WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Woodworking Basics

Woodworking Basics
by Peter Korn

Taunton Press: 2003
Paperback, 186 pp., $$19.95
ISBN 1-56158-620-X

     After ten years of teaching woodworking at his Center For Furniture Craftsmanship in Rockport, Maine, Peter Korn decided it was time to revise his original text, published in 1993 as 'Working With Wood, The Basics of Craftsmanship.' Many people don't realize when taking classes that a teacher is often learning as much as his students, not in methodology but in how to teach, and where students most often get confused or what is lacking in the curriculum.
     Peter Korn is an accomplished furniture maker and an experienced teacher. He moves us through the physical properties of wood and its behavior, common joinery, the use of various woodworking machines, an introduction to hand tools and their effective use, and mastery of squaring up stock, mortise and tenon joinery, dovetails, glue ups and simple finishing. Each step is highlighted with separate lists of 'what you'll need' and 'what you'll do' before starting on full explanations of a process. Large color photographs show close up views of fine details the author includes, such as paring back to the shoulders of a waste area to aid guiding a chisel later when chopping out dovetails.
     Two projects complete the book, one a small bench with hand cut dovetails and wedged tenon joinery, and a side table with a web frame, dovetailed drawer and frame and panel door with shopmade pulls. Both are beautiful pieces of furniture. Each later lesson builds on previous reading, so the book becomes a valid first course in fine furniture making. Well indexed and full of shop jigs, safety concerns and woodworking tips, this new edition of Peter Korn's instruction is a very nicely done guide for beginners who care to get it right.

. . . Barb Siddiqui