Author: Michael Dunbar
Published by: Popular Woodworking Books
Published: 2014
Pages: 269
RRP: $34.99


Looking at the cover of this book you may experience some déjà-vu because although its publication date is listed as recent, the original edition was published in 1989. And the reason it’s been around for so long and keeps coming back is of course because it’s good!

The author needs little introduction, so well known is Michael Dunbar, Windsor chairmaking expert and educator. (Another of his titles was not so long ago reviewed here.) He explains at the outset that the information in the book hasn’t changed, even though the world has. Additions to the text are bolded, however these are relatively few.

Chapters cover basic hand tool history and notes on selecting and buying what the author calls ‘classic’ tools that may be antique, old, worn or damaged. Cleaning and refinishing the latter are comprehensively dealt with in general terms, as are techniques for sharpening them. Different types of planes receive their own chapter (metal bench planes, transitional, wooden moulding, wooden special purpose, and combination planes). These are followed by chapters on plate related tools, chisels and gouges, saws, and braces and bits.

Photos are black and white but the quality and clarity is good. Drawings are similarly simple but get the message across.

For those who want a meticulously detailed and comprehensive explanation of how to restore and maintain traditional hand tools for woodworking, look no further.

We have one copy to give away. Just email the brand name of the plane shown on the book cover to  Please note: “correct” entries also include full name and address of sender. See here for terms and conditions.

Please note: Free copy has now been won!

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