Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 7/2/00

A book review: By Aaron Gesicki

Title: Scroll Saw Segmentation

Patrick Spielman

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 0806919078
Price Softcover: $17.95 (Canada $25.95 )
128 color pages

Details: The book is divided into two sections. The first, introduction, is 28 pages long with a chapter on equipment which is essentially scroll saws and blades, a chapter on workpiece material, which is usually wood, and a chapter on techniques (cutting, shaping, finishing). The last section, 100 pages long, is eleven projects from the striped fish shown on the cover to a lovely rendition of a just-opening rosebud on a stem.

Review: This book is not about Intarsia but rather Segmentation. Intarsia is what Judy Gale Roberts does. This book, illustrating segmentation, is a simpler technique towards a "sculptured" look. Intarsia is often called 3-D Marquetry, and Segmentation can be called Painted Intarsia. Rather than using wood's natural colors and textures, segmentation projects are usually made from one board or a single piece of inexpensive material.

The process involves cutting out patterns of objects, like the striped fish, into primary elements or segments. These separate pieces then have the edges rounded over and the surfaces occasionally contoured. Then a pigmented color is applied to the individual segments. Finally, the segments are reassembled with glue to re-create the whole.

Many finishing or painting options can be used. Segmentation is easy, fast, and inexpensive. Projects use simple materials that are colored to suit the whim of the maker. Intarsia is art. Segmentation is craft, and more specifically "country craft".

This book gives a quick primer of how to do it and then some examples of the simple through the more elaborate. My interests are not in country craft so my bias about this book is mostly negative, although the Umbrella People are cute. Nevertheless, at the end the rose project mentioned above is presented to give inspiration to all of us. I would not have bought this book. But if weekend craft shows are your thing, this book will give you some good ideas. In addition, it can get you started towards intarsia, and some loftier creative goals.

Aaron Gesicki

Footnote: One thing I didn't mention in the review is that I've known Pat Spielman personally for quite some time. He's in Wisconsin, so am I. He's a member of the North East Wisconsin Woodworkers Guild, based in Green Bay, and so am I. When he sees this review he'll probably chide me a bit, but we've had differences of opinion before. He knows that I've left Country Craft behind quite some time ago. My scroll saw doesn't get nearly as much work as it once did. I will admit that I have almost all of his Scrollsaw books and some others. I probably paid for that nice sign he has in front of his store in Fish Creek (in Door County, WI - the most touristy part of the state).

Besides being a good businessman, Pat Spielman is reallly a nice guy. When he comes to our annual fundraiser in Green Bay, he is casual and complimentary. If he sees something well done or interesting, like my scrollsaw up on it's legs, he'll inquire in a very friendly way. His manner is always cordial. It is easy to see why his coauthors relate to him so well.

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!

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