World Book Day: Top books for furniture makers

As tutors, we live and breathe woodworking, but we’ll be the first to admit that mastering the craft is a journey of constant learning and discovery. To mark World Book Day, we wanted to highlight some of our favourite woodworking books that have seen us well through our careers.   

Whether you’re searching for inspiration or simply looking to learn more about the wonders of wood, rest assured, there’s a book out there for you.

Happy reading!

The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director – Thomas Chippendale

We can’t put together a list of books without including this celebrated title from the School’s namesake. With over 160 beautifully illustrated plates showcasing a myriad of styles from Gothic to Rococo, Thomas Chippendale’s “The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Directory” is an invaluable resource for both historical reference and design inspiration. A great one for any antique lover and a must-read for fine furniture makers.

Collins Complete Woodworker’s Manual – Albert Jackson and David Day

We occasionally refer to this manual as the ‘woodworker’s bible’ it is referenced that often! This comprehensive book covers just about everything you need to know about woodworking, from the basics to advanced techniques like marquetry. Packed with clear instructions alongside detailed images and illustrations, it serves as the perfect guide for anyone looking to refine their woodworking skills. Trust us, this book will be your steadfast companion throughout your woodworking career!

Atlas of Furniture Design – Vitra Design Museum

For a broader and more complete perspective on furniture design, look no further than the “Atlas of Furniture Design” from the Vitra Design Museum. Spanning over 230 years of design history, this stunning book showcases the evolution of furniture design through the ages. With contributions from over 70 authors and a wealth of visual material, it’s a great resource for understanding the cultural and aesthetic influences that shape modern furniture design.

Understanding Wood: A Craftsman’s Guide to Wood Technology – B. Bruce Hoadley

We’re perhaps stating the obvious but understanding the materials that you work with is paramount. As wood is the foundation of furniture making, understanding its properties and quirks is essential for any craftsperson. B. Bruce Hoadley’s guide offers a (at times overly!) detailed overview of wood, dispelling common myths and providing valuable information on cutting, seasoning, and finishing wood.

Hans J Wegner: Just One Good Chair – Christian Holmsted Olesen

Sometimes, a single object can define an entire career. In the case of Danish architect Hans J. Wegner, that object was the humble chair. This book celebrates Wegner’s prolific career and showcases over 500 of his designs, including iconic pieces such as the China Chair and the Y Chair. We think it perfectly showcases that even the simplest of furniture can be elevated into works of art.

Human Dimension & Interior Space – Julius Panero and Martin Zelnik

Finally, no discussion on furniture making would be complete without considering the human element. “Human Dimension & Interior Space” offers a guide to anthropometric design standards, offering information on how to create spaces and design choices that are both functional and ergonomic. Whether you’re designing for residential, commercial, or institutional settings, this book is an essential reference for ensuring that your creations meet the needs of their users.


In our Professional Course, students immerse themselves in furniture making both in practice and theory. Our workshop has a dedicated library stocked with every woodworking book you could think of!

Interested in pursuing woodworking and fine furniture making as a career? Find out more about our 2024/25 Professional Course here, or check out our full range of courses here.

Scroll to Top