Welcome! Forums General Woodworking Discussions Advice for some furniture books

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    Dave Riendeau

    Hi all,

    I am looking for some recommendations on inspirational furniture, storage, home decor books for some reading and project ideas. I’m interested in shaker, craftsman, japanese styles. Any recommendations?



    I’ve been hunting for good books too-
    I just picked a book by the highly recommend James Krenov (Swedish modernist/craft style). His stuff is aimed at being inspirational rather than a how-to text.
    I also enjoyed Sam Maloof’s biography- beautiful pictures.
    Though not really in the range you suggested, I also liked Walker and Tolpin’s “By hand and eye”, a fairly technical book on using tradional proportions and classical measurement tools (dividers/sectors/hand span). Available from Lost Art Press

    Dave Riendeau

    Thanks John, I have some of krenov’s books but I will look out for the Swedish one. I have a bunch of technical books ranging from Aldren Watson Country furniture, Hand Tools and Robert Wearings The Essential Woodworker.



    How about, “Mouseman: The Legacy of Robert Thompson of Kilburn.

    His oak furniture sells for a hefty amount these days. He died in 1955, but it is still made in North Yorkshire here in the UK. I think this is more biography, but it might still have a fair amount of his furniture and ideas in it.


    Thos Moser, Shaker Furniture

    Popular Woodworking, Classic American Furniture: 20 Elegant Shaker and Arts & Crafts Projects


    I found a couple of the Shaker and Arts and Crafts furniture books on Amazon Unlimited (free if you subscribe). So if you have access search around on there a bit.

    *edit* I guess it’s not free if you subscribe, but you know what I mean… lol


    I usually look for books like these used on Amazon and ebay. A lot off these furniture books can be bought at $10-15 including shipping and in decent shape. I like the books for their pictures! Lol. And measurements of course. I’m not so concerned with how the authors make the furniture, my plan is to use what its taught here and apply that to the designs of the furniture in the books. Great references to refer to and to thumb through.


    If your set on having hard copies this will not help you. Recently I have purchased several of the magazine collections on DVD. 25 years of Fine Woodworking or any of the others can give you a lot of inspiration. I have found it especially useful to be able to look at several plans in one place. Most have a search feature, so if you want to see side tables, you can compare size and features of 5 or 6 plans in a couple minutes and then figure out what you want. Just a thought.


    Here’s one I like; can be found for a reasonable price with a little digging, I got mine on half.com (an ebay site that sells primarily books, dvds, etc.) this link is to the Amazon kindle edition, but physical copies are not hard to come by.

    A nice little book n craftsman furniture designs by Stickley himself. Short on step by step info, but a good resource for general design cues and with lots of good diagrams.


    I know this is a bit late but hopefully the info will help some others looking for inspiration as well.
    I love the internet and how it brings information to the masses. I’ll provide a few of my favorite sources.

    Design blogs are a great resource for inspiration. Sometimes the furniture is one-off or proof of concept and not actually in production, but still it’s great inspiration.


    I found this on a design blog and one day I’ll build something like it for the garage.

    Various woodworking magazines like Family Handyman and of course Fine Woodworking often have plans or excerpts available on their sites for free. You can use a custom google search to find just the plans and excerpts without the need for browsing every article.

    Try this custom google search text and paste it into the google search box:
    site:finewoodworking.com filetype:pdf
    This custom search tells google to limit the search to only finewoodworking.com and only pdf files. Note that you do not include the “http://” part of the web site name, and there is no space after the “site:” and again there is no space after the “filetype:”

    This one is more specific: site:finewoodworking.com filetype:pdf chest
    This tells google to limit the search to only finewoodworking.com and only pdf files that relate to the word “chest”.

    Here are a couple different google site searches to start with but feel free to make your own “site” substitutions.
    site:popularwoodworking.com filetype:pdf
    site:woodsmith.com filetype:pdf

    archive.org is a great refrence for lots of stuff, mostly older it seems. It includes catalogs as well as books which are now long out of print. Searching for “woodworking” yielded a ton of Fine Woodworking magazines in PDF.

    Who would want to read this old catalog from 1949?

    Here is a fun old furniture catalog.

    http://www.ibiblio.org is similar to archive.org

    Project Gutenberg is an online library with a goal of digitizing 1,000,000 books.

    Here’s a guide on building Mission style furniture
    Part 1 http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23770
    Part 2 http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23991
    Part 3 http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/23666


    Project Gutenberg makes their books available in multiple formats. epub is great for reading on Android devices and also computers. Apple’s iOS maybe not so great for epub. On a computer, I find the ebook viewer that comes with Calibre ebook library organizer is excellent for viewing epub files. Calibre is free and runs on windows and Mac. http://calibre-ebook.com/

    For those using firefox as their web browser, there is an epub ad-on you can install to read epub format ebooks right in your browser. It will automatically save the epub into it’s own library which is saved in your firefox profile so you can go back to the books without the need to go online or remember where you got the ebook. It will then display them in firefox for you.

    There is a similar ad-on for the google chrome browser.

    Hope this is good information for you and helps provide you with a good start to searching for your own design inspiration and continued education in woodworking.


    Thank you for al the links Charles,like the staircase.

    Lopik - Netherlands

    Dave Riendeau

    Charles, thank you for the links! looks like I have a lot of reading to do 🙂


    Colin Scowen

    woodarchivist.com is also a good source if you are looking for ideas / plans.


    For anyone interested I just bought Making Authentic Craftsman Furniture on Amazon for $6.99, free shipping (prime).

    Like dborn, I like to look at the pictures for inspiration and imagine how I’d build it.


    The woodarchivist site seems to be just a copyright theft site. All articles are ripoffs of mainstream [email protected] may want to consider if links to it are a good idea.

    Manxman living in France

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