Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 5/12/04

A Book Review by Don Slaughter

Title: Creative Scroll Saw Segmentation

Patrick Spielman & Frank Droege

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.

387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 1-40270-0333-3
Price Softcover: $17.95 (Canada $27.95 )
128 pages

The word Segmentation would have caused me to leave this book on the shelf while browsing my favorite aisle of the bookstore. I am very glad that I was asked to read it for it resolves many issues that have been seeking resolution since I gave in to my passion, about seven months ago, and started building my woodshop. I've thought about buying a scroll saw but was unsure that it would be a useful part of my shop. This book convinced me that it would be a very good addition to 'my' shop. Patrick Spielman's finesse in using Frank Droege's creations to amplify his presentation of the functionality of the scroll saw is a stroke (or two) of genius.

Mr Spielman won my respect as an exceptional author with The New Router Handbook which was the first 'how to' book I bought when starting to build my shop. This book on scroll sawing raised the level of esteem I hold him in by several notches. Writing a book takes a significant level of talent and skill, but to organize and present concepts to effectively illuminate a craft in a way that invites the reader to try it takes more than a bit of genius. I really appreciate the way Spielman takes care of business. The first paragraph (short & concise) pays tribute to Mr Droege's creativity very effectively. The second paragraph introduces a remarkable way to use all the 40 included projects using a photocopier to reproduce the patterns to actual size and the third belays any apprehensions the reader might bring about taking full advantage of the this book and of learning the basics of scroll sawing. The fourth paragraph qualifies the word segmentation by informing the reader that it is a term used by scrollsawers to describe the kind of projects in this book.

With the 'business' taken care of, the reader is swept into the typically Spielman rhythm of learning something with every paragraph. One noticeable difference in this book as compared to the router book is that this one has an effective illustration of every idea presented. I have rarely seen such effective illustration. The layout of the book deserves acknowledgement in that the space on each page is used so effectively to convey information. There is no stumbling over an idea to get to another. Information is presented, then illustrated and then punctuated if needed, then on to the next idea/activity or concept with no loose threads hanging.

I've taken college courses that took 16 weeks to teach less subject matter than Spielman taught me in the hour it took to read this book. Subsequent to describing the tools (most & least elaborate), the materials (essentials & non-essentials) and the techniques (simple & challenging) he presents flat work 'how to's' and projects that are progressively challenging. Relief work is then presented, again, in progressively more skill challenging projects and, finally, standing work is addressed. The standing work section is presented with much more emphasis on techniques and activity descriptions, which serves to keep the reader from becoming intimidated, and/or disinterested.

This book is certainly worth the $18 even if one doesn't decide to do scroll sawing. Did you ever glance at a board, then look back because something in the grain caught your eye then as you looked more closely you decided you had to own that board? Then you start seeing, in your mind's eye, what the board might be. I can already see my grandson & granddaughter having fun with me with a scroll saw in my shop.

Don Slaughter

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! And you can usually find their titles at a discount from Barnes And Noble

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