LaymarCrafts Woodturning Books

The Art of the Lathe is the first of my reviews for a Book that is as much about Technique and Method as about Design and Shape, with a very unique balance.

We start with 7 Chapters covering 55 pages of "Woodturning" followed by 2 Chapters covering 102 pages of "Artists" Projects and Gallery's.

Nearly every Book that is to do with Woodturning has it's own input in respect of Lathes, Tools, Sanding and Finishing and as such many repeat themselves and it is rare to find anything new, this Book is the exception.

The content of each of the 7 Woodturning Chapters is kept to the minimum but contains many useful Hints & Tips and also includes instructions for making a number of Specilised Woodturning Aids, such as a Steady, Spigot Chuck, Screw Chuck, and a Dividing Head to mention a few.

There is a very good Chapter on Finishing with many interesting ideas explained and detailed, the final Chapter is on Safety and at only 2 pages does not get to heavy, although I'm not sure the real Safety Conscious person would approve of the Chainsaw User, on page 38/39, with a distinct lack of Safety Wear.

The Chapter dedicated to Artist's Projects is again, as far as I'm aware, a  unique concept whereby 2 or 3 sometimes more pages are given over to each of the 11 different Turners, including the Author, here we have various projects to make clearly photographed and with good quality and well dimensioned drawings. Each of the Artists is introduced to the Reader and many are well known to you all.

All are good but if asked to choose then  Mark Morrison's Ornaments are novel, then there is the Tree Topper and Bird House from Robert Rosand and Betty Scarpino describes how to Turn and Bleach a Walnut Platter. Again there is something for everyone here.

The final Chapter, it's worth mentioning here that this chapter and the one above represents over 70% of the whole Book, is reserved for the "Artist's Design Concepts & Gallery" in fact 29 Artist's or Woodturners are here, and many of them are very familiar and there work is instantly recognisable, Melvyn Firmager, John Jordan, Bonnie Klein, Rude Osolink to drop just a few names.

The work of the above Woodturners is well known and as already stated instantly recognisable, so I will just mention a few of the others that impressed me, Gene Doren with some nice "Fluted" Bowls and Vessels, Giles Gilson but only if you like your Wood artificially Coloured or C.R. Skip Johnson for various "Kazoo's".

If you like the Picture on the Cover (above) then the Turner is Bud Latven, who has two further examples in the Gallery, then there is also Hugh McKay with his Multiple Axis Turning, but all 29 Turners really deserve a mention as all has a different reason for being there.

Great Book, one for your collection.

The Art of the Lathe by Patrick Spielman
Published by Sterling / Chapelle Books
   ISBN 0 8069 4272 X


Woodturning - A Source Book of Shapes is one of those Books that promises perhaps a bit more than it actually delivers, this is not to say that it is not a useful reference, just that the "Shapes" are often repeated and all of these are not exactly new, I feel I've seen many of them before, by others, in various Books and Magazines.

A number of Pictures are also repeated and this seems to suggest a certain amount of padding has been necessary to fill the volume, for example page 55 shows a collection of "Bottles" which are then shown individually again on pages 49, 54, 57 & 60, with even contradiction of sizes, this scenario occurs on numerous occasions through out the Book.

Apart from a brief Introduction and a Page titled "Technical Information" this is a Book of Pictures with an information Box for each picture, listing Wood Type and the Items Size. Photo's, as mentioned in previous reviews, give no real perspective of the actual Size,  on page 11 for instance the picture is of a Bowl 432mm x 200mm and the picture on page 114 is of a Natural Edge Bowl 178mm x 127mm yet side by side you could not tell which is the larger, another prime example are the pictures on page 30 and 31.

The Works shown are Categorised into 9 Sections, from Bottles to Vases and some contain quite a diverse range of shapes whereas others are just variations on a theme, in particular were the "Plaques", which over 5 pages showed variations on two basic design concepts.

I believe in general that the Photography of Woodturning needs to be more adventurous, conveying the Size of the object, in all the Pictures in this Book we have the same approach with the same color background and lighting angle (Flat, Grey and from the Right) this does become somewhat monotonous after a time.  

As an example of what is meant here take a look at page 8 of Expressions in Wood this has a picture of Ron Wornick and his Wife seated amongst some of there collection, then look at the individual pieces and visualise the relative size.

With over 130 pages of Pictures there is something here for everyone, but do not expect 130 different Shapes, Designs or Concepts, as already mentioned, many shapes are repeated or with the very slightest of variation, but it should at least get you thinking about shape and form. 

Having perhaps been less than complementary about the content of this Book it is probably the best Book of it's type that is currently available and therefore worth purchasing, particularly as at present I have seen some good pricing deals for this publication.

Woodturning - A Source Book of Shapes by John Hunnex
A Guild of Master Craftsman Publication
  ISBN 0 946819 45 9

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