The First Metalworking Book You Should Buy:
At the time of this post the Machinery’s Handbook is in its 28th edition, but you don’t need to own the most current edition, especially if you’re just starting out. Find a good used copy for your toolbox, and don’t pay too much for it. I found my 17th edition on eBay for $8 (including shipping!) and it has everything I need. Anything from the 14th edition forward should be as up-to-date as you need.
Lathework For Beginners:
The Machinist’s Bedside Reader:
If you happen to have the good fortune to know an actual machinist, spending time learning from their years of experience is by far the most efficient and rewarding way to learn about this hobby. If not … than the next best thing would definitely be Guy Lautard’s metalworking books, The Machinist’s Bedside Reader 1, 2 and 3. These books are full of tips, tricks, projects, and humorous stories from machinists around the world. Of all the books I own on machining (over 20 now, and still growing) Guy’s books are definitely the most entertaining. And I’ve learned several useful things from each book. Excellent bedside reading … as their titles imply! Below are the 3 books by Guy with links to Amazon. However, visit Guy’s site (lautard.com) to purchase the books instead. You’ll most likely get them cheaper – especially if you happen to live in Canada (where Guy’s from).
The Gingery Series:
David Gingery wrote (among others) an amazing series of 7 metalworking books that detail the process of building your own metalworking shop from scratch (and from scrap materials). I’m not motivated enough to build my own lathe (or mill, or shaper for that matter) but I still thoroughly enjoyed the entire series and I learned a lot of useful tips and tricks along the way. Highly Recommended!
The Workshop Practice Series:
Most of the books in this series are related to metalworking, and all of them that I’ve read (I own 16 of the titles) are great. When I first discovered this series I had a lot of trouble tracking down a complete list of titles so I’ve included them all here for your convenience.