LaymarCrafts Woodturning Books


Colouring Techniques for Woodturners by Jan Saunders is not for everyone, but then this should not stop you from reading it, even if it is only to strengthen your objections to the Debate on Colouring, or even perhaps become a convert to the Technique.

It is obvious from the many discussions that have taken place in private and in public that the Colouring of Wood is not everybody's idea of what should be done, for my part I have an open mind and find some Colouring to be quite pleasing yet there are some attempts at Colouring that are too Strong or Bold and definitely spoil what started out as a perfectly acceptable Bowl or Vase.

The Blue and Yellow Plate on the Front Cover is perhaps a prime example in my opinion of poor use / balance of Colour but I accept that others may view it more favorably.

The Books main contents should be  well known to anyone that Purchases any of the various Woodworking and Woodturning Magazines in the UK as most of it has been "Serialised" on numerous occasions and therefore the Purchase of this Book may not be a necessity if you are only interested in the Basics of Dyeing and Colouring.

The Book has the normal series of introductory chapters for Materials and Equipment, Health and Safety, Timber etc. but thankfully nothing on basic Turning Techniques as Jan says at one point a Book on Colouring is not an appropriate place to discuss such matters.

The Materials and Equipment section covers the types of Dyes and Colouring Mediums, Brushes, Cloths and Finishes that are used, although comprehensive it lacks a List of Proprietary Brands, she talks about Spirit Dyes, Water Based Dyes, Natural Dyes and Un-Natural Dyes in fact all types of Dye, but nowhere do we get Names and Manufacturers Listed which would have been a great help.

The Colouring Sections cover what I see as the two main areas of Colouring, (1) the Coat it all over approach and (2) the Selective Dyeing and Decorating method which requires a certain amount of Artistic vision and ability, and this may not be a skill we all have.

The straight Dyeing of Wood is fairly straight forward and is explained in depth within the Book and it is this form of colourisation I find the most pleasing, whereas the graduating effect achieved by using different Coloured dyes is less appealing, although I have seen work by other Turners where they have achieved a far better effect in my opinion. 

The sections covering the more artistic side of Colouring again well explained, but unless you are a competent Artist I would practice on some scraps of wood before you tackle anything you have Turned.

Following on from the various articles on Dyeing is a chapter on "Centrifuging" and the description given is words to the effect of Throwing Outwards anything Applied to the Spinning Object, you have been warned, I have a vision of at the worst Multi Coloured Woodturners walking the Streets or at the best the new Decor to the walls, ceiling and floor of the workshop, this is an interesting technique and having tried it the results after some practice can be, well pleasing is a word you can use.

The final two chapters on the use of Dye as the prime method of Colouring describe Air Brushing methods and techniques followed by Stenciling both of which require differing skills and a more artistic know-how.

The final chapters of this book are worthy of note as they will appeal to those that do not necessarily subscribe to the use of Dyes and Colouring but will use the more traditional methods of Embellishment such as Liming, Bleaching, Patination and Ebonising all of which have been used for many years and seem to come in and out of fashion at regular intervals.

The techniques involved are all well covered and anyone who has never tried any of these methods will find most of what they require to know here, although not all may a Blue Coloured item with the contrast of the Liming to there taste.

The final chapter covers Gilding a technique I had always wanted to try but the use of Gold always meant Expensive Materials in my eyes, but here is where you will find out that the cost can be kept to very reasonable levels and the results very attractive with no real limitations as to what can and what cannot be Gilded.

As far as this Subject goes this Book by someone who has been at the forefront of the Art is worth investing in and as I said previously even if you are against it you should not really argue your position until you also have read it, or at least the numerous Magazine Articles it has spawned.

Colouring Techniques for Woodturners by Jan Saunders
Published by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd.
   ISBN 1-86108-009-3

Gilding by Jan LaFerla  wetted my appetite for this technique and although this is not a Woodturning Book the first series of Pictures you see in the Book are all of Wood Turned items with various amounts of Gilding, in just some of the many types of Gilding Metals available, as you soon discover Gilding does not necessarily have to be Gold.

The Book covers the History of Gilding, the Basics which details the various types of Gilding, the Metals that are available, Materials and Tools required before moving onto the 7 stages of Gilding which are clearly detailed and illustrated.

Once this is understood you are shown the techniques as applied to practical items such as Picture and Mirror Frames, Paper Items such as Books, Book Marks and Gift Cards all though not necessarily of interest to a Turner I have found that these exercises can be an enjoyable venture away from Turning.

The exercises move onto Boxes both Turned and those from Cabinet Makers, with this "easy" section finishing off with what Jane calls "Wearable's", Hats and Jewelry in the main.

The Book then proceeds to cover the more complex form of Gilding and shows you how to use the various Metals for Lamps and Lampshades, Mementos here the item is a Gilded Pair of Football Boots (Soccer), then we move onto a Golden Burl, a Gilded Bowl and decorative Gourd, Candlesticks with a large section on Furniture of all types.

Finally for those of you who want to do something a different next time the In-Laws come to Supper how about a Gilded Roast Chicken, or if you can afford it why not a Turkey followed by Coffee and Gilded Chocolates, but be careful for this you need to use 23carat Edible Gold Leaf and you do away with the gesso as well.

I certainly found that this Book gave me a very good insight into the method and technique with a very good cross section of ideas to make the investment in all the Materials required for the process well worthwhile.

Gilding is fun and can be very pleasing, and you will not go wrong with this Book.

Gilding by Jane LaFerla
Published by Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
   ISBN 0-8069-9554-8

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