“The Practical Woodworker” is a four-volume set of English woodworking books (circa 1915) edited by Bernard E. Jones and written by a group of 31 experts in the craft, with hundreds of illustrations and photographs, and more than 1,600 pages of solid woodworking instruction. The vast majority of the information is from a traditional hand-tool woodworking mindset (though there’s some coverage of early 20th-century machinery techniques that remain valuable in the modern wired shop).
We can’t state better than does Jones in his introduction what the collection covers, so here’s what he writes: “’The Practical Woodworker’” is believed to be the most comprehensive and exhaustive book yet published on practical woodworking. And yet it does not attempt to give every detail of every aspect of woodworking, because only a library of books could do that. But it does attempt so to instruct the reader as to make it possible for any person, even for one who has never even seen a plane a driven a nail, to be able from this book alone to make any ordinary piece of woodwork by sound craftsman-like methods. The book assumes scarcely anything on the reader’s part, and it omits nothing essential. It leads the beginner forward, step by step, from simple and elementary tool processes to the construction of difficult and advanced pieces of work. Not only that, for every craftsman, no matter how expert, can learn something from its pages.”
The range of coverage is truly sweeping, including, of course, the choice, use and maintenance of the necessary tools for good work – but also a progressively more challenging presentation of joinery and techniques, as well as shop furniture, projects for every room in your house, every home repair in your house and every structure you might need for the yard around your house.
The books were produced entirely within the United States. We scanned the original early 20th-century volumes (and cleaned up the scans a bit). They are printed on 60# white, uncoated acid-free paper, and are Smyth-sewn – which means that not only will these books last a long time, they’ll lie open flat on your bench or desk without “breaking” the binding. The books are hardbound and covered with forest green cotton cloth, with a foil-stamped cover and spine and green-and-white-striped headbands. In other words, not only are the volumes packed with valuable instruction on all things woodworking, they’ll look great in your woodworking library.