Overall, I liked this book. It's right on and serves as a great introduction if you are new to routers. It's well laid out and has great chapters on the different types of routers, what to look for when purchasing. etc. It gives a nice comparison to aid you in determining which of the three basic types of routers is for you (If you haven't bought one yet). The book has super chapters on Basic Operations and the Joinery section is quite good, too. If you are completely new to routers or if you have garnered information piecemeal from reading posts in woodworking forums, this book walks you through the basics very nicely and completes the picture on topics like motor options, adapter sleeves for collets, guide bushings, how much wood to take off for the first cut, how to plunge, etc.
He provides great insight that only an accomplished router user and woodworker can: Variations in bit shank diameters, horizontal versus vertical panel-raising bits, using woodworking double-sided tape instead of carpet tape and safety. I truly like how he routinely brings safety to the forefront and doesn't just have it set off in a chapter by itself where it is presented and then forgotten. He also shows how to make easy safety devices and jigs without much effort.
A couple of caveats about the book so that you won't have any surprises if you decide to pick this up: The author expects you to have some basic knowledge about woodworking. There are sentences such as this one in the first chapter, "The plunge router is the best choice for routing mortises..." He doesn't explain what a mortise is as he expects you to know. So, if you know what mortises, beading, rabbets, bird's-mouth joints, drawer lock joints, finger joints, coreboxes, stiles and rails are, or if you don't mind looking them up as you read, then you won't be put off as you read. I hasten to add that this terminology is pretty much thrown at you in Section 2, when he introduces different types of bits and what they do. For some of these joints, he provides page references to sections further into the book where he explains how to accomplish these joints/items so, you can glance ahead to see what he's writing about. After this chapter 2, the term-slinging disappears and he wholly explains each topic and provides descriptions and diagrams for new terms right then and there. The only term that is not explained anywhere in the book that needs to be is, "climb cut." The extent of this discussion was "Don't do this!" but it is left to the reader to interpret what a climb cut is. A more through presentation of this is a must in any introductory router book. I should hope that in the next edition, a more obvious description and the requisite cautionary notes are discussed.
There is also some contradictory information. For example, Bird mentions a couple of times that bit with a skewed flute will cut more cleanly. He states this on one page and on the same page has a photo of a non-skewed rabbet bit with the caption, "This large rabbet bit can make smooth rabbets..."
The photography was all professionally done and is equal to that of other Taunton publications. There are numerous photos and captions for each topic. Diagrams were nice and clear. I will probably be taken to task on this, but I didn't always understand what I was supposed to be seeing in each photo. Some photos, I thought, were taken from too far away and others were zoomed in too close to understand what the author was trying to convey. I wish the pencil had made an appearance in more photos, pointing out what I was supposed to be seeing. After reading a confusing section, I just went through the photos and captions again, which aided in digesting it.
So, this review may seem a tad harsh but I did enjoy the book. I definitely got a lot out of it and I truly enjoyed how Bird really explained things well and made all the jumbled pieces I had floating around in my head fit together and solidified my knowledge base. It's a very good read and an excellent intro book. Even if you know a bit about routers, I bet you can breeze through this and glean a little of Lonnie's knowledge. I'm glad to have it on my shelf.