A Collection of Woodwork Classics
Two ancient civilizations that used woodworking were the Egyptians and the Chinese.
Woodworking is depicted in many ancient Egyptian drawings, and some ancient Egyptian furniture (such as chairs) has been preserved in tombs.
The metal used by the Egyptians for woodworking tools was probably bronze or even copper, as ironworking was unknown until much later.
The progenitors of Chinese woodworking are considered to be Lu Ban (魯班) and his wife Lady Yun, from the Spring and Autumn Period.
Lu Ban is said to have brought the plane, chalkline, and other tools to China.
His teachings are supposedly left behind in the book Lu Ban Jing
(魯班經, "Manuscript of Lu Ban"), although it was written some 1500 years
after his death.
This book is filled largely with descriptions of dimensions for use in building various items—such as flower pots, tables, altars, etc.—and also contains extensive instructions concerning Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese practice of geomancy. It mentions almost nothing of the intricate glueless and nailless joinery for which Chinese furniture was so famous.