Here, Book, Book, Book

When starting off with a new hobby, you are constantly looking for knowledge to soak up and books offer a very ready source. Full of info, tips and images (and something you can hold, put down, pick up, re-read etc.

There is, obviously, the internet which can offer so much, including videos, but books (and magazines to a degree) are still a valuable resource. Magazines do rely on adverts, which can be interesting, informative, or annoying depending on how they are done. As a general rule, woodworking ads are more interesting than others, so that isn’t such a bad thing.

As to books, the local library is a seriously good source, and free. I’ve found quite a few books in the library that after borrowing and reading, I’ve ended buying my own copy.

Amazon is an obvious source.

In Australia, Booktopia isn’t too bad, an their shipping charge is great- any number of books up to (and beyond) 100 for just $6.50

A great source of woodworking books, across the whole genre is Fox Chapel Publishing, and I have a fair few from them over the years.

I did also get the Woodsmith range of books through Time-Life. Interesting at the time, but not the best investment for me- they haven’t been read or referenced for years.

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The Book

For the first time, WordPress (where this blog is hosted) have linked in with a company that turns the blog into a book.  Well that is what they claim, but when I pointed it at this website the formatting (among a few other issues) made it unusable.  However, it did give me the first opportunity I’ve had to download the entire collection of  1780 posts as PDFs. (One of the other problems was the software could only handle 800 pages maximum, where this site is closer to 3500 pages!)

I was also able to get a more accurate word count, which came in at 530,000, and that I have hit the keys on my keyboard 3,000,000 times in creating this blog.  This doesn’t include the static pages, the videos, properly sized photos or comments.

But I am still interested in seeing what sort of content I now have, and whether there is a more physical format some of the historical information on this site can be presented.  Which translates as taking the best posts from Stu’s Shed, and producing a book.  Not something that is likely become a best seller – probably one that has a massive first run of a single copy, and IF ever done, would be targeted to conclude 20 June 12, representing the first 5 years of Stu’s Shed.

Woodshop Dust Control

As I have been diving further into setting up the collection system in the workshop, I thought I should have a look at the only book I know of that deals specifically with the issue: Woodshop Dust Control, sourced from Carbatec.

I will go into the book & contents in more detail in the near future, and I was a bit surprised that there is enough information out there to actually fill a book.  So I am looking forward to seeing what ideas etc I will obviously glean.

You can have a look at a preview of some of the pages on Google Books.

A New Bible

Bi·ble n. A book considered authoritative in its field

There are many, many (many, many, many!) books out there about aspects of woodworking.  Only a very few are worthy of being elevated to the point that they can be regarded as a bible in their selected field.

Ron Hock is one of “The” authorities on sharpening, blade making, and steel processes that makes his new book “The Perfect Edge” one that should not only be read cover to cover (multiple times), but owned and consulted regularly by any woodworker who is serious about his craft, and/or works with edged tools and/or likes their tools working at an optimum level.

The book is beautifully presented, and absolutely jam-packed with well presented information.

If I seem a bit enthusiastic about this book, you are right – I only flicked through a few pages of a friend’s copy before I was on Amazon, and have ordered my own.  (It is on special at the moment for $US19, yet this is a full sized, hardback, 224 page, colour book – great price!)

Ron Hock in brief summary, started off making carving knives.  His blades were so popular, he became highly sort after for his blades and steel, and so moved into making plane blades and associated chip breakers etc.  In recent times, he has returned to where he started, producing a set of carving knives (that have previously featured on this site).

But it is his in-depth knowledge of steel, and particularly where it is relevant to forming, and holding a razor-sharp edge which has been so well interpreted and translated into this tome.

The topics covered are very comprehensive, from the internal structure of steel, through heat treating, the science behind a sharp edge, through to how to achieve that for yourself.  Ron understands the metallurgy of steel, and it is presented in a style that will give you an insight into the topic, and why I have long been fascinated by it.

The book has over 400 photos, charts and illustrations, ensuring the points and concepts are well made, and understood.

This is the bible on sharpening (along with Lie-Nielsen’s Taunton’s Complete Illustrated Guide to Sharpening).  If you but remember a fraction of this book, and put it into practice, your tools will be deadly sharp, and a pleasure to use.

Chip Carving

Picked up the Chip Carver’s Workbook today – looked like it would be an interesting and informative read, and I’m sure it isn’t as easy as it looks, it doesn’t look so complicated that I shouldn’t consider trying it.

6-284I still have that stunning set of Hock Blade Carving Knives that I want to put properly through their paces, so with that motivation, this seemed a pretty good book to get into that whole side of woodworking.  Don’t expect I’ll suddenly become a wood carver or anything, I just like trying out all aspects of woodwork, to see the sorts of genres other woodworkers are specialising in.

When Did ‘That’ Happen?

2008 came and went…apparently.  Did anyone see it?  I certainly blinked.

I’ve never been particularly big on New Year’s Resolutions – mainly because I always think of a few, and often they are the same from year to year as I never seem to keep them.  I doubt 2009 will be any different.

So of the ones that seem to reoccur from year to year, I rehash them again just in case I somehow manage to achieve any of them.

I still want to become a lot more competent with the Incra LS Positioner, and achieve a double dovetail joint with it.

Get back to somewhere in the vicinity of my fighting weight.

And finally, the one thing that seems to roll over from year to year to year.  I really want to get a book published (and hopefully one will lead to another). If you haven’t noticed, I’m not adverse to writing a word or two, and if I took all the words that make up this website so far, I’d have two 400 page tomes to my name.

Of all of these, the chances are that I may only achieve the 4th one.  No – I don’t know what that 4th one is yet, but I still think it is the most likely one to be achieved.

So thus draws the end of another year.

Happy New Year to all my occasional, and regular readers out there.  Keep an eye on this site – there is so much more to come!

Online Bookshop

On my sister IT blog (IT Savvy), I mentioned Booktopia as an Australian version of Amazon, where they sell books, all discounted, as well as have a pretty cool shipping policy – namely they charge $6.50 for packaging and delivery for (as they officially claim) up to 100 books (but in practice is unlimited), which makes for a great deal.

I found this book in my local library:

Workshop Projects

Workshop Projects

and liked it so much I decided to get it.  Got a couple of kids books at the same time, postage all up – $6.50, and the book itself was $27.  Retails for $34 fwiw.  I wasn’t specifically looking for the discount, but was just pleased how easy it was to locate a book that I wanted, pay for it, and have it delivered direct.  There is something to this internet thing!

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