Check It Out: Books for home improvement

If you have been meaning to start some projects around the house, or learn more about even just basic woodworking, the Newport Beach Public Library has many new titles that can help!

The library stocks many books on introductory information, orientation to various tools, wood identification, and projects of all kinds.

"The New Woodworker Handbook" by Tom Hintz is a good starter book for would-be woodworkers. Hintz discusses workshop safety and organization, tool selection, buying tips, and maintenance, wood selection and finishing, and even basic joints. This 253-page book contains many color illustrations and tackles each section with description and explanation. This book also contains a basic glossary of terms and index.

One popular way to enter learning a craft is learning from masters. Just as Norm Abram brought "This Old House" to a wide audience in the past, Tommy Mac now hosts WGHB Boston's "Rough Cut —Woodworking with Tommy Mac."

His new book of the same name brings many helpful custom projects (lazy susan, bread box, blanket chest, etc.) to a 184-page book, complete with descriptive photos and step-by-step instructions. Intended for an audience with a some woodworking experience, this book may be just the inspiration a beginner needs to get started.

"Wood Identification and Use" by Terry Porter is a great resource for those just learning the craft. An essential part of woodworking is pairing the right kind of wood with the project and this book can help.

Each entry contains a description, a list of that wood's properties, seasoning information, durability, and typically usage. Each entry also has a nice detailed photograph which helps to distinguish the grain and tone. An informative side panel also lists the area of growth of that kind of tree, typical height and truck diameter as well as any potential health risks.

Any discussion of modern woodworking has to include power tools and "Working with Power Tools" by Paul Anthony is a recent publication that incorporates a wide variety of such tools. From portable and benchtop machines such as sanders, scroll saws, and jigsaws to routers, table saws, band saws and more, this book contains a plethora of information!

Full of color illustrations and detailed information, this book can be a valuable resource to anyone just learning the ropes or seeking to improve their knowledge and skill. The library also owns many books on individual tools like jointers, routers, and table saws, as well as hand tools!

It seems the lifelong challenge of any experienced woodworker is designing the perfect workbench and work environment. Constantly in flux and prone to renovation, this is a project that seems to never end. The library stocks a number of books on this subject. Two recent publications are "How to Make Workbenches and Shop Storage Solutions" by American Woodworker and "The Workbench Design Book" by Christopher Schwarz and the Popular Woodworking Staff.

Both titles explore the height of organization, convenience, and opinion as to why certain methods work better than others. Both books contain drawings and photographic illustrations and demonstrate a rich appreciation for woodworking and project design.

For these and many more informative titles on woodworking — or, whatever your craft of choice may be, visit the Newport Beach Public Library.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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