Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 2/18/01

A Book Review by Aaron A. Gesicki

Title: Scroll Saw Art

Patrick Spielman & Kerry Shirts

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 0806928972
Price Softcover: $17.95 (Canada $25.95 )
128 color pages

The book is soft cover, 128 pages. There is a page of authors biographies, two pages of contents, three pages of introduction, 6 chapters, a useless one page metric equivalency chart, and an equally useless two-page index. It's a minor complaint, but the publisher could have saved three sheets of paper and all the printing costs that go with it by eliminating the last two items and two pages of redundant pictures.

Project Chapters
Chapter 1 - Tools & Materials - contains eight pages of the most basic information. It is unlikely that a novice would jump into the projects in this book, consequently most if not all of this chapter is of very little value.

Chapter 2 - Basic Techniques - is 11 pages of treasure, where the secret to how this art-form is really accomplished is discussed. Very informative.

Chapters 3, 4, and 5 - Projects, for Beginners, Intermediates, and Experts, respectively. Each project has a picture of the completed project and a complete, reproducible, cutting and coloring diagram. Virtually every project was of interest to me, with the designs being well balanced and attractive.

Chapter 6 - Gallery & Inspirational Pieces. These are all pictures from completed, finished projects. Some beautiful pieces are displayed here. In total, there are 32 projects, most of them being animals. There are more than a few I would like to make.

This book is not about Intarsia, which is what Judy Gale Roberts does. This book shows you how to do the next best thing, or maybe even the equivalent. We are shown how to take simple and cheap soft maple, cut it, then stain with a just of handful of commonly available oil-based stains, and have an artistic look.
Rather than using wood's natural colors and textures, as intarsia does, we get those effects from using earth tone stains. The effects are quite striking, as illustrated by the Zebra, on the books cover and one of the Beginner Projects.

Intarsia is art. So is this. Instead of searching for colored wood, you find that color in a can, just like those who put color on canvas. This book should be an inspiration to all of us with a scroll saw. It makes the possibility of creating an artistic piece just a board foot and a few hours away.

Aaron A. Gesicki

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! And you can usually find their titles at a discount from Barnes And Noble

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