WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Complete Illustrated Guide to Working With Wood

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Working With Wood
by Andy Rae

Taunton Press: 2005
hardback, 280 pp., $39.95
ISBN 1-56158-683-8

     If there is a single volume that can be compared to the comprehensive guidance in 'Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking' this new Taunton Press release by Andy Rae has to be it. He offers an introduction to the raw material, its properties and behavior, how to identify common species, how to harvest it, mill it and store it, then goes into detail about using it.
     'Designing with Wood' is a section on moisture content, wood movement, selecting and testing common joinery, and selecting material for appearance and strength. 'Dimensioning Wood' shows full procedures for both machining and hand tooling the materials, including step by step photos of Roy Underhill doing it all by hand, and Sam Maloof making curved cuts on the bandsaw. Rae discusses working with difficult woods, bending and lamination, planing, scraping, making repairs and preparing a surface. Gluing and clamping have their own 18-page section with many hints and tips for a successful job. Vacuum clamping, using platens and cauls, hammer veneering, inlay, and methods for the removal, or the avoidance of excess glue, are subjects included. The last section discusses basic finishing techniques: coloring wood with pigment, dye and chemical stains, fuming oak, and spraying lacquer are covered, along with finishing interiors and the final rubbing out with a topcoat of wax.
     The author had a lot of help from his friends on this book: in the bent wood/lamination section he features procedures by Lon Schleining, Don Weber and Brian Boggs. Paul Anthony helps out in dimensioning wood, designer Frederic Hanisch illustrates full scale blackboard sketches and Frank Klausz shows plywood storage and handling. Many others are also included.
     The procedural color photos are well sized to see clearly what is being shown, and the many sidebars of related information are full of terminology, hints, tips and precautions. Fully indexed with a list of sources and color thumbnail photos of common wood species, this is a book I would highly recommend. Andy Rae gives enough woodworking instruction to keep a serious woodworker busy for a long time.

. . . Barb Siddiqui