Published by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd, East Sussex UK
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 165
When The Australian Woodworker was first published in 1985, 'popular' woodturning was in its infancy. A host of reasons have been proposed for the proliferation of woodlathes that occurred around that time. Some believe it arose from the 'hippy' movement, some that it had more to do with the availability of modern lathes and others that it was the increased affluence of early retirees that was the dominant factor. Probably it was all of these and more.
One thing is, however, certain. Had a book titled Contemporary Woodturning appeared at that time, it would have been vastly different from this work by Nick Arnull.
Woodturning is no longer confined to simply turning wood. The trend toward decoration and the melding of woodturning with other crafts, continues year by year. Arnull has drawn together the most important of the many threads that comprise woodturning today and presented them as a treatise that combines both the techniques on which they are based and a series of explanatory projects.
The author begins with a section on Workshop Basics. This addresses health and safety issues, discusses turning tools and equipment as well as sharpening. Then, in a departure made necessary by modern woodturning practice, he considers tools used for carving and decorating. There are also notes on abrasives and an interesting discussion on appropriate finishes. All of the chapters in this first section are fairly short.
The next section contains a series of chapters dealing with the techniques involved with particular aspects of woodturning, starting with Spindle Turning. The subject is begun with a description of the specific equipment used, the method of holding the timber on the lathe and some observations concerning design.
This is followed by a step-by-step presentation of two projects - a Cord Light Pull and a Door Wedge - each presented with descriptive photos and drawings.
Basic Bowls and Faceplate Work is given a similar treatment, this time using a Wide Rimmed Bowl as the example.
The Faceplate and Spindle Project shows the making of an attractive Hourglass while the project chosen to support the chapter on End-Grain Hollowing is a Basic Box.
The last two chapters in this section explore Detail and Texture and Colouring, again with relevant projects to illustrate the techniques.
The final section is devoted to 14 highly individual projects, all carefully, but economically explained with working drawings and instructive photos.
The projects range from a diamond rim bowl and Oriental hanging vessel to a Moroccan-style Coffee Pot and Flame Twist Vase.
The book is unusual in offering such a wide spectrum of information and guidance. As the author states in his introduction, he intends Contemporary Woodturning to have 'something for turners at every level'.
Units of Measurement: Imperial & Metric
Part One - Workshop basics
One: Health and safety
Two: Turning tools and equipment
Three: Sharpening woodturning tools
Four: Carving and decorating equipment
Six: Applied finishes
Part Two - Basic Techniques and Projects
Seven: Spindle turning
Eight: Basic bowls and faceplate work
Nine: Faceplate and spindle project
Ten: End-grain hollowing
Eleven: Detail and texture
Part Three - The Projects
and decorated fruit