to be solid. Thank you for the videos. when I do what they say it works.
Love Thomas Moser’s work (and Shaker furniture in general)! My in-laws have a set of his cherry dining chairs.
R. Bruce Hoadley – Understanding Wood. If you don’t understand the wood you are working with you’re less likely to do your best work.
Great list of reference material Rob. I enjoy seeing your techniques along with what influenced your style of working with wood.
Thanks for the suggestions. I really enjoy the wealth of videos available–I’m especially impressed by you and Paul Sellers–but there’s a lot to be said for a book. I’m reading Christopher Schwartz, lately, and clearing room in my "shop" to start an Anarchists workbench (sort of). I think Lost Art Press looks like a great resource for anyone interested in reading about woodworking, but a couple of your suggestions look like my next purchases. I don’t have a particular style, yet, but the Shaker esthetic really appeals to me, so I’ll probably be looking at that next.
Thank you for sharing this Rob. In fact, two of your books can be found also on my woodworking book’s shelf. Given the fact that I live in Sweden, I find this interesting. If I were top pick my favourites these two would also be on my list; I’m talking about the Scot Landis’ book and Tage Frid’s. I also have "The Workshop Book" by Landis and the other two by Frid that you mention. All of them highly recommended… / Peter
If nothing else, this one is a testimony to the integrity of Rob Cosman. Without a doubt it is refreshing to see someone acknowledge mentors and authors. None of us gets to where we are unless we have folks like Rob Cosman and the crew he works with to bring us this information. The information, videography, sound and spirit of this effort are greatly appreciated. Thank you for these and for all your efforts bringing these ways to wounded veterans. What an excellent way to salute vets!
Great stuff. Lots of great books out there. Might also be interesting to see more approach/design oriented ones from the likes of Krenov, Nakashima and Maloof. Those guys are who they are for a reason and are worthy of close study. Thx again and you’re awesome Rob
I appreciate that this was a basic selection of woodworking books. However, I might have added Jim Kenov’s first book. This book opened my eyes as to how grain selection and placement can change the appearance of a piece.
Surprised not to see DK wood bible there
Ernest Joyce / Alan Peters and Tage Frid are trusted, old guides of my workshop shelf too. As a Norwegian furniture maker I found Tage Frid closest to the tradition I was schooled in, and remember being surprised by the familiarity I found in his approach – so it would seem regional / geographic differences are a real thing.
Oh! And let’s not forget ‘Understanding Wood’ by Bruce Hoadley — it’ll set you straight on the ‘material’ side of things 🙂
Great video. I have most of these books. Tage Frid is my ‘go to’ book. Sliding dovetail book shelves is my goal with Frid’s help. Iowa, US.
Sorry unsubing every channel until the dislike button works again. No dislike? No like!
Excellent recommendations Rob, thank you! Scott Landis’ workbench book is now being published by Lost Art Press, and it’s a phenomenal hardbound edition.
Looking forward to the day you share your expertise in a book. The YouTube is a great way to learn, but having a physical reference help many different types of learners out there. Me as one of them. So think about it it may help more people than you think. Great video. Take care.
Great selection of reading and reference. Thank you for sharing. Have a great day and stay safe.
Just a thought here, there must be a few woodworking smart phone apps. It would be great to get a run down on some of those from a professional woodworker’s perspective.
Book 1: Encyclopedia of Furniture Making – Ernest Joyce
Book 2: Woodworking (series) – Ian Kirby
Book 3: A Reverance for Wood – Eric Sloane
Book 4: Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking
Book 5: How To Build Shaker Furniture – Thomas Moser
Book 6: The Workbench Book – Scott Landis
Book 7: Cabinetmaking the professional approach – Alan Peters
Book 8: Anything by Roy Underhill
Book 9: Wood! – Eric Meier
Rob is such a good teacher. He can easily write a book. I am sure his books will sell easily. What you waiting for Rob!
I wouldn’t agree more with mos of the choice’s you made of your list of favorite books. But i feel you left another great book that should be on the list a Cabinetmaker’s notebook by James Krenov!
Good to see you back! I love watching Roy Underhill on his PBS show.
I really like this style of video. I love getting to watch Rob talk about his passion and those who inspired him. Watching him flip through pages and going off on a little bit of a tangent reminds us that he’s a human being and not the mythical woodworking genie he is.
Have you watched this video yet? https://youtu.be/NGwclyGiv14
Thanks for sharing these. Great resources!
You mentioned David Charlesworth, knowing you know him well, do you know how he is?
Thanks for a great list of books, I already have some but will definitely have a look for the others. Just a suggestion, it would have been helpful to have the list shown below the video as it would save having to go back through the video to get the titles and authors.
Hi Rob one more time excellent video.. books will be always books and they are nice to have on hands..I have few of these books of your list and I live in Brazil (much more dificult to find and buy)…but to me our generation have the better of two worlds.Books and amazing video classes like yours and others at YT…so like a popular expression in Brazil..The Teachers Open Many Doors But You Must to Be Inside By Yourself..If youbwant to learn and understand just go ahead..one more time thanks for all support and help
Thanks for sharing that!
Great topic thx
I would also recommend George Nakashima’s the soul of a tree if you like more modern design languages. It’s also an interesting read on the contemporary furniture design of 1900-1980
I’m with you on the Alan Peters book The Professional Approach. A great book from a wonderful craftsman.
Underhill was highly instrumental in getting my wood juices flowing. Often with blood stains on him, he started and mostly finished the rough work in 24ish minutes. AND gave a historical rationale with the visual proof that it could be done by anyone. Genius man that I would love to spend time with. Christopher Schwarz has built for, editor of, retired to full time publisher of wood working books, and salty as any old sailor. Really enjoy trying to keep up with him. And of course the Upper Peninsula guy who we all should punch the button and subscribe to is a treasure trove of how to add why not to woodworking.
Great list. I would like to add one more – Understanding Wood by Bruce Hoadley. Not a book you will sit down and read cover to cover, but a great reference book on everything wood.
I would also recommend bruce hoadley/s books .
So….. Ian Kirby books are now added to my shopping list. If I could add my own to your list, it would be more Eric Sloane titles– Diary if an Early American Boy has lots of woodworking lore tied to life in early North America. And he has other books, too. I grew up on Andrew Marlowe’s books and Franklin Gottshall’s books. Both steeped in Queen Ann and Chippendale styles, but their how-to directions and photos are transferrable to other woodworking/furniture styles. I bought one of Krenov’s books in 1979ish in a used bookstore near Palm Springs, CA. Fell in love and purchased the next two as soon as I could in later years.
Nice, I plan to pick up books 5 and 6. And also the one on various wood species
Books don’t get published on a whim. They may sum up decades of thought on their subject. You’re not going to get that in other mediums
As a long time newbie woodworker (off and on) I watch many YouTube videos to help me learn and this is how it brought me to Rob Cosman’s channel. I have looked at purchasing some woodworking books, but got overwhelmed with all the many different subjects on woodworking. Didn’t know if I would get a lemon of a book or what. This recommended list from Rob Cosman helps. I have a small metal shed as a work shop I use for myself. Not as a business, but for me. It is my sanctuary and I feel at peace and content when I able to get out there. Now I have a somewhat direction to lean towards on books. Thank you Rob Cosman for your list of books which have inspired you through your journey. Best wishes, Mike
Just bought Reverance for Wood as a xmas present for myself 🙂
Great video. I really like this "slightly off topic" approach to your regular woodworking videos. I have two of these books and combined with the rest of them from your list it will most certainly help me weed through the plethora of useless information masquerading as woodworking knowledge from the internet. Its true, to the making of many books there is no end , and it is tiresome. Thxs for pointing out the good ones.
Rob, my heart soars like a hawk to see that you reached first for Joyce! Dan Bummit of Glocester, Mass., showed it to me when I first started work for him, so many years ago. My first reference, and always the last word. I always look for it when YouTubers list their books, and never see it mentioned, which I try to correct with a comment.