WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual

Collins Complete Woodworker's Manual
by Albert Jackson
and David Day

Harper Collins: 1996
Hardback, 300+ pp., 24.99UK
ISBN 0-00-414005-2

     I was looking for some up to date references for my woodworking classes and came across Collins Complete Woodworkers Manual. Yes!
    Printed in a way that would attract anyone from 21st-Century teenagers through seasoned veterans, it is comprehensive, with illustrations on woodworking and stunning color photographs. A special feature is a chapter detailing the characteristics of a huge variety of timber with plates clearly showing each, and the effects of applying a clear finish.
     To give you an idea of how well the book is illustrated, a lecturer in publishing commented, "I would recommend that anyone interested in the design and production of explanatory drawings should take a look at this book by way of example."
     The book deals brilliantly with design, and provides ergonomic data, using actual three-dimensional designer's sketches to illustrate the basic principles of chair, table and storage unit construction. Gee, this is well done! There are ideas for selecting everything from the best joint for the job to the most efficient order of assembly.
     For the tool buffs, this book boasts an unrivalled illustrated survey of every type of tool — from the bench plane to the power router, from Japanese saws to a universal machine — and each is comprehensively described to help the novice, inform the tool buyer and assist the experienced woodworker to plan and stock a safe machine shop.
     There is a great chapter on joint making, including photographic examples with working text and step by step drawings of every type of joint. It even shows you how to set out a beveled dovetail!
     Whether it is turning, woodcarving, veneering or marquetry, bending or finishing wood, the book provides detailed coverage of those crafts and would be appealing to every woodworker. There is even advice on using such materials as metal, glass, marble and leather in combination with wood. Add to this a comprehensive range of fixings and fittings — from the latest in adhesives to locks and handles — and you have everything you need to complete the job.
     The authors are authoritative writers on DIY, home improvement and maintenance. They have made many television appearances, and have presented two major BBC series on furniture making and renovation. Their best-selling books include the Collins Complete DIY Manual.

. . . Glenn Cramond

     [EDITOR'S NOTE: This book is currently out of print, but used copies are still widely available in Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.. This book was issued in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, 1996, with a different cover and titled, The Complete Manual of Woodworking (ISBN # 0-679-76611-1). It is still available from Amazon.com, Alfred A. Knopf direct at $25, and many used book sources. -BAS]