Gazette Archive 3/8/04
A Book Review by Jess Webb
Title: Chris Child's Projects For
This book is a collection of 24 "how to" articles originally published in Woodturning magazine in England. Someone once said the U.S. and England were two countries separated by a common language, and there are some minor elements in this book proving the statement. "Timber" in the U.S. is a place to hide whiskey stills and hunt deer, but Mr. Childs turns "timber" in his shop while we turn "wood". The book is also littered with "mm", a measurement system rejected in the U.S. since colonial days despite periodic attempts to make it the standard. Fortunately for us, the author has kindly included both imperial and metric measurements in his drawings and text.
Mr Childs is a noted woodturner in England, and frequent contributor to periodicals in England and the U.S. He has taught woodturning in his studio workshop to hundreds of people of all ages since 1984.
The book itself is paperbacked and magazine sized with an attractive cover. The inside pages are printed on heavy stock that should withstand the abuse of shop use. One of the stated aims of the author was to produce a book that would lead a beginning woodturner step by step through a complete project with the book propped at the back of the lathe for reference. He has chosen projects that cover most of the basic methods and practices of woodturning. Each project is illustrated with excellent color photographs, and the instructions are detailed and easy to read. Tips on tools and their use are embedded in the many of the project descriptions. A comprehensive index is included at the back of the book.
The book opens with a short warning on shop safety, a comment about measurements, and a one page statement by the author of his aims for the book. It then jumps immediately into a mortar and pestle project. Each project features detailed instructions and photos for illustration, including a listing and photo of the tools and materials required to complete the project. The projects are of varying complexity from simple bowls and boxes to candlesticks, lamps, hand mirrors, spice racks, and more. Most can be completed in one day according to the author. He points out areas of potential difficulty and solutions, and concludes each project with finishing suggestions.
I found the book attractive
in appearance and layout, and easy to read and understand. The
color illustrations are excellent and generous in number. The
author's teaching experience shows in the examples and descriptions
of each project. The book is aimed at the beginner level. A
more experienced turner might find some benefit in tool use and
project suggestions, but most of the information would not be
new to him. The finishing suggestions for each piece are pretty
basic and not detailed. The emphasis is on construction and
turning, not finishing. For an experienced turner, the book
would simply be another compilation of projects and perhaps a
little pricey at $16.95. For the beginner, it is good basic
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