Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 6/16/01

A Book Review by David S. Beach

Title: Wood Bender's Handbook

Zachary Taylor

Published by: Sterling Publishing Co. Inc.
387 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10016-8810
ISBN 0806997028
Price Softcover: $17.95 (Canada $25.95 )
144 color pages

I really enjoyed reading The Wood Bender's Handbook. This is a well written book with good organization and loads of high quality color photos and drawings. Mr. Taylor covers a wide range of wood bending topics in a style which makes it easy for beginners to follow and quickly build their technical skills. I found that even though I had done some bending projects in the past, I was learning a great deal about alternative techniques I will be able to utilize on future projects. This book was intended to explore a wide range of bending techniques which should allow the reader to approach any wood bending task with much more confidence and skill.

Wood Bender's Handbook is divided into two sections. The first section, Wood-Bending Principals and Techniques, begins with an introduction to bending and a study of various woods and bending techniques. The importance of moisture content and wood selection is discussed early on, since these factors will greatly effect the success of a bending project. The book then delves into various cold bending methods including laminations and kerf bending. Mr. Taylor discusses the selection of material, how to calculate the thickness of the various lamination layers, which glues work best, and how to build forms and jigs.

The next chapter is dedicated to a discussion of various hot bending techniques including: Steaming, Hot Air, and Hot Pipe Bending. Mr. Taylor goes into great detail to explain numerous methods which can be used to hot bend pieces of wood - thus providing the reader with a wide array of options to complete any given job. The discussion on steaming, including the construction of a steam chamber and steam box was well worth the price of the book.

The next several chapters of the book are devoted to various methods used to shape and form the wood as it is being bent. These include the construction of various jigs and clamps, as well as two part molds. A discussion of bending equipment includes many simple, homemade tools and jigs to assist the bending process.

The second half of the book is arranged as a series of projects and demonstrations of the various bending techniques. These projects are not written as a step-by-step guide, but rather to provide the reader with an overview of the actual application of the various techniques discussed earlier in the book. The projects include: Shaker Oval Boxes, Walking Sticks, Boat Ribs and Chair Backs. I found the section on the Shaker Oval Boxes to be the most interesting and feel that more than enough information is provided to complete this project.

Overall, I really liked this book and feel that it will be an excellent addition to my woodworking library.

David S. Beach

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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