Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 2/11/02

A Book Review by Chuck Knarr

Title: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Shaping Wood

Lonnie Bird

Published by: Taunton Press

P.O. Box 5506
Newtown, CT 06470-5506
ISBN 1-56158-400-2
Price Hardcover: $39.95 (Canada $64.50)
400 color pages

Almost every one of the 294 pages of this book have 2 to 6 photos or illustrations showing what the author is talking about. It is not a book that you will want to leave in your library; you will want this in your shop for handy reference. It is a how-to book.

The book has sixteen sections:

  • 1 Tools
  • 2 Materials
  • 3 Straight-Edged Shapes
  • 4 Curved Shapes
  • 5 Complex Shapes
  • 6 Template Shaping,
  • 7 Edge Treatments
  • 8 Beads
  • 9 Simple Moldings
  • 10 Complex and Built-Up Moldings,
  • 11 Curved Moldings
  • 12 Coves
  • 13 Flutes and Reeds
  • 14 Turning
  • 15 Carving
  • 16 Bending

When the author talks about techniques for achieving certain shapes in wood, he often does not limit himself to just one method nor does he limit himself to just power tools. He often includes methods for achieving the shape using hand tools.

An example of this is in the section on Beads. He discusses "Uses for the versatile bead", making a scratch stock, Quirk Bead with a wooden plane, quirk bead on the router table, beaded backboard with a No. 45 plane, beaded backboard on the router table, applied cock bead for a drawer front,and an integral cock bead for a drawer front with a scratch stock.

A book of this nature is only as good as the instructions. In order to see how well and complete the author is with his instructions and the accompanying photos, I went to the shop to try a technique I had never performed before. I decided to make an "Eight-Sided Taper with Hand Tools. After making a simple jig the author describes to mark the work piece I followed the 4 steps and "by golly", I created an octagonal tapered leg for a table. It was easy.

If you are interested in discovering different techniques for creating shapes for your work or if you are interested in discovering different shapes to use with your work, this is the book for you. It is concise, well laid out and very well illustrated. I know it is staying out in my shop.

Chuck Knarr

Editor's Note: The Taunton Press 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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