Machine Shop Essentials by Frank Marlow, PE
This is one of the best and most useful books in my library of machine shop and metalworking books. It clearly and concisely describes almost every machine shop tool and procedure, except for computer-controlled tools (CNC). As a novice machinist, I used it constantly because I kept coming across words, tools, and procedures that I had never heard of. This was the first book about machining I bought and I highly recommend it to any beginner or intermediate machinist. A more experienced machinist may not find it as useful since they will probably already know much of what the book teaches.
This book doesn’t just provide descriptions, it includes step-by-step instructions and useful tips for using many tools and performing many procedures. You can see for yourself by reading these excerpts from the book:
Cutting 60 degree Threads (PDF)
Sharpening Steel Lathe Toolbits
Bridgeport-style Milling Machine Advantages (PDF)
Machine Shop Essentials is presented in a question and answer format. It is very well organized and abundantly illustrated. It is also a fairly large (11×7 inches) book with more than 500 pages.
It is available from many sellers for $44.95 (Dec. 2007). It is not an inexpensive book, but good books about metalworking tend to be in the $40-$60 range. In this case, I think it is a fair price. If you buy it directly from the publisher they will ship it to you via USPS Priority mail for $4.60. That’s what I did and it showed up in my mailbox two days later.
If you’re still not sure about the usefulness this book then I suggest you visit Amazon.com, where you can read more excerpts from the book and many customer reviews about it.