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Hardcover Understanding Wood: A Craftsman's Guide to Wood Technology Book

ISBN: 1561583588

ISBN13: 9781561583584

Understanding Wood: A Craftsman's Guide to Wood Technology

The first edition of Understanding Wood was published in 1980 and has since sold more than 130,000 copies. It is widely held as a definitive reference work and the cornerstone of every woodworker's library. Now, Bruce Hoadley's comprehensive guide to wood technology has been revised and updated in this 20th-anniversary edition of a classic. New information on composite materials, adhesives, and finishes brings this book into the 21st century, while...


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Customer Reviews

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The theory of woodworking

I can honestly say that this book is for everyone who works with wood, from the occasional home whittler or handyman to the professional creating engineered lumber. It covers every aspect of the material, starting with the way a tree's growing environment affects the lumber product. Hoadley gives a variety of different points used in identifying the wood's species. He then discusses the effects of cutting green wood in different ways, drying it (how-to, how long, when it's done, etc), and machining it. Hoadley doesn't discuss woodworking machines per se, but gives a lot of attention to the interaction of blade and material. He shows the details of how cutting tools affect the visible surface of the wood, and the problems that can come from poor edges, blade angles, pressure, and other factors. He also discusses joining pieces of wood, gluing them, and finishing them. There is so much here that it's omissions are more noteworthy. It discusses glue joints, but says very little about specific adhesives. That's fair - there are so many, for so many purposes, that the topic deserves an encyclopedia of its own. Also, the adhesives and bonding techniques used commercially are very different from the ones available to home woodworkers or small shops. Any detailed discussion of adhesives would have missed someone's needs. Ditto finishes - the topic is mentioned only briefly. Hoadley's most surprising advice about finishes is the idea of skipping them altogether. He's passionate about the wood itself, and a "least is best" approach shows the material to its best advantage. With it's profuse and beautiful illustrations, this could be a coffee table book. The information around the pictures is the book's real strength. I find something new in it each time I come back. //wiredweird

Essential material for beginners and experts

This book takes you from qualitative to quantitative understanding by means of accurate, readable explanations and a minimum of fuss. For instance, after explaining why a house settles, Hoadley shows us clearly how to estimate how much it will settle and what a knowledgeable builder could do about it.Or take this simple woodworking situation: you are building a towel rack from two side pieces of white pine drilled to accept a maple dowel. Exactly how much wider should the hole be than the dowel so that expansion and contraction due to moisture changes in the bathroom won't split the sides?A little time spent with this book will give you the ability to answer questions like these, quickly, exactly, and with authority. No more guessing about the effects of moisture, temperature, finish, and loads on wood: just look up the data in the clear and handy tables and graphs Hoadley provides and do the simple calculations (it's multiplication and division, folks, with nothing harder than an occasional exponent).Almost every chapter contains revelations for the newcomer to woodworking. Early on we learn not only that wood changes size with moisture, but by how much (according to species), in which directions, how this affects its shape, and what are the common and best techniques to compensate for or design for these changes when building anything with wood. Later we learn how to relate these moisture changes to humidity--there's a clear and handy chart, as well as an easily memorized rule of thumb--and how to build and calibrate a simple shop hygrometer. In another chapter Hoadley applies this information to a discussion culminating in valuable information on sanding and finishing wood.The many applications to an understanding of all things wooden make this book stand out for the casual reader, while the detailed, systematic explanations of the whys and hows make it ongoingly useful for anyone who crafts quality things from wood. It is the ideal supplement to an entire library on the how-to's of woodworking, because with the information given here, you will be equipped to make intelligent choices of how to select, cut, assemble, and finish a project of any size and complexity.The only nit I have to pick has to do with the presentation of mathematical formulas: it's miserable. For instance, in one place the expression "D/O" stands for a single quantity rather than a value "D" divided by a value "O". Potentially confusing, yes; but what compensates for it is the clear descriptions and examples in the text: these are so good, you can totally ignore the formulas and not miss a thing.Overall, Hoadley's long, thoughtful experience with all aspects of wood, from the engineering through the creative, shine through consistently. That's why I give this one five stars and I'm buying more copies for friends.

Wonderful sourcebook for woodworkers

This book is a systematic review of all of the properties of wood that are of importance to woodworkers. It is filled with photographs and tables to illustrate key points; I learned more about woodworking from studying the figures alone than I have from reading several other woodworkers manuals. I was especially impressed by the skillfulness of the author; each point built to the conclusions needed for the next section. So, despite the concerns of the other reviewer that it has some resemblence to a text book, I found it to be a very user friendly tool.

In-depth study of wood as a material for woodworkers

This book discusses wood as a "material" of interest to woodworkers. Did you ever wonder how much a piece of wood will deflect when loaded? Do you know how to calculate how much a panel inside a frame will expand/contract? This book explains this and much more. I can now make simple calculations to help me design my projects. Chapters include: The Nature of Wood, Figure in Wood, Wood Identification, Water and Wood, Coping with Wood Movement, Strength of Wood, Other Properties, Machining Wood, Joining Wood, Finishing Wood, Modifying Wood, and The Woodworker's Raw Materials. I recommend it for all serious woodworkers, professional and amateur alike.
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