Free Books!

Instructional books are some of my favorites.  I have always been one of those people who enjoys a well written textbook over the most recent Harry Potter.  I am also a very slow reader (slow in general I suppose), so I like to get the most out of my time spent buried in a book.  My home library of woodworking and machine shop practice books has been growing at an alarming rate over the last four or five years and finding space to put all of those informational goldmines has become...interesting.  Additionally, paying for these books (or anything else) sometimes makes me cringe.  That is why I put in some research time trying to find free resources for woodworking and machine shop knowledge (aside from your local library, of course).
Relaxing Light Reading
"Minimum Design Loads For Buildings And Other Structures"

While there is no real substitute, in my opinion, for sitting in a chair with a real honest to goodness book, free ebooks are always welcome (and sometimes printable at a local FedEx Kinko's).  Scouring the internet I found a link to an enormous library of free downloadable ebooks (40,000 plus) called Project Gutenberg. Their library, fortunately, includes a modest selection of woodworking instructional books, and even a copy of Modern Machine-Shop Practice, Volumes I and II.  They have the majority of their ebooks in multiple formats including kindle, html, and epub and they are all high quality.  Project Gutenberg does not require a registration or fee but they ask for a donation if you feel so inclined to help out with their cause.  They are able to provide these books for free because the books they publish have expired copyrights (though they may not be expired in countries outside the U.S.).

One of the best free resources by far for woodworking, machine work, blacksmithing, and several other disciplines is The Evenfall Studios Woodworks Library.  With over 200 free titles and counting, I simply can not say enough good things about this website and its monumental amount of free knowledge.  It is definitely worth your time to check out this extensive library.

Google is also doing their part to provide free downloadable books to the masses.  The easiest way to find free ebooks from Google is to enter the topic of the book you are searching for into the Google search homepage and click search.  Then on the left hand side of the results screen there will be an option titled "Books," click that title.  Once "Books" has opened click the "Free Google eBooks" link on the left hand side of the page and it will open a list of free downloadable ebooks.  Then, sort through the thousands of results.  Or just click some of the searches I have listed below:
Free Google eBook Searches:
Machine Shop Practice
Woodworking Tools

Internet Archive is yet another seemingly boundless internet resource for all things knowledge based.  They have an enormous searchable e-library with a large selection of scanned how to books.  Just search for your topic here: Internet Archive "Text Archive."  They also have an amazing audio archive where you can stream and download over 200,000 live performances, old time radio shows, news, poetry readings, and user uploaded music if you need some tunes while you work in your shop.  Their Grateful Dead section is spectacular.

Another great resource for all you makers out there, is Tools For Working Wood's Reprint Project for "Work Illustrated Weekly" which is being provided in a downloadable format on their website.  They are on issue #27 at the moment and d they have all been awesome.  I wrote a blog entry about this wonderful work of charity in March and I am very pleased that they have indeed stuck by their original word to republish this work weekly (they have 4 years worth of material!!).

I also found that if you visit Barnes & Noble's website and search "0.00 woodworking" you get about 32 pages of woodworking books, the majority of which are under a dollar!  While slightly less impressive, Amazon also has a similar list of books if you search for "free woodworking."  Both websites will still charge for shipping, but with the low cost of the books you are basically only paying for shipping.

There are also a multitude of free and low cost woodworking sources out there in the internet.  Be forewarned, however, some wreak of scam (8 Billion Free Woodworking Plans!!!!!!).

Maybe one of these books has some plans for a bookshelf?

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