Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 7/3/98

Book Review:by Bill Britton

Title: Woodworker's Tool Guide
David Day & Albert Jackson
Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN: 0-8069-0511-5

Had a doctor's appointment last week. The annual "bend over please" and rubber glove treatment. Doctors always make you wait. In fact, it is written into their Hippocratic oath that patients must be made to wait in an overcrowded waiting room full of sick people for at least one hour. If, by that time, patients are beginning to show the proper amount of stress they are to be shown to a 6'x6' cubby-hole, disrobed, and made to wait another hour or so before being seen by a physician. It's not that doctors want to make you wait, they have to. They took the oath!

In any case, I've learned to take along something I want to read when visiting the doctor. Otherwise , I'm inevitably stuck with a three year old "People" magazine that has lost the conclusion pages of most articles. This time I fetched along the Woodworker's Tool Guide which I'd received through the WWA. During my two hour wait I easily read the book from cover-to-cover with time left over to browse back through what I had read.

The book is a soft cover and printed on high quality glossy paper. It contains 128 pages and I would estimate the contents to be 60-70% pictures, drawings, and other graphical information in a well presented format. This was the primary reason I could read the book so quickly. The other reason was that I simply found it to be very interesting reading.

The subject matter is hand held tools with emphasis given to the non-motorized variety, ie., marking tools, saws , planes, chisels, hammers, etc. There are a few hand held power tools featured such as circular saws, drills, routers, and sanders. The general format of the book is to show individual pictures of each tool in a tool group followed with a brief caption explaining the tool's use. Usually, but not always, is a tips and techniques section on tool usage.

A lot of different tools are covered in varying amounts of detail. While this is a positive selling point for the book, it is possibly also its downfall. For example, the chapter on screwdrivers is three pages long and very adequately covers screwdrivers. Comparatively, the chapter on routers is seven pages long and hardly scratches the surface. In my opinion, the authors attempted too much territory resulting in too little information.

Accordingly, I could not recommend the book as reference material and in truth, had to wonder just who was the intended audience. I don't think it was intended for experienced wood workers and it is pretty skimpy for beginners. Still, I did find the book interesting and entertaining and probably worth the purchase price just to have the pictures of the carving tools, chisels, etc. Actually, I think it would make great homework material for a beginning high school shop class.

Respectfully submitted,

Bill Britton

Editor's Note: Sterling Publishing has graciously donated several books for review which are passed on to our members free of charge. Thank You!

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