Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 8/13/00

A book review: By Barbara Gill

Title: Woodworker's Guide To Wood

Rick Peters

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 0806936878
Price Softcover: $24.95 (Canada $20.95 )
192 color pages

The Woodworker's Guide to Wood is a journey from the growth of trees to the use of wood in sheet goods. There is even information on non-wood products used in woodworking. The information, for the most part, is presented in an orderly, easy to understand format with great pictures. Included is a directory of wood chapter which covers sixty-four of the most common domestic and imported woods. Each sample is shown raw and with a finish applied. There is information about cost, density, workability and finishing characteristics as well as general information about each. I was particularly interested in the chapters on milling and drying lumber. So many of the questions that woodworkers keep asking about grading lumber, buying and storing lumber, plywood and engineered products are answered in Mr. Peter's book.

My first impression of this book was so positive that I thought about buying copies to sell to my customers who often do not really understand wood and how to treat it. On the second run through the book I found several inconsistencies between the text and/or pictures that made me reconsider my first impulse. For instance in the text in two different locations he gives the formula for figuring board feet as thickness" x width" x length" divided by 144 but in the diagram he uses thickness" x width" x length' (in feet) divided by 12. Both are correct however for the non-math oriented person the inconsistency could provide confusion, especially when the difference is not addressed.

In my opinion, the most glaring errors are contained in the drying lumber information. Several places in the text Mr. Peters has given good but scanty information on stickering wood. The pictures however tell another story. The full page picture at the beginning of the chapter shows a large stack of incorrectly stickered lumber. Further into the same chapter in another picture of a horribly stickered stack of lumber. Pictures usually have a more lasting impression than text.

All told, Woodworker's Guide to Wood by Rick Peters is worth the price of $24.95 (US) . It provides a little information on a large number of subjects that woodworkers should be familiar with. Any novice to intermediate woodworkers and even some advanced would glean information here.

Barbara Gill

Editor's Note: Barbara Gill operates her own sawmill and lumber yard and you can see her woodworking here.

Editor's Note: Sterling Publishing has graciously donated several books for review which are passed on to our members free of charge in exchange for thoughtful, honest reviews. Thank You! And you can usually find their titles at a discount from Amazon.com

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