Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship – Review

Let’s face facts: we were not all born with an innate sense of how to build a beautiful piece of furniture from start to finish. In Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship by Peter Korn, you will learn step by step the basic skills you need to put together a project.

In fact, Peter Korn includes plans for two woodworking projects, a small cabinet and a bench.

This book came about following a two-week woodworking course that took place in Camden, Maine, and emphasizes that basic woodworking skills are essential to good craftsmanship. In other words, don’t just buy a lot of woodworking tools and place them in your garage, hoping somehow you will stumble upon the knowledge to operate them, and in doing so, create a masterpiece beyond measure. You will not wow your friends if you have no idea what you’re doing, but you may wow them with the tale of how the doctor put you back together after the table saw chewed you up and spit you out.

At any rate, if you really want to do quality woodworking, you can’t just wander into a workshop and expect a miracle. You need instruction in the art. Woodworking Basics gives you the instruction you need to get you on your way.

In it you will learn not only how to use hand tools, but you will get a good idea of what it is to make a project from start to finish. There are two projects included in the book, and the procedure is very simple to follow.

It is said that Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship by Peter Korn is almost as good as actually participating in one of his classes. This is a bonus, because not everyone is conveniently located near a location offering this class. With 208 pages of easy to follow instructions and pictures, this is a book a beginner should, at the very least, keep handy for reference.

Keep in mind that if you have no experience whatsoever in woodworking, this book may still read a little like Greek to you. But, if you ever spent time in you high school workshop, or if you have any knowledge at all of tools or wood, then you should be just fine, and believe me, you will learn plenty.

Peter Korn goes over the tools essential to any woodworking shop, and he also clues you in on what really isn’t necessary. So before you get delusions of grandeur and begin buying up all sorts of tools, take the time to read Woodworking Basics: Mastering the Essentials of Craftsmanship. Then, if you become truly serious about your craft, invest in tools that will stand the test of time.


  1. Shane Bryant says:

    Though I’m sure it was not Mr. Korn’s intent, this work converted me from a ‘Norm-ite’ to a ‘Neanderthal’ woodworker. Mr. Korn provides parallel instructions for using power and hand tools, and that made all the difference. I realized I could do real woodworking without investing thousands of dollars in loud, dangerous, impersonal machinery. After reading this book, I invested lightly in used hand planes, chisels, a Ryoba and waterstones rather than jointers, planers, routers and table saws. Though I am not yet a craftsman by any means, I now ‘enjoy’ woodworking more than I ever had before. I didn’t realize how much I’d grown to depend on Mr. Korn’s book until I lost the darn thing midway through the course. Yes, it’s a course, not a reference book. It teaches gradually, with each lesson building on the prior one. That’s what makes it so compelling. Taken with patience, one can master seemingly impossible tasks in workworking. Highly recommended.