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A Review of Make Your Own Woodworking Tools by Mike Burton

Make Your Own Woodworking Tools by Mike BurtonThis book could also be titled "Metallurgy and Blacksmithing for Woodworkers". In no time, Burton will have you making chisels, knives and specialty tools with little more than a few files, a Mapp gas torch and a toaster oven. No, really. I’ve used the information is this book personally, and it works. I’ve made dovetail chisels, carving knives, scorps and countless other unique items necessary to finish tricky jobs. What a joy to create a tool you can envision but can’t find anywhere. The book has chapters on the different types of steel, equipment, safety, blacksmithing, heat-treating, sharpening, handles and projects. Although the information is specialized in nature, Burton’s homegrown style and humor will keep you from fighting the zzz monster. It is loaded with good quality, close-up color photography to highlight the text. If you want lots of charts, graphs, facts and figures, then go elsewhere. But if you want good practical folk knowledge from a lifetime of doing, then you’ll want this book near the bench.

Several books of this nature have sadly gone out of print. It is unfortunate because woodworkers in general are excellent problem solvers and researchers, given the right references. For the most part, we can jig up or improvise whatever we need to get a job done. Having books like Make Your Own Woodworking Tools: Metalwork Techniques to Create Customize, and Sharpen in the Home Workshop on the shelf is a true blessing. Typically when you want useful and concise information most resources barrage you with a ton of overly technical jargon, so that you quickly lose interest. You might even wind up with more questions than when you started. So there you have it, just enough how-to to bang out a few useful items without all the rigmarole.

Chris Black

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