WoodCentral's Book Reviews

WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Getting Started In Woodworking

Getting Started In Woodworking
by Aimé Ontario Fraser

Taunton Press: 2003
pb, 204 pp., $19.95
ISBN 1-56158-610-2

     This is the book I wish I had had when I got started in woodworking in the early 70s — and when I restarted about five years ago. The book grew out of the "Absolute Beginner" series of classes the author taught at several schools, which points to one of the special strengths of the book: it really does start at the very beginning.
    After introductory chapters on tools and materials, Fraser introduces the five projects that she uses to guide you through most of the basic skills of woodworking. The five projects are a simple handmade box, an outdoor easy chair, a rustic old-world coffee table, a classic bookcase and a lateral file.
    The first three projects are made with basic hand tools plus a cordless drill-driver, a circular saw and a random-orbit sander. The fourth introduces the router for rabbeting, dadoing and adding a decorative edge; and the fifth introduces the table saw and standard cabinetmaking methods. Throughout there is a good balance of hand tool and power tool techniques. This is probably the best way to learn woodworking, and it also suits a beginning woodworker who wants to try some projects before making a substantial investment in big power tools.
     The step-by-step instructions for each project are very clear, and are illustrated with many excellent color photographs. The more complicated and important skills are discussed separately in what Fraser terms "Skill Builder" sections. The separation makes the step-by-step sections more readable, and extensive cross-referencing makes the "Skill Builder" sections much more useful.

. . . Tom Ryan
State College, PA