by Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 143
Over two decades ago, when The Australian Woodworker had been published for only a few years, David Ellsworth was already a leader in the woodturning community. His thin walled hollow forms were the envy of other woodturners and reaped high prices from collectors who saw their value as evidence of a paradigm shift in the contemporary art world.
While his hollow forms were the most notable and, indeed, the most admired of his work, he also explored many other avenues, all with the same enthusiasm and with the same degree of professional care and accuracy.
Never afraid to share the most arcane secrets of his methods, he taught and demonstrated throughout the world (including Australia), turning huge chunks of wood with laconic ease.
Now, at last, David Ellsworth, the spiritual grandfather of modern woodturners, has written a book.
Ellsworth on Woodturning is sub-titled How a Master Creates Bowls, Pots and Vessels. The book is well laid out and richly lllustrated, but above all, it is so wonderfully informative and written with such simplicity, that it is sure to educate and inspire both novice and experienced woodturner alike.
The book is divided into 17 chapters. The first six deal with the mechanics of turning - working with green wood and dry wood, managing materials, how turning tools work, making tools and handles, sharpening, as well chucks, glue blocks and faceplates.
Then there is a single chapter on design followed by a chapter on what must be the most unusual topic ever included in a woodworking book. Titled The Body, it is an examination of the effects of woodturning on the turnerís body - and even to some extent, the reverse. It deals principally with how to minimise physical damage when spending long periods at the lathe.
The remainder of the book, about two-thirds of the total number of pages, is devoted to techniques. Chapter titles include: Turning an Open Bowl with a Cut Rim, Turning the Exterior of a Hollow Form and Turning Spirit Forms.
The last few chapters discuss Sanding, Finishing and Drying while Teaching appears in an Appendix.
It would be hard to imagine a woodturner who would not benefit in some way from this carefully written book by one the great masters of modern woodturning.
The Creative Process
Chapter 1 - Working with Green Wood & Dry Wood
Chapter 2 - Managing Materials
Chapter 3 - Why Turning Tools Work
Chapter 4 - Making Tools & Tool Handles
Chapter 5 - Sharpening
Chapter 6 - Chucks, Glue Blocks & Faceplates
Chapter 7 - Design
Chapter 8 - The Body
Chapter 9 - Turning an Open Bowl with a Cut Rim
Chapter 10 - Turning an Open Bowl with a Natural Edge
Chapter 11 - Turning the Exterior of a Hollow Form
Chapter 12 - Turning the Interior of a Hollow Form
Chapter 13 - Turning Spirit Forms
Chapter 14 - Jam Chucks & Vacuum Chuck
Chapter 15 - Sanding
Chapter 16 - Finishing
Chapter 17 - Drying Green Wood Vessels