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on 1 September 2011
This US book is split into two major parts.

The first part covers just about every kind of wood joint you can think of, along with examples of use and strengths/weaknesses (literally). You should be able to construct most joints with a router or by hand (some are a bit complicated though).

The latter part of the book provides many kinds of examples of tables, chairs, book cases, wardrobes and even beds. While not providing specific dimensions and so on, it gives a clear method for designing to the "average" sized human.

As a bonus it describes the various kinds of styles, e.g. "Shaker" and "Queen Anne" amongst many others. That in itself is useful if you're looking at antiques and ever wonder why they are called what they are.

It is more of a "source book" of ideas than a book of blue-prints. If you can draw and think, it is possible to work out dimensions and the build order if required. However because it is not a cut-by-cut or pin-by-pin book, it's not fully for beginners, but that's fine.
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on 10 July 2017
This book is more like a dictionary of woodworking rather than a book to read cover to cover. It has lots of pictures of furniture but it fails to explain basic things of how you make this furniture. Overall, a rather boring and disappointing book...
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on 29 March 2017
This is a perfect addition to any woodworkers library. It comes with a clear and concise information as well as creating a multitude of different ideas for projects around the home and in the workshop.
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on 7 November 2016
No, this is not the "Gray's Anatomy of Woodworking", despite the front cover statement, but it is not very far from an "Atlas of Cabinet making": the difference being that Gray's Anatomy is an utterly comprehensive textbook. As an atlas, Illustrated Cabinet Making is only limited by its British-American perspective. This is mildly annoying as this book gives an otherwise very good historical background to each of the woodworking projects it presents. It's just that the history of Anglo-American cabinet- and furniture making is deeply influenced by continental European, which in turn has taken inspiration from Chinese-Japanese crafts.

The above should not detract the reader from that an extensive and in-depth coverage on furniture making (exempting chairs), appropriate joinery, and history of the described projects is provided.

After an introduction on the history of Anglo-American cabinet making, the reader is provided is with an in-depth review of the joints available to the cabinet maker, succeeded by descriptions and recommendations what joinery to use for those sub-assemblies which put together generate a cabinet or furniture piece. Most importantly, Mr Hylton provides important information on the properties of available joints, how to mitigate the impact of seasonal variation in moisture induced swelling of wood, and the tensions placed on various sub-assemblies and what joinery best mitigates those strains.

The methodology sections are followed by a series of chapters where the methodologies are applied in the making of most furniture and cabinets, exempting chairs. Each main component of furniture, e.g. desks, tables, and beds, is illustrated by several examples, and each example is provided with very informative drawings on joints and sub-assemblies come together to form the piece. Furthermore, historical background, as well as alternatives to the presented piece, are briefly informed on in text boxes. Details for making the presented piece, and alternatives are given as references to publications. Some of these references are by now perhaps somewhat aged on not immediately accessible.

The topic of this book is not to teach the techniques of cabinet making, but some elaboration on woods suitable - and why they are recommended - for the presented projects would have been welcome, as would have been which joints go well with what wood.

In summary, anyone contemplating a wall-hung cabinet, not supported by brackets, can do more than well from the information this book provides on the suitable joinery and sub-assemblies for this kind of project. Likewise, will those in need of an extensible dining table find the intimate anatomy of such a piece of furniture, as well as alternatives.
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on 9 December 2015
First and foremost this is not a step by step guide or a book for beginners, this book is aimed at advanced or experienced joiners cabinet makers or woodworkers.

This book is to be used as a reference book for projects, commissions or contracts. It enable you to have an insight of how pieces are built and ways around certain issues that may arise in the construction of pieces of furniture.

I found this book immensely useful being a cabinet maker and joiner, at times I need to refresh or simply dicover how certain pieces I am asked to make are actually made since there are so many variants. The exploded views are superb since they give me the insight on certain subassemblies and joints they are suggested or required.

I highly recommend this book for any serious craftsman or enthuiast to get this book as a reference
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on 15 January 2016
A+
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on 1 February 2012
I would say it is an average book, the instruction are limited and not always very clear. The drawings in some cases have been squashed in so that it makes it difficult to understand them. Not for the absolute beginner.
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on 17 February 2016
great
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on 11 February 2017
Excellent book, but make sure you know what you are buying
This book is brilliant if you want to understand how to design furniture, and how it has been designed throughout different historical periods.
It is not a book about techniques, nor does it contain furniture plans. As the review in the cover says, this is "the Gray's anatomy of woodoworking" - the book discusses the anatomy of furniture, how it is usually made an why, what joints are used where and why, how wood movement should be accounted for, and also discusses briefly furniture styles in different periods.
Finally there is a pretty long list of illustrations of different pieces of furniture which are shown disassembled, so as to be able to understand how they have been designed and the different components. But there are no plans to make them, and no description of the techniques involved whatsoever. Instead, a few comments on the utility of the piece are included, along with notes on which type of joint is used for different components of that piece.
For someone like me, an amateur trying to understand how to design my own furniture and not looking for already made furniture plans, this book is invaluable. It covers a very specific topic: what construction technique is better suited for different components and how it has been used throughout history. But it won't tell you how to mark and cut a mortice and tenon, there are hundredsd of books and videos out there that can teach you that.
The examples draw heavily from American furniture history, but they are very interesting indeed.
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on 14 December 2010
Information and illustrations are very thorough, complete, easy to understand. Essential book for all levels - beginners to experienced craftsmen, from students to veterans in design. The title is misleading (in a good sense) because this book is not just about cabinet making, there are sections for doors, tables, beds and boxes. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in furniture design and construction.
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