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    Great book of projects

    The trick when you are just starting out is to find projects you can handle, yet are nice enough to be worth building. Spike Carlsen has cooked up not just a few like that, but almost 40 different projects, for every room of the house, and even some outdoor furniture for the deck and patio, in his new book, "Ridiculously Simple Furniture Projects: Great Looking Furniture Anyone Can Build."

    It's a lot to ask a new woodworker to take the plunge and invest in machninery, even the portable versions: tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press, and so on. And Carlsen doesn't ask you to. Every one of these projects can be built with just a few portable power tools: circular saw, jigsaw, and drill.

    He does a few backflips to get you there, like cutting up a cheap hollow-core door to make shelves and tacking beadboard onto a stock kitchen cabinet to make a toy chest, but I think most of his tricks are ingenious, and I think almost any reader will find 10 or 12 projects here that strike their fancy. And that makes the book well worth its $14 cover price. Go to http://www.ridiculouslysimplefurniture.com/Site/Home.html to see pictures of the projects and find links to Amazon and other places to buy the book