As more and more people make their own home repairs, interest in how-to information grows. Book publishers have been turning out a steady stream of new columes designed to answer this need.
The following, released during the past nine months, should prove worthwhile to do-it-yourselfers.
Residential Carpentry, by John Capotosto (Prentice-Hall Inc., $18.95): This is clearly written and well illustrated. The 373-page, hardbound volume covers carpentry in a thorough manner.
Illustrated with photohtaphs and detailed line drawings, the book is written from the viewpoint of the carpenter who is building a new house. However, there is still much of interest to any homeowner who may be planning extensive alterations or remodling.
Although much of the book is devoted to structural framing and roof framing -- projects not often tackled by the do-it-yourselfer -- there are some very fine chapters on installing and framing doors and windows, shingling and roofing, insulation and moisture control, interior paneling and trim, and stairs and cabinetwork.
The Art and Ingenuity of the Woodstove, by Jan Adkins (Everest House, $12.95): Starting with the history of wood heat and how the wood stove was invented, this is a fact-filled, 137-page, large-format, hardcover book that is both interesting to read and pleasant to browse through.
The author, a talented artist, has pictured many types of stoves and accessories, as well as how-to techniques for installing, caring for, and working with wood stoves for heating and cooking. There are about 200 drawings and many photographs in a section at the back of the book that describes over 160 wood-burning stoves and provides a list of manufactures.
Wood Energy -- A Practical Guide to Heating With Wood, by Mary Twitchell (Garden Way Publishing $7.95): This is a large-format paperback that limits itself to the practical side of wood heating. It includes a chapter on fireplaces and how to get more heat from them, as well as several on choosing and using wood stoves.
Successful Shelves & Built-Ins, by Jay Hedden (Structures Publishing Co., $12 hardcover, $5.59, paperback): An idea book as much as it is a how-to book, this is a profusely illustrated volume of 128 pages with the line drawings and photographs (some in color). There are plans for specific projects, and chapters devoted to techniques and materials. One chapter talks about kitchen cabinets, another book cases and bookshelves, and others bathroom cabinets, bedroom built-ins, and setting up a home office. Three chapters cover working techniques with plywood, particle board, and plastic laminates.
The Home Plumber's Bible, by Rmesh Singhal (Tab Books, $5.95): This is a pocket-size paperback of 364 pages that does a fairly good job of covering its subject. It has many line drawings, but some are not as clear as they should be. In most respects the book is quite thorough, as in describing the home plumbing system and how it works, and when describing most of the commonly encountered plumbing repair problems the do-it-yourselfer is lilely to tackle
It also describes the techniques of working with metal pipe and fittings, but it does not discuss the new plastic pipes and fittings. The chapters on installing a new plumbing system and on remodeling an old one are too skimpy to serve as a complete guide for the amateur, but they do contain helpful information about the work involved.
The Encyclopedia of Hardware, by Tom Philbin (Hawthorn Books, $12): This information-packed book describes many hardware items the homeowner or apartment dweller is likely to need for home repair and improvement projects. The 216-page volume is divided into four sections: general hardware, miniature hardware, electrical hardware and plumbing hardware.
The book leaves out severals categories and does not fully cover those it does include. The section in miniature hardware (for dollhouses) has only six pages and seems completely out of place in this book.
Paint It Yourself, by Lois Libien and Margaret Strong (William Morrow and Co., $5.95 paperback): This 217-page book limits itself to indoor painting -- alls, ceilings, trim, floors and furniture. It is not illustrated and has 13 chapters on such subjects as paint selection; colors, brushes and other applicators; painting ceilings, walls, doors and trim; special effects, and problems. Thorough in its descriptions of materials and techniques, it is aimed at apartment dwellers as well as homeowners, and should prove helpful to those who can no longer wait for -- or afford -- the cost of a professional painter.
You Fix It: Small Appliances, by R. Emerson Harris (Arco Publishing Co., $4.95 paperback): This no-nonsense how-to book of 110 pages is basically a repair manual designed for the do-it-yourselfer. It covers repairs to coffee makers, frying pans, griddles, irons, broilers and similar small portable appliances. The book sets each repair job up in a series of steps that start by identifying the symptom, them taking the reader step-by-step through the procedures to be followed in finding the cause and making the necessary repairs. Directions are easy to follow, but there is a great deal of cross-referencing that tends to get a bit confusing in some cases.