Books on Chinese Woodworking, carpentry and joinery with good diagrams
There are a lot of books on Chinese antiques out there, most of which we have on our amazon list already. And not to boast but I do think this list is about as complete as it gets. However, I find these ones have the most complete details in terms of specific diagrams of joinery and construction.
Ming and Qing furniture production decomposition Appreciation and illustrations (明清家具鉴赏与制作分解图鉴上下 百度网盘下载)
This book is a set of two and is in Chinese, however if you don’t read Chinese it probably doesn’t matter. The book primarily consists of detailed carpentry and construction drawings of how to construct Chinese furniture. Included are individual measurements for each component as well as basic joinery (floating panels – more advanced joints are not shown) etc.
Alternate link to buy from if not on Amazon. Note that if you buy from a China based source be cautious as some are poorly printed reprints.
Carpentry and Building in Late Imperial China: A Study of the Fifteenth-Century Carpenter’s Manual Lu Ban Jing
Another classic, this is essentially a partial translation of the Fifteenth-Century Carpenter’s Manual the “Lu Ban Jing.” Not exactly useful today for making furniture but somehow it still feels like it belongs on this list even if just from a scholarly perspective. A lot of topics covered here – not just construction as carpentry in ancient China means not just furniture but mainly architecture. The image below is from this book (the original version, not the translated one).
Google books has a fairly comprehensive preview of the book here.
Amazing that this book was written in 1944 and today still remains ones of the most popular books on Chinese woodworking. Gustav Ecke was one of the first westerners to really study Chinese Furniture in a methodical way. The detailed drawings are stunning and this one is a no brainer for any connoisseur. The very back section has a number of joinery drawings. I would say this is considered to be one of the classics.
This is a nice overview of materials preparation that was posted in the forums at Fine Woodworking.
“In some way it is lucky that we met Liu Shifu at the end of his career: early in his career a Chinese Shifu will hardly ever allow outsiders to watch them work, not to mention photograph. In fact, Liu Shifu was very interested in the prospect that his life’s work could find a forum in the United States. Stock preparation starts with the equivalent to a broad ax which, with enough practice, get’s you fairly close to the final dimensions of the board.”
Project: Ming Inspiration
Ming Inspiration from The Carpentry Way blog, is a 50 post series of absolutely ridiculously geeky and in-depth explorations of one carpenters journey to complete a Ming inspired table for his customer. Touching on historical background, design, materials, joinery and construction, this sort of detail oriented study is exactly the sort of thing I appreciate. The amount of information here is really amazing and I have not even made it through the entire series yet.
Ming Inspiration: https://thecarpentryway.blogspot.com/2010/11/ming-inspiration.html
Article: Chinese Joinery
Some interesting diagrams and images here illustrating various approaches to Chinese Joinery.
Read the Full article: https://www.hypersurf.com/~charlie2/Joinery/Joinery0.html