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WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Woodworker's Complete Shop  Reference

The Woodworker's Complete Shop Reference
by J. Churchill

Popular Woodworking Books: 2003
Paperback, 143 pp., $26.99
ISBN 1-55870-632-1

     This is a thorough reference for the aspiring beginner. If you are not sure when it is best to use a machine bolt, a carriage bolt or a lag bolt, or what is the difference between garnet and silicon carbide sandpaper, the answers are easy to find in this well-presented reference book. The author explains standard guidelines for furniture dimensions such as table and bed height, drawer construction, and necessary openings for CD storage or audio cassettes, LPs and video tapes.
     A long chapter on measurement and shop geometry begins with the basics of how to properly read a ruler, and advances briefly through geometry, trigonometry and use of the golden section in furniture design. The different properties and uses of adhesives is well covered, with a cross reference chart on different glues' advantages, disadvantages, working time, clamping time, cure time and required solvent.
     Common joinery is clearly illustrated, though the text presents an introduction and use of the joints, not instructions on how to make them. Sharpening is covered, with discussion on the advantages and disadvantages of oil stones, water stones, ceramic and diamond stones.
     A general introduction to finishing explains the uses of fillers and sealers, how to wet sand an oil finish, and a list of "what dissolves and thins what." Safety is emphasized, and a glossary of woodworking terms included. A long list of sources and supplies is compiled by website listings, including magazines, associations, destinations and educational opportunities, as well as supply sources.
     Throughout the book, single page historical reference is made to museums, designers, and historical influences on woodworking. Common North American hardwoods and softwoods are presented in color photo examples, with general properties and common uses given for each species. This book excels as an overall guide for 'what's out there,' and the references to further information will give a reliable jump start to anyone wondering where to begin.

. . . Barb Siddiqui