Thursday 10 August 2017

Woodworking Book Review - Joinery by the Editors of Fine Woodworking

The editors at Fine Woodworking have a reputation for delivering great information - well-presented and backed up by real expertise. so if you pick up one of their volumes, you expect it to be right on the money and this one is no exception. compiled form a series of articles previously published on the magazine, this is a collection of joinery techniques from the most basic to some seriously advanced stuff.

Some people may worry that a publication that placed emphasis on hand tool work might be setting them up to fail (I have heard on more than once occasion it can be like watching a historical re-enactment rather than modern woodworking techniques!), but this book presents joinery techniques for both hand and power tools in equal measure. 

As for the layout of the book, it starts with straightforward rabbet, dowel and pocket hole joints, and gradually turn the screw to introduce increasingly more complex techniques that may take a while to master. I like the fact that attention to details on simple joints is taken seriously, so even if this is your first attempt, critical, straightforward instructions have not been glossed over. There is also no attempt to knock the use of machined joints such as biscuits joints, which for some purists have no place. 

One section I think makes brilliant reading is the 'shoot out' test, where the editors have worked with a testing lab to evaluate the structural strength of a range of joints under a standard load test. The results may surprise you! I'm not going to offer a spoiler a this point, suffice to say that some of the most popular fast jointing systems didn't stand up to the test nearly as well as many of the more traditional shop-made joints. Sure, they are quick to carry out, and may well be sufficient for the needs of the piece envisaged, but you can't always know how something might be treated long term. It makes a good read anyhow.

Several people we interviewed for the blog and Triton YouTube channel in the past told us that no matter how good you get, covering up your mistakes has a vital part to play in getting better results. This book has a great section on correcting common mistakes as well as lots of advice on how to avoid them in the first place. So if you are jsut starting out or want to improve your craft with  anew challenge, this book is a great investment. Sure, you can watch a video on YouTube, but there is something very satisfying about quality book (with no annoying adverts) that you can read at your own place.

Joinery by Editos of Fine Woodworking is published by Taunton Press ASBN 978-1-63186-448-3