Book review: Useful Woodturning Projects

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Title: Useful Woodturning Projects
Author: Mike Darlow
Publisher: Fox Chapel Publishing
200 pages

Words: Raf Nathan

Australian wood turning elder Mike Darlow has recently published another book in his woodturning series. Titled Useful Woodturning Projects, the book has a broad selection of projects ranging from chess pieces, picture frames, pepper grinders, the rather strangely named molinillos and even cotton reelholders.

True, some of the projects are for objects that are really not in current use in 2021 however Mike is obviously a highly advanced woodturner and is able to explain quite clearly his woodturning techniques with drawings and photographs.

Interestingly the book is also crammed with historical references to all of the included projects, such as the development of the chocolate and pepper industries. These historical forays lead onto specific projects related to that industry. For example, there is references to the Singer sewing machine and its inventor which prefaces the project on making a cotton reel holder.

The book is a mixed bag of woodturning theory, design and practice enlivened with some rather fascinating history lessons. I am not sure why some chapters are included, for example one explaining the type-faces used in the book, however it is a good overall read.

My favourite chapters were definitely on chess sets. The history, design and making of various chess sets is covered in great detail and the book gives many options of different chess pieces which can be made, ranging from the classic Windsor style through to modern versions. At 200 pages its a big read and available via several internet resellers at around AUD$40.


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