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Storey Publishing
"Woodworking FAQ" is by Spike Carlsen.

"WOODWORKING FAQ: The Workshop Companion: Build Your Skills and Know-How for Making Great Projects," by Spike Carlsen, Storey Publishing, $16.95, 304 pages (nf).

What happens when a book is filled with woodworking questions that the reader may not need an answer to? The result is an entertaining and educational reference book that is at home on the coffee table or workbench.

Spike Carlsen's "Woodworking FAQ: The Workshop Companion: Build Your Skills and Know-How for Making Great Projects" is a well-organized, 304-page wealth of woodworking tips, tricks and how-tos. The publisher, Storey Publishing, chose a wire binding so the book can lay flat and stay open while reading and working at the same time.

The FAQ format of the book is usually found on websites, but it works here. Questions are concise and clearly written. Most answers are a third to a half page long. A picture is worth so much more than a paragraph, so about half of the pages are accompanied by an illustration or chart of some kind.

What kind of questions can be answered in a paragraph? Here are some examples:

  • Does it matter which way I run a board through the jointer in regards to grain direction?
  • I've heard it costs half as much to run tools at 220 volts than 110 volts. Is that true?
  • How long do you need to steam the wood for it to become pliable enough to bend?
  • What does the "d" or "penny" part of a nail's name refer to?

Woodworking FAQ" is all about breadth of topics, not the depth of the answers. Some of the answers only scratch the surface. There are many books devoted to a single topic that can go into more depth than is found here.

For the reader who can't have a woodworking library, the "Woodworking FAQ" is an affordable place to start. It won't turn a hobbyist into a master craftsman, but there is something for everyone — even for someone who hasn't thought about how a coffee table is made.

Born in Montana, transplanted to Utah, Mark Sticht works for Deseret Digital Media. He enjoys his family, camping, cooking, programming and woodworking.