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11 Best Carpentry Books in 2021 [Explained Why!]

Updated: November 25, 2021
7 min read

Are you looking for the best carpentry books to hone your skills in this blue-collar tradesman job? We’ve got you covered.

Here are the top 11 books that explain everything about carpentry. So whether you are a student interested in a step-by-step guide or an apprentice/professional looking for some advanced technical skills, these books have the answers for you.

At A Glance: The TOP 5 Carpentry Books

1. Top pick: The Very Efficient Carpenter
2. Runner up: DeWALT Carpentry and Framing
3. Best for Students: Carpentry & Building Construction
4. Best Step-by-Step Guide: The Complete Book of Woodworking
5. Also great: Modern Carpentry

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Top pick
The Very Efficient Carpenter: Basic Framing for Residential Construction (For Pros / By Pros)
The Very Efficient Carpenter

The Very Efficient Carpenter – Basic Framing for Residential Construction is by Larry Haun, a professional carpenter. With four decades of working in construction and as a teacher, Mr. Haun concisely details the basics of carpentry in his bestselling book.

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Mr. Haun covers everything from carpentry tools, lumber, and materials. In addition, the opening chapter about permits and codes is also very insightful.

You will love Mr. Haun’s step-by-step guide on how to frame a house, lay down the sill, and cut rafters like a professional. At the risk of exaggeration, this carpentry book will easily substitute basic carpentry course training.

A fantastic feature of this carpentry book is how effortless it is to understand. Although Mr. Haun covers some very technical aspects of building a house, you will find it very easy to follow his instructions.

Whether you are an apprentice in carpentry or a professional who needs an additional boost in building skills, you will find the knowledge in this book indispensable in your carpentry career. So if you decide to get this book, you will not be disappointed.

Runner up
DEWALT Carpentry and Framing Complete Handbook (DEWALT Series)
DeWALT Carpentry and Framing

This Complete Handbook is the second edition of the DeWALT Professional Reference Series. This book is an excellent guide and a reference book for DIYers or anyone interested in carpentry if you ask me.

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An outstanding feature of this carpentry book is the full-color diagrams that beginners will find incredibly helpful. Besides, the easy writing style about the different aspects of carpentry is also something you will appreciate.

If you’re curious about what this book covers, you will find everything from laying foundations and floors to walls, rafters, and roofs. In addition, there are special topics for porches, stairs, and railings, so it covers everything you want to know about carpentry.

DeWALT also has a mobile app that doubles as a construction calculator, which is pretty neat.

The pro app is available free for download and is integrated with reference materials. As an add-on, you can also have access to hundreds of other carpentry-related calculations—all in all, a fantastic and educational carpentry book for anyone interested in carpentry.

Best for Students
Carpentry & Building Construction, Student Edition, 2016
Carpentry & Building Construction

This comprehensive book on residential carpentry by McGraw-Hill publication is a fantastic choice for students. But of course, anyone with a keen interest in carpentry can also benefit from this book.

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The best feature of this carpentry book is the straightforward presentation of construction terms.

You will also love the detailed and very informative illustrations so you can effortlessly grasp every detail. The illustrations cover everything from building processes to materials and tools.

If you are a carpentry apprentice or a student, you will appreciate the step-by-step procedures in this book.

Although this is a carpentry book that targets residential construction, the information, and the procedures will also be useful for commercial construction.

The overall quality of this educational book is excellent and is a must-buy if you are interested in qualifying for some education course or license in carpentry.

Step-by-Step Guides
The Complete Book of Woodworking: Step-by-Step Guide to Essential Woodworking Skills, Techniques, Tools and Tips (Landauer) Over 40 Easy-to-Follow Projects and Plans, 200+ Photos, and Carpentry Basics
The Complete Book of Woodworking

The Complete Book of Woodworking Step-by-Step Guide to Essential Woodworking Skills by Tom Carpenter is hands down the best pick if you like systematic guides.

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This carpentry book covers everything you need to know about tools, techniques, and tricks in woodworking.

Apart from the detailed step-by-step guides, Mr. Carpenter includes material lists and indoor-outdoor plans for more than 40 projects which is fantastic. Another feature about this carpentry book worth pointing out is the detailed diagrams, instructions, and photographs.

You will also find projects on chairs, picture frames, and sun loungers that you can construct from scratch. The project on mantel clocks is also very interesting, which you will love checking out.

Overall, this carpentry book from Tom Carpenter is a fantastic guide for students. However, DIYers and even professional carpenters can take a lot of inspiration from this goldmine of woodworking information.

You can pick up the Complete Book of Woodworking in Paperback, Kindle, or Spiral-bound edition.

Also great
Modern Carpentry
Modern Carpentry

Modern Carpentry is a combined effort from Jack Jones, Willis H. Wagner, Howard Smith, and Mark Huth. If you have a keen interest in woodworking or are a student in the field, this book has what you need to hone your carpentry skills.

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A standout feature of this book is a dedicated chapter on electrical wiring, plumbing, and HVAC. Besides, it also contains in-depth information on construction methods, building materials, and the right tools you need for the projects.

This carpentry book also introduces you to basic safety skills, attitudes, and factors that influence success on the job. A chapter on carpentry career options is also something that you will find quite useful.

You will also notice that new editions of Modern Carpentry are updated with additional information. In the latest thirteenth edition, this carpentry book includes new chapters about Control Layers and Building Envelopes.

#6
Woodworking For Dummies
Woodworking For Dummies

Woodworking For Dummies by Jeff Strong takes you to woodworking school in the most interesting manner. This carpentry book really proves that learning about wood can be extremely fun and enjoyable.

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Jeff Strong starts at the grass-root level, literally, by talking about how wood comes from trees. Besides, he shares his knowledge about the different characteristics of different types of woods.

The technical aspects of Woodworking for Dummies include safety, using the right tools, and smoothing the wood. This carpentry book is a definite contender for covering the basics of woodworking easily and practically.

Unlike other carpentry books covering the building processes, Mr. Strong also talks about adding color to the wood, staining, and protecting it with topcoats. So, in essence, no topic in carpentry is left out in this outstanding carpentry book.

However, the star topic of this carpentry book is the dedicated chapters on the different types of wood. Softwood, hardwood, plywood, solid wood, and veneer wood are some of the types of wood covered in this book by Mr. Strong.

This carpentry book is an excellent guide and a reference book. Woodworking For Dummies is available in paperback as well as Kindle.

#7
Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement, Updated Edition: Proven Money-Saving Projects; 3,400 Photos & Illustrations (Creative Homeowner) 600 Page Resource with 325 Step-by-Step DIY Projects
Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement

The Ultimate Guide to Home Repair and Improvement comes from the Editors of Creative Homeowners. This carpentry book has an impressive collection of photos and illustrations of up to 3,400.

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Apprentices in carpentry love this book as a reference guide. However, if you love tinkering with woodworks and engaging in DIY around your home, this handy book will be indispensable.

You will also love the step-by-step projects, along with a thorough guide on the tools and materials you need to undertake the projects.

In addition, you will appreciate the comprehensive information about plumbing and wiring. Most carpentry books don’t cover topics on plumbing and wiring because it is a different trade, after all. However, the information in this book will help you understand and set the right provisions for plumbing and wiring.

A photo guide about a remodeling project is also something that you will find quite useful. This carpentry book is quite unique because more than 20 experts from the carpentry industry have contributed their tech reviews.

This carpentry book will not only assist you in remodeling your home but will save you several dollars as well.

#8
Carpentry Complete: Expert Advice from Start to Finish (Taunton's Complete)
Carpentry Complete

Carpentry Complete – Expert Advice from Start to Finish is from Andrew Engel, a professional carpenter, and a writer. This carpentry book is a standout because it covers the basics and the advanced technical aspects very seamlessly.

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Engel’s book is a comprehensive one that covers a lot of information. Some of the topics include getting the right tools, basic safety measures, using the right materials, and building a staircase and other components of a home.

But despite the number of carpentry topics covered, Engel does it so that you can easily scan the information.

The texts are easy to understand, and the visual assistance through a combination of photos and illustrations makes it very effortless to scan this book.

If you love DIYing with wood around your home and living space, you will love this highly visual and informative book. Carpentry Complete is also a great pick if you are joining a crew for a building project. Of course, if you are a veteran carpenter who wants to know what your comrades are up to, you can also pick up this book and have fun.

#9
The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling
The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling

The Visual Handbook of Building and Remodeling comes from Charlie Wing, a veteran in the remodeling and home building industry. And as the name implies, this carpentry book is all about illustrations and reference charts.

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With up to 1,700 illustrations and 300 charts inside a 688-page book, it doesn’t get any more visual than this book.

This means you will have no problem undertaking a project from start to finish. With the help of Mr. Wing’s illustration and systematic guide, you can lay a foundation, frame, and whole building and complete it successfully like a pro.

Besides this, you can also look forward to installing the plumbing and HVAC if you choose to. In addition, you can also install the electrical wiring by following the instructions on this handy book.

However, working with electricity requires the right qualifications and safety measures. So unless you have some level of experience in it, you might want to seek the service of a professional.

Nevertheless, this carpentry book is a reliable source of information whether you are in carpentry as a professional, a student of the trade looking to hone your carpentry skills. Or simply a homeowner with an interest in building things with your hands and filling your home with beautiful woodwork.

#10
Complete Book of Framing: An Illustrated Guide for Residential Construction (RSMeans)
Complete Book of Framing

Complete Book of Framing – An Illustrated Guide for Residential Construction is from Scot Simpson, a professional carpenter with more than four decades of experience.

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Simpson’s book is a bestselling guide dedicated to framing every component of a house.

This book gives you the lowdown on framing floors, walls, doors, windows, and roofs. You will also find the framing instructions on stairs if you are interested. As the name suggests, Simpson’s book has several detailed illustrations and colored photographs that allow you to make visual connections with the texts very easily.

A standout of this carpentry book is the inclusion of OSHA rules as well as IBC and IRC. The new edition of this carpentry book also covers electric tools and physiological features of framing, which is very cool and informative.

Besides, the illustrations depict all the framing techniques step-by-step, so it is a perfect guide even for a beginner.

Lastly, the Complete Book of Framing is a great carpentry book for students, DIYers, or carpenter apprentices.

#11
Woodworking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Skills, Techniques, and Projects (Fox Chapel Publishing) Over 1,200 Photos & Illustrations, 41 Complete Plans, Easy-to-Follow Diagrams & Expert Guidance
Woodworking

Wrapping up our list of the best carpentry books is Woodworking: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide to Skills, Techniques, and Projects. This is another one from Tom Carpenter.

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Woodworking takes the visual appeal in a book to a whole new level, with over 1,200 photographs and detailed illustrations covering the 448-page book. In addition, the diagrams are also very easy to follow despite their technical nature.

A great feature of this carpentry book is the woodworking project book. This is separate from the skills-building book. So essentially, you get two carpentry books with this one.

You will also love this carpentry book if you are just getting into the trade. It covers the essentials of measuring, marking, cutting, drilling, and shaping. With this book in your woodworking arsenal, you will feel like you are working alongside a master builder, silently guiding you about the processes.

But of course, experienced carpenters or homeowners who love tinkering away with woodworks will also find the information in this book very useful.

Sources:

Reddit

The honest Carpenter

Written by
Jamey Muller
I'm the head-writer @ Knowledge Eager (or, in plain English, I'm the guy writing the majority of the content here). Addicted to the stock market, football, sushi and tacos.
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