WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Encyclopedia of Cabinetmaking

Encyclopedia of Cabinetmaking
by Ernest Joyce
Revised and Expanded by Alan Peters

Sterling Publishing, 1987
Paperback, 519 pp, $24.95
ISBN: 0-8069-7142-8

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    British master craftsman Alan Peters updated and revised this woodworker's standard reference, which was originally published in 1970. It probably covers more individual subject matter in the field than any other basic woodworking reference. The section on machinery is now a bit dated, but is a good overview of basic machinery available.
     Wood and its properties, basic construction techniques, moldings, veneer, inlay and adhesives are all well explained. Furniture design is covered in depth, with a gallery of examples and construction detail.
     A chapter on draftsmanship and workshop geometry simplifies a complicated subject. Fittings and fasteners, restoration and repairs, upholstery and how to run the business of a professional shop are all included.
     Joyce not only explains how to do something, he also explains why. An example: "Carcasses built up of solid wood boards must have the grain directions continuous, with the side grains vertical and the top and bottom grains parallel to the leading edges, so that all the shrinkage across the width of the boards is from back to front. If the grain of the sides were horizontal, and the top and bottom from front to back, then a moment's reflection would show that any pronounced shrinkage across the width of the boards would lower the carcass top, close in the sides and jam the doors or drawers; moreover, such cross-grain wood would have little bearing strength."
     There are a few inset pages of color photos, though it is mostly black and white photography and line drawings that illustrate the text. The book is fully indexed, and carries an appendix on cost estimates.

...Barb Siddiqui