As the name suggests, "The Painters Handbook: Revised and Expanded" by Mark David Gottsegen is a reference for painting. I think it's excellent. I've had for years. I mainly use it for information relating to oil painting and studio/materials safety but it also covers other paints and other useful information.
It is broken into three parts and is quite thorough. He digs into the nooks and crannies of practically every technical part of the painting process. Part one talks about the basics: tools and equipment; supports; sizes and grounds; binders; solvents and thinners; varnishes, balsams, driers, preservatives, and retarders; pigments. Part two covers paint making and painting methods: making your own paints; oil paints; water-thinned paints; temperas; encaustic; pastel; synthetic binders; mural paints and techniques. Part three covers picture protection (matting, storage) and restoration.
Mr. Gottsegen covered a lot of the technical aspects of painting. Whenever I have a question, I can nearly always find the answer in this book. I find it very easy to find the information I need (and not just because of all the page markers I've added, it's very well designed) and his step by step directions for some of the procedures are very helpful. Plus he included little diagrams where necessary for some of the procedures.
You can most likely buy it from your favorite local art supply store, or online. Happy reading!
"The Painter's Handbook: Revised and Expanded"
By Mark David Gottsegen
Published by Watson-Guptill Publications, 2006