I Can Do That! Woodworking Projects by David Thiel (Popular Woodworking)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What I liked is that it starts from the assumption that you don't know anything about woodworking (which is not too far off the mark). So it is a very gentle introduction to the tools, then each project includes discussion on the techniques being used. Which is refreshing compared to plans that say do X, and I may not know how to do X.
What is very helpful is that that it starts out by defining a minimum tool set, then every plan is based on the fact that you only have that set, so you will not get caught looking at plans that assume you have a equipment that reflected serious investment in money and space in your house. (to find the list, look for the "I can do that" section on the Popular Woodworking website. the "Free, online manual" is the tools chapter of this book.)
The plans are basic compared to many woodworking plans available. But this is because it purposely limits the equipment required and the plans are not chosen for the complexity, but as objects to teach techniques on how to use tools (such as how to measure, drill, join, hammer, etc.) and more tricks of the trade. And the authors explain why each technique works and the problems the technique avoids. Which is helpful when you are like me and don't even have the minimal list of tools they list.
Highly recommended as a starting point.
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