Storey’s Curious Compendium of Practical and Obscure Skills

Storey’s Curious Compendium of Practical and Obscure Skills from the How-To Experts at Storey Publishing


From the deeply practical – Use Weeds to Treat Bites and Rashes (page 82) – to farm life – Make Farmhouse Cheddar (page 58) – this enormous coffee table book offers the plethora of skills beyond what’s promised. Its heavyweight 9.5″x12″ size scares the competition while the beautiful design, concise writing + simple directions empower readers to try anything inside these 344 pages. You can Weave a Paper Basket (page 42) for your homegrown lemons – Grow a Lemon Tree Indoors (page 190) – to set on your Build a Clamp Table (page 234) + enjoy a perfect living room tablescape by this time next month. Look at us, learning to do things!

I was enthralled from the first page + settled this book onto the kitchen island for browsing all week as I waited for various people to get ready/spaghetti to boil/dogs to go out, etc. Because it was so accessible, we all peeked through it. Every person in my family – even the two of us under 13 – found several things to try. My 12yo wants to butcher an animal himself, and spent half an hour on learning to Identify Beef Cuts (page 244). The 10yo is deep into felines + has already tried out the Teach Your Cat to Jump Through a Hoop advice (page 266) with varied success, largely dependent upon which cat she works with.

This compendium includes things anyone’s great-grandparents would’ve thought common knowledge that is now gone from our shared lexicon + skillset. For example, my grandmother taught me to Make a Lattice-Top Pie (page 206), but none of my friends know how. They buy theirs at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. Maybe not everyone needs to know how to Build a Drystone Wall (page 310), but that’s exactly what my partner’s trying to do, now with a pictorial guide.

I enjoyed finding so many skills, well abbreviated for space, in one place, + the more I look through it, the more I find to try. Proving that this book serves as a hub is the metric conversion chart, just past the Skills by Topic reference pages, that’ll keep me coming back because it’s faster than typing measurements into Google.

What we flagged

Dozens of these skills perfectly align with our sustainable, practical, DIY mindset, so many that we had to stop flagging pages. They were alllllll down, folks. It was pointless! First in line for me is trying to Grow Mushrooms on Logs (page 230), but I’m pretty sure learning to Pollinate by Hand (page 290) will be more practical in our dry, Colorado climate. Plus sometimes my squash plants just don’t get pollinated + it sucks. I’m also gathering materials to Build a Movable Compost Bin (page 123) before gardening season is fully upon me. The perfectly sensible, simple plan looks easy to follow + cost-effective, just what I need.

Who is this book written for?

A curious DIYer who prefers a sturdy, reliable reference + having all the answers – plus myriad new ideas! – at their fingertips.

Storey’s Curious Compendium of Practical and Obscure Skills
from the How-To Experts at Storey Publishing
$29.99 :: Storey Publishing :: 344 pages :: Hardcover

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