Monday, September 24, 2007

Free wood turning advice

A while ago I took a text book on wood turning that had been written in 1919 and reformatted it for the web. It is available for free down load from Project Guttenbergbut works better for the web with a little tweaking (ok a lot but it was fun). Lately I have seen it for sale on the web as the greatest thing since sliced bread for learning wood turning. There is some great stuff in the book and it is a good read for turners both experienced and beginning, but it is a text book. It requires someone to show you some of the dos and don'ts of turning as you go.

In fact, I think the value of the book is twofold. One is to give us an outlook on the history of our craft in the early 20th century and two is for the wealth of line drawing projects in the book. Many things are dated but they are still good. Some of the projects are things like chisel handles for chisels that have a tapered socket and for boxes to hold hat pins. But a good handle is easily adapted and a nice box is a nice box.

One thing the book is not is a primer for modern turning. Bowl gouges were not around when the book was written, nor were 4 jaw scroll chucks nor High Speed Steel tools. Sharpening jigs were virtually unknown, certainly not in the forms we now have them. Many of the modern finishes and for that matter abrasives did not exist.

This is a good book and a lot of fun, but not the be all and end all of learning to turn wood. With a good instructor and some editing it would be a good text today. Gradually, I hope to have the projects presented on the web page in some form as I did for the table lamp.

Presently I am working on the pages for a mallet based on those in the book. Some of the differences include using a set of auxiliary jaws for a scroll chuck to be sure the handle is centered correctly and making one with an oval handle. Over the years it would be good to have all the projects with pictures and at least some with video. I am also working on pages for the use of the various tools now available. It is a lot of fun, and I intend to keep it free. It seems more in the spirit of wood turning.

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