The Complete Illustrated Guide to Shaping Wood

The Complete Illustrated Guide to Shaping Wood

SKU# 070533

A Comprehensive and Graphic Wood Shaping Reference

Lonnie Bird


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  • Product # 070533
  • Type Hardcover
  • ISBN 978-1-56158-400-0
  • Published Date 2005
  • Dimensions 9-1/4 X 10-7/8
  • Pages 304
  • Photos color photos
  • Drawings and drawings
Shape is critical to the ultimate success or failure of a piece of furniture. Knowing this, custom-furniture maker Lonnie Bird has taken the complex subject of shaping wood and made it accessible to every woodworker.

In Shaping Wood, Bird shows you how to dress up your furniture, personalize your work and create period details. Learn to turn, carve, bend, cut and shape with hand tools or machines. All the techniques are in this accessible guide -- from cutting a simple circle to carving a ball-and-claw foot. He leads you through visualizing, drawing a shape and then choosing the appropriate tool for creating it.
  • Graphic, step-by-step presentation of key techniques and methods
  • Visual maps, cross-references and indexes make information easy to find
  • Covers the many woodworking methods and tools available
  • Modern, up-to-date coverage of tools and techniques
  • Part of a three-volume encyclopedia of woodworking

The Complete Illustrated Guides Introducing a new series of books in the tradition of Tage Frid. All the techniques and processes you need to craft beautiful things from wood are compiled into three comprehensive volumes: The Complete Illustrated Guides. Highly visual and written by woodworking's finest craftsmen, these three titles -- Furniture and Cabinet Construction, Shaping Wood and Joinery establish a new standard for shop reference books.


Please view a sample of this book below 

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book

Part One Tools and Materials


Layout Tools
Basic Shaping Tools
Tools for Edge Treatments and Moldings
Tools for Carving
Tools for Turning
Tools for Bending

SECTION 2 Materials

Dry Lumber
Stock for Sawn Curves
Stock for Bending
Stock for Panels

Part Two Cutting Shapes

SECTION 3 Straight-Edged Shapes


SECTION 4 Curved Shapes

Arcs, Circles, & Ellipses
Exterior Curves
Interior Curves

SECTION 5 Complex Shapes

Raised Panels
Door Frames
Coopered Panels
Compound Curves

SECTION 6 Template Shaping

Cutting with Templates
Flush Trimming
Shaping Inside Corners

Part Three Edge Treatments and Moldings

SECTION 7 Edge Treatments

Simple Shaped Edge
Shaping an Entire Edge
Lipped Door Edge
Shaping a Board's Face
Dished Tabletop


Quirk Bead
Beaded Backboard
Cock Bead

SECTION 9 Simple Moldings

Machine-Cut Molding
Hand-Cut Molding

SECTION 10 Complex and Built-Up Moldings

Solid Complex Molding
Built-Up Molding
Dentil Molding

SECTION 11 Curved Moldings

Arched Molding
Gooseneck Molding

Part Four Other Decorative Shapes

SECTION 12 Coves

Machine-Cut Coves
Hand-Cut Coves

SECTION 13 Flutes and Reeds


Part Five Special Techniques

SECTION 14 Turning

Turning Basic Shapes
Furniture Legs and Feet
Decorative Details
Complex Turnings

SECTION 15 Carving

Lamb's Tongue
Flame Finial
Carved Feet

SECTION 16 Bending

Steam Bending
Bent Lamination
Kerf Bending

Appendix: Shaping Small Parts

List of Suppliers

Further Reading


Shape is a fundamental element of design. All furniture styles, even seemingly simple designs such as Shaker, use shape to enhance, increase function, and define style. For example, the sensuous curve of a chair back adds comfort as well as visual appeal, and the slender taper of a table leg creates lightness without sacrificing strength. Shape is critical to the ultimate success or failure of a piece of furniture. It simply can't be ignored.

Before shapes can be created, they must first be visualized and then drawn. There are tools and templates available for drawing geometric shapes; but organic, freeform curves are often best sketched freehand. Fortunately, the natural movements of the wrist and elbow make it possible for anyone to draw flowing curves with a bit of practice.

As I've illustrated in this book, the choices available for shaping are numerous. And it's not necessary to have access to a shop full of power tools, either. Many woodworkers are rediscovering hand tools along with the pleasure and satisfaction that comes with their use. Planes, saws, chisels, and other edge tools all require patience and a degree of skill; but they yield a handmade look and texture as well as a deep sense of accomplishment.

Learning to tune and effectively use power tools can be satisfying, too. And many power tool techniques, such as template shaping, yield efficiency that is unmatched with hand tools. Machines are also a good choice for many labor-intensive tasks, such as planing and sawing stock to size, providing more time for creating details by hand that machines simply can't duplicate. For example, a bandsaw is an efficient choice for sawing a curve in preparation for refining and sculpting the same curve with a spokeshave and a rasp. As a long-time woodworker who seeks pleasure from the craft, I've learned to enjoy both hand and power tools for what each has to offer.

As you explore the pages of this book, it's my hope that you'll be inspired by the creativity and challenge that comes with adding shapes to your next woodworking project.


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