The complete illustrated guide to joinery

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery describes how to make every practical woodworking joint in a series full-color step-by-step photographic tutorials. The real value of this book is it’s coverage of the many ways to get the same result. The book is organized for quick access, using visual maps, and detailed visual contents. The book is fully illustrated with graphic step-by-step illustrated presentation of key techniques and methods. Cross references and indexes make information easy to find and understand.

guide to joinery

There is no successful woodworking project without good joints. Forget intensive use of wood glue and cheap nails, that will hold the project together for a short period of time and the finished product will most likely to fall apart when you try to move it for the first time. If you want your project to be nice looking and functional after a longer period of time then the knowledge about joinery is essential. If you recently bought a cheap piece of furniture you will see how it wobbles when you try to move it and be sure that the drawers or doors will start to hang in a month or two. Why is that? Today furniture companies don’t care much for joinery and for them quantity is much more important than quality. On the other hand, if you decided to make yourself a piece of furniture, you will surely try to make it as best as you can and that means that you must use quality joints when making and assembling it!

guide to joinery

About the author

Gary Rogowski is the director of  the Northwest woodworking studio which opened the doors to the public in 1997. The Studio is a center for woodworking classes located in the Southeast Portland, Oregon, the city’s heart of creativity and craft. As a director and teacher, Gary focuses on traditional hand tool techniques but emphasizes contemporary design strategies. This combination offers more advanced students tremendous creative leeway as well as the skillset to hold it all together. Gary has spent much of his adulthood in Portland having migrated from Chicago to attend Reed College. He earned a degree in literature but found a career in woodworking. His work has made its way into galleries throughout the country including the Contemporary Crafts Gallery, Artquake in Portland and The Real Mother Goose. He also participated in the Table Lamp and Chair Show series and the Oregon biennial in the Portland Art Museum. He has worked with clients for private commissions and built public work for Temple Beth Israel as well as building library tables for the Oregon State Archives. Gary has established himself as a force within the woodworking community. Not only has he has been building furniture since 1974, he is also frequent contributor to a number of woodworking magazines.

You can see Gary at work in this short video about dovetail.

The book is very well illustrated with an emphasis on both quality and durability in the binding.  The book is divided into three parts – Tools (hand tools, small power tools, and machines), Carcase Joinery (butt, rabbet, groove, dado, miter, finger, mortise-and-tenon, and dovetail joints) and Frame Joinery (butt, miter, lap, bridle, scarf, splice, edge, and mortise-and-tenon). Each joint type is discussed in some detail, covering both the theory behind the working of the joint and discussions of how to make the joints. In general, the level of detail and clarity are very good. If you are beginner in woodworking be sure to get Woodworking basics book also.

There are those who would sit down and read this book from cover to cover. Some, no doubt, would actually remember it all. But for most of us the best use of Gary Rogowski’s work is as a reference. Browse through it several times to expand our joiner’s imagination, and then deep dive into the joints for a potential project. Eventually, you will absorb an alarming amount of knowledge. Just as, with practice, the skills required for each joint develop and grow.

There is no more thorough and readable guide to joinery than this book. The Complete Illustrated Guide to Joinery uses full-color, step-by-step photo essays to show you how to make every practical woodworking joint. This book will not gather dust on your bookshelf, it will be a permanent fixture in your shop.

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