Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 1/15/00

A book review: By Jay Towles

The best from WOODTURNING magazine

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 1861081073
Price Softcover: $14.95 (Canada $21.95 )
120 color pages

The title to this soft cover book is an understatement. It could just as easily have been named "Works of Art from the Masters of Woodturning". It may not be advisable for neophytes to the pleasures of woodturning to view this book unless they are truly challenge oriented. I have been turning for a few years now and I don't think that I will ever be able to produce many of the works represented in this book.

Each article in the book is labeled either a project, feature, techniques, or technical. Many of the articles have "how to" instructions and photographs. It would take a book to write a detailed report on each article as there is so much diversified information. Therefore, I am going to generalize as best I can, trying not to take anything away from the excellence of the book itself. The articles include:

Turning bowls from plywood. Yes, plywood, and the bowls look good, too. Top grade plywood without voids must be used.

Reproducing bowls found on the wreck of Henry VIII's ill-fated warship the "Mary Rose". The turner not only reproduced the bowls from the same species wood as the originals, he turned them on a pole-lathe, using turning tools he forged himself. The article includes some information on the "Mary Rose" while she was afloat, and gives some data on the preservation process on the recovered wreck and artifacts.

There are several articles which deal with bowl design, form, shape, texturing and coloring.

Two sections are devoted to wane-edged bowls from green wood. The turner takes the reader through the entire process of making a natural edged bowl.

There are full instructions on making large vases, bowls with handles, discus-shaped vases, large platters, off center and multi center bowls.

Have you ever used a router on a bowl? A section is devoted to making bowls with raised figures using a router to remove the excess wood, then finishing off with carving tools and techniques.

How long does it take you to complete a bowl? An article in the book refers to a turner that sometimes spend over 200 hours making an egg shaped, turned and carved segmented bowl.

There is a section on turning bowls with carved flowers, cut outs, and contrasting color inserts.

Not impressed yet? How about turning a bowl from a blank that weighed over 700 pounds? The finished product is 34 inches tall, 22 inches in diameter, and weighed in at 130 pounds.

I have not done this book justice. The photography is superb, the articles are well written and extremely interesting if you are at all attracted to woodturning. The level of craftsmanship, expertise and dedication to the art of woodturning as illustrated by the represented woodturners is outstanding. I recommend this book, priced at $14.95 U.S., to all woodturners, to anyone interested in woodworking or craftsmanship, and to anyone interested in art.

Jay Towles

Editor's Note: Sterling Publishing has graciously donated several books for review which are passed on to our members free of charge in exchange for thoughtful, honest reviews. Thank You!

Back to the Gazette

Contact Us | Homepage
We encourage all our visitors to send us
their thoughts, suggestions and complaints.