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"Fine Woodworking" on Making and Modifying Machines Paperback – 1 Dec 1986

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Product details

  • Paperback: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press Inc (1 Dec. 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0918804434
  • ISBN-13: 978-0918804433
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 0.8 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,435,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Articles explain how to make table saws, panel saws, band saws, jointers, sanders, planers, knives, lathes, and small tools.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Dec. 1998
Don't let the rather crude looking sam on the cover fool you. This book has some great ideas from two different table saws to a jointer and even some ideas on shaper knives. The part I liked most was that the instructions had just the right amount of detail to cover the rough spots but left the rest up to you, it is after all going to be your tool. Also for the price its hard to go wrong.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 9 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Unique, Useful, Interesting, Informative, Fascinating, Fun! 22 Jun. 2009
By G. Conner - Published on
Verified Purchase
For the one-man shop, it is nearly impossible to buy every woodworking machine. Even if you could afford one of everything, where would you put it all? The solution is to make or modify machines, and this book's tittle is accurate... that is mainly what it is about.

Like many of Taunton's books, this is nothing more than a reorganization of previously published articles. In this case though, that is NOT a rip-off, even for those of us who have every Fine-Woodworking magazine ever published. Why? Because it successfully focuses on the single subject and it is from Fine Woodworking's "glory-days"... when they had enough accumulated articles to deliver broad coverage of a subject and they were still focused on delivering unbiased information.

The clear illustrations and good modern English are here, which are the foundation of the Taunton legacy. There are machines for every woodworker's needs. Explanations are concise and complete, but there is obvious room for improvisation and creativity. The B&W photos are clear and they are cropped to show "generic" machines, not specific machines of favored advertisers. Of course, many of the machines are made of wood, including some of the working bearings, screws, levers, adjustments and other moving parts. Construction details are adequate but not overly detailed, because each builder / designer must work with what he has at hand.

There is a Rube Goldberg feeling to some of these contraptions, which is enjoyable. I have seen similar machines like these and even built a few small scale versions, so I can attest that they are practical. YES... They ACTUALLY WORK!

If you have ever wondered about making your own tools, including heavy-duty saws, planers, table-saw, beam-saw or the like, this is a must-have book.

By the way... you definitely CAN make perfectly functional machines of the types mentioned. You can do this to save money, to prove how clever you are or because you want a higher-quality machine with special features that doesn't exist. Once you absorb a few engineering principles, home-made machines are a practical reality. It is possible to make machines that are BETTER than manufactured products, and you can make them for a fraction of the cost. Not only that, but you can fix or modify your own machines without worrying about warrantees and hard-to-find parts.

And if you long to help the world by using less fossil-fuel, there are a number of human-powered machines that can keep you off grid... or at least not a total slave to the power-companies.

It is even funny in places! The article on "how to make your own tool-steel" heralds from the days when FW editors demonstrated an almost Mark Twain-ian sense of humor. I miss those days!

As stated, these articles are all previously published, but having them in a single tome is a glorious tool by itself. Though by no means "complete" it has enough working-examples of each of these machines that you might be inspired to make some yourself. Even if you never build one, you will learn to understand and use existing manufactured machines better.

Over the decades, I have benefited greatly from knowing much of this material and would recommend this book it to any woodworker, even if you have no intention of ever building machines yourself. It is a fascinating and unique book from the best past years of Fine Woodworking... one of the best books Taunton ever published.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Great book about real woodworking machines, not shop jigs 21 Dec. 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Don't let the rather crude looking sam on the cover fool you. This book has some great ideas from two different table saws to a jointer and even some ideas on shaper knives. The part I liked most was that the instructions had just the right amount of detail to cover the rough spots but left the rest up to you, it is after all going to be your tool. Also for the price its hard to go wrong.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is how woodworking should be 21 Oct. 2011
By vsquared47 - Published on
Verified Purchase
Sometimes when reading fiction you come across a character and recognise large pieces of yourself. I didn't expect to find this in a book about woodworking published by Fine Woodworking.

But I did. Here is an attitude to my hobby/obsession that suits me perfectly, but is not to be found in current magazines.

The things I identified with are:
You don't have to spend big mobs of dollars to make your work worthwhile.
It's OK to make it up as you go along. See page 94, on making a treadle lathe "Except for a few templates and overall rough measurements Knight didn't make or use plans. He explains 'I feel better about the end result - there's more a feeling of creativity and accomplishment'".
It's OK to scrounge and use bits of equipment because you have them, not because they're perfect.

For me this is a great discovery of a book. I bought it because I've been toying with making a pedal or treadle lathe, and find I have at least four projects I really, really want to have a go at.

And the beauty of it, the descriptions of the machinery are not prescriptive - I can fiddle and modify too my heart's content.

I recommend it for anyone who would like to try a shed made saw, (the cover-piece of a walking beam saw is a gem), a lathe (several options)a sander or planer, or even - and I think this bloke is mad - to smelt your own steel. The instructions for this one begin "To get started you'll need 20 or 30 tons of high grade iron ore, 15 tons of low sulfur coal, oxygen and a dab of molybdenum".

There's a lot more - 29 articles so around 25 ideas for a project. If you prefer to spend your time in your lounge room, it's still worth the price to sit and dream.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
That isn't a treadle powered saw on cover 20 Nov. 2014
By A. Burchfield - Published on
Verified Purchase
I bought this book based mostly on the cover photo, thinking it was a foot/treadle powered saw- it's motorized (perhaps the mechanically inclined could figure out a conversion).
Most of the tools described in this book are home built versions of common workshop items:
A couple of table saws (the second one better described than the first).
Some sanding equipment, disc or belt,
A couple of panel saw rigs, one vertical (uses your circular saw) one table, and a sliding table for use with an existing table saw
A couple of router gadgets that looked pretty good
There are two treadle powered lathes and a, very short, piece on a treble powered band saw. One of the lathes uses the most elaborate looking flywheel I've ever seen, the other uses bicycle gearing and chain.
There's a jointer, biggest idea on it is the wood box, an article on making tools to successfully make 1/12 scale miniatures.

Some of the articles were, for me anyway, short on descriptive detail and diagrams. The photographs were often small and dark, the small print not easy on my eyes either. A book best bought "good, used"
Wonderful Book 18 Feb. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Verified Purchase
Very informative book - makes one aware of whats possible and what the average "shed bloke" has been capable of making prior to current era of "dont fix it buy a new one" and "too much time to make it buy a cheap chinese one"

Provides an understanding of how machines work and how you can make them yourself.

Lots of "aaaah!" moments "so that's how you do it !"

Great book - compiled in 1986 from various magazine articles but don't dismiss just because its almost - this sort of knowledge is probably rapidly fading from common every day awareness
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