Technical reference books can be a godsend when working on a project. Most every maker, big and small, is likely familiar with the PocketRef and similar reference guides.
In this Tested video, Adam Savage goes gaga for a new reference tome a fan turned him onto: Backstage Handbook. As the name implies, it was created as an illustrated almanac of technical information for stagecraft, but as Adam points out, most of the contents–divided into tools, hardware, materials, shop math, electrics, and architecture–can be applied to all manner of making.
Adam also touches on something that I've been preaching for years. Knowing what things are called gives you impressive powers over them. Knowing what things are called is the first step to understanding them. Titles like this are the spellbooks that help unlock that magic.
Perhaps because of this enthusiastic review from Adam, there aren't a lot of reasonably priced copies of Backstage Handbook available online at the moment, but they're there if you dig deep enough.
Thumbnail: Screen grab from video, Adam Savage, Tested.