Moderators: Random Orbital Bob, nev, Noel, Charley, CHJ

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Miscellaneous and multiple link sources:

Elementary Woodworking Projects, by Harold R. Wise
The Evenfalls Woodworks Library
The Alaska Woodworker A recovery of Rose Antique Tools Old catalogues archive, Digest of old manuals from an expanding on-line history of woodworking
Woodworker's Manuals: 1900 and Before A link from Raymond G McInnis web site.
The Toolemera Press gateway Museum of Old Catalogues and wood related material.
History of Tool Making US & UK at
Vintage Catalogs & Manuals at
Galoototron Plans and Guides
Craftsmanspace Free technical plans, books, patterns The Woodcrafter Page - Keith Davies.
1930's - 40's - 50's - 60's Retro Designs The Woodcrafter Page - Keith Davies.
Consulting Woodworker Plans, Books etc. R Bagnall's Site
Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material Produced by the Forest Products Laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture. (link to PDF)

Individual Books:

Cabinetwork & Joinery Paul N Hasluck
Early English Furniture & Woodwork open
Illustrated History of Furniture From the Earliest to the Present Time. by Litchfield, Frederick.
Woodwork joints; how they are set out, how made and where used by William Fairham

Individual Construction Plans:

Chest of Drawers By Richard Jones. (link to Wood Central Article)
Router Tables-Free Plans multiple links from woodworkers
Dedicated Sharpening Bench Plans and construction Article.
Building a Traditional Coffin Smoother Norse Woodsmith
Build a Modular Coffee Woodworking-Chris Baylor
Mobile Machine Base Design Guide,Plans
Pivot-Door Downdraft Cabinet Plan
A Cradle For Your New Born Project from
Medieval Chair Project from
Vinyard Table
Bob and Dave’s Good, Fast, and Cheap Bench Bob and David Key's Bench Construction PDF. from site.
Plans for Bosch Workbench

Construction Videos & How To Links:

Project Guides The Woodwrights shop with Roy Underhill
The Hobbit House Ilustrated Glossary of Woodworking terms
Builders Construction Calculator Apps. Greg Tarrant Australian site
Building a Workbench. Alan Holtham

The History of Hand Tools:

Davistown Museum, USA Museum Publication Series : Hand Tools in History
The Registry of Maine Toolmakers (19.3 mb PDF)
Woodworking Tools 1600-1900 by Welsh, Peter C.
Ancient carpenters' tools, 1856-1930, ... . Mercer, Henry Chapman.
With Hammer In Hand...the Dominy craftsmen of East Hampton, New York.
Tools for Woodwork...the sharpening, care, and use ... . Hayward, Charles Harold, 1898-

Multiply Category Links to loose an hour or two browsing:

The Index of Fossil-Fuel-Friendly Woodworking Knowledge - comprehensive links listing by Cian Perez
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture: ....Image & Text Collections (classics such as Chippendale, Hepplewhite, designs for Mission Style furniture)..Check out Collections
Tools For The Job-- L.T.C. Rolt
Predominantly metalworking machines, gives a fascinating of early machine tools, probably best book ever written on the subject. Ian B

Older Machine Manuals: -- scanned PDF's

Wadkin Machines
[taken over by Wadkin after the War]
Danckaert Woodworking Machines
Fell Woodturning Machines

Please post any link recommendations in this thread, If accepted then they will be incorporated in the listings.
Do not provide links to Known Copyrighted material unless fully attributed and in the public domain.

This thread originally conceived by Mike.C
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By AndyT
I'm posting this here as it's about downloadable scanned books, but it is a bit different from the others and will probably be of most interest to those interested in the history of tools.

For some time now, people who own old tool catalogues have been scanning them and sharing them. Some of the sites listed in the sticky above include tool catalogues alongside old instructional books. They are, naturally, a superb source of information for identifying old tools, dating them, working out how to use them and getting some idea of their relative cost.

Many of the scans available already have now joined a huge personal collection and are available for everyone online.
For this work we must all raise a toast to tool collector Mark Stansbury. As far as I know he's a tool collector with a particular interest in mason's tools and trowels - which he writes about on his blog at He is also interested in American saws and files.

His huge collection of PDFs can be found at the Internet Archive and currently holds 868 items, with more being added every month. As more tool collectors and historians learn about this resource I am sure it will continue to grow - it makes sense to consolidate collections at the biggest, best resourced depository available.

To explore the collection, start here: ... -downloads

That link will show the collection with the most popular items first - but you can easily sort by date archived, date of publication or by title. In addition you can search within the "library catalogue" or (most of the time) within the text of the books themselves, as far as the OCR software can manage.

At present most of the items are American, but there are some from mainland Europe and from the UK.
Everything can be read online or downloaded in a variety of formats, including pdf.

Some of my own favourites include:

The Marples catalogue from 1959 ... dPriceList
Woden Tools from 1957 ... eNo.571957
Tyzack Sons & Turner 1950 ... 0Catalogue
Spear and Jackson's The Story of the Saw
William Melhuish's catalogue from 1912 ... rkersTools
Stanley tools from 1892 ... ceList1892

but there are literally hundreds more to read online, or download and enjoy.
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By GrahamF
Having come into woodworking (as opposed to property maintenance & some building) late in life I still have a lot to learn. With all the YouTube videos which clearly show most step by step details/methods/joints etc., how relevant are books these days and, if they are still worthwhile, how to choose which one(s) out of the hundreds on offer?

I must admit to having a problem reading and absorbing information which doesn't have a bearing on what I'm interested in doing at the time.