One of the things I've always enjoyed about Charles Platt's Make: Electronics series (which I instigated as an editor at Make: Books) is his "Learning by Discovery" approach. You learn about electronics by doing the electronics and then learning about the science and engineering behind what you just did. So I was thrilled to see that in Platt's latest book, Make: Tools, he uses the same project-based learning approach. Here, you do various, mainly wood-based, projects and learn about the tools as they are needed. For instance, in the first project, which is a wooden puzzle, saws are discussed as one is called for, then mitre boxes, clamps, rulers and squares, sanding and finishing tools. In the end, you've been introduced to each of the the tools in action and you have a fun puzzle to show for your efforts.
Charles always picks clever projects and Make: Tools is no exception. Projects here include a set of jumbo wooden dice, a pantograph, a Swanee whistle, parquetry, some wooden and plastic boxes, basic bookshelves, and even a few useful shop jigs. Through the course of each chapter, the project reveals the tools needed and explains how they're used, their features and variations, and any safety precautions. Each chapter is also followed by a fact sheet that delves more deeply into a featured tool or material introduced in the chapter. Charles is known for his intense attention to detail and there's plenty of evidence of that here. Each of the handsomely-designed pages (photographed and illustrated by Charles and designed by his wife, Erico Platt) has a lot going on and close examination pays off. It's a fun book just to browse through. And, even if you don't build anything from Make: Tools, the steps in the projects act as a narrative through which you can better understand how these tools are used in a variety of building situations. By the end, you'll have been introduced to dozens of tools, materials, and techniques and have gained a solid grounding in how to use them in the real world.
Make: Tools: How They Work and How to Use Them
by Charles Platt
2016, 260 pages, 8.0 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches, Hardcover
$18 Buy one on Amazon