Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 12/2/98

A Book Review: by Bill Britton

Title: Instant Scroll Saw Projects
Patrick Spielman
Published by Sterling Publishing Company, Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN: 0806986417 Softcover $16.95 (Can. $23.95)

I'm a Spielman fan and own and use at least a dozen scroll saw and router books authored or co-authored by Patrick Spielman. This book is not different from what I've come to expect from the Spielman organization in that it is well written and presented. The photography is also excellent which for this particular book is a critical component part of the included projects.

The first section of the book is the "how to" section and is devoted to general information on scroll saws, blades, wood, etc. This section is well written, informative, and directed toward the less experienced scroller. It also contains specific information on the techniques to be used in creating "Instant Scroll Saw Projects."

About the only reason one would buy a scroll saw pattern book is to obtain the patterns and projects. In this case you get more than the usual pattern. These patterns come in full color with the concept that you will make a color copy, adhere it permanently to the wood, cut it out with the saw, and presto - you're done. Although you may want to paint the edges a bit and add a clear coat of finish, all the painting has been done for you. The projects are very easy to cut and contain few frets. As with most Spielman pattern books, however, even the most experienced scroller will find something interesting and challenging.

I leafed through the book looking for a project that I would like to do, if for no other purpose than to be able to write about it. I passed on the Baseball Bears, Ballerina Bunnies, Santas, Xmas trees, etc. It was not that they weren't cute as could be, 'cause they were. Ideal for babies and small children, I was looking for something more sophisticated. Finally, on page 75, I found my project. Five little fat ladies in bathing suits to be cut into refrigerator magnets.

After work that evening I dropped by Hobby Lobby for a dozen magnets and by Kinko's for a couple of color copies. After chopping up 3"x4" blanks of baltic birch plywood I adhered the color patterns. I elected not to use the decoupage method as being a bit messy and chose to use spray fabric glue instead. Being kind of slow, it took me a bit over an hour to cut the ten little ladies. I then lined them up and sprayed a coat of lacquer to seal and protect and finished up by attaching the magnet with a dab of hot glue. All told, about two hours work produced ten delightful little items of refrigerator art.

Next morning I innocently presented my little treasures at the office and was shocked to hear cries of "where are the little fat men in bathing suits" and other mutterings of sexual harassment and hostile work environments. Obviously, Spielman has not been exposed to the level of political correctness that some of us are subjected to. 'Twas only by means of my silver tongue and quick wit did I escape disaster.

Actually it was all in good fun and one person wanted to place an order. Too bad. Spielman designs are copyrighted and cannot be used for any commercial purpose so naturally I declined her offer of money. Instead, I swapped three magnets for a pecan pie. Since I personally ate the whole pie, I figured this constituted personal use rather than commercial.

In summary, I would say that the book is up to the usual high quality of the Spielman books. Although targeted toward the beginner who wants instant success, experienced scrollers will undoubtedly also find something of interest.

Respectfully submitted
Bill Britton

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

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