Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 9/19/99

A book review: By Eric Smith

Title: The Fine Art Of Small-Scale Woodturning
William R. Duce
Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 0806993340
Price Softcover: $19.95 (Canada $29.95 )
144 color pages

This is an inspirational book. A pretty bold statement to start a review but one that is justified by its subject. William Duce is an accomplished writer and manages to convey both practical knowledge and passion about his and others work.

Duce takes us through what is craft and what is art and what is neither. Throughout the book a level tone of insight balanced by fact and humour kept me extremely interested. The discussion of using exotic timbers is great, not to mention the chapter on safety, and most importantly the continued emphasis on the idea if you are not enjoying it - stop. Turning should be fun

If the text was not enough, the pictures in this book make it even better. Not being a small scale turner myself, I found the detail amazing (if not daunting). I showed this book to one of the best turners I know, Peter Williams, and he could not say enough good things about it. In fact I think he has started saving for a miniature lathe! He has been teaching turning classes for some years, and he was especially impressed with the ten golden rules of woodturning on page 71.

  • 1. Turning should always be fun.
  • 2. Turning is a personal exploration, so satisfy your inner muse first.
  • 3. A successful turning is an equal balance between technique and design.
  • 4. The success of your project is dependent upon a positive attitude, not expensive tools or secret tricks.
  • 5 There is no shame in making a ·mistake; just try not to make the same one twice.
  • 6. Never stop looking for inspiration, especially outside the world of turning.
  • 7. A finished turning will always look better than one only half turned. By finishing what
  • you start you just may surprise yourself.
  • 8. The proper way to use any tool is whichever way works best for you.
  • 9. Never be discouraged by people saying, "That's pretty, what is it?"
  • 10. Design gimmicks and fads have the approximate life span of free burl at a turner's convention. Avoid them at all costs.

Those rules sum up the book, I enjoyed it immensely and thank Sterling and the WWA for the chance of reviewing it.

Eric Smith

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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