Published by Fox Chapel
Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 166
Dale Nish is internationally recognised as a master woodturner. His books, Artistic Woodturning and Creative Woodturning, have encouraged aspiring woodturners all over the world.
Here, Nish brings his substantial skills to the making of what are often seen as disposable items - the hanging ornaments that decorate our Christmas trees.
But these ornaments are certainly not intended to be discarded a few days after the festivities are over. Instead, they are sure to be packed away carefully, to be brought out year after year, as attractive and interesting as when they were first created.
The work is enhanced by the contribution of Susan Hendrix, a woodcarver since 1986, who has now embraced both pyrography and woodturning as she continues to expand her range of accomplishments. It is also enhanced by the contribution of projects by other turners. These include the already introduced Susan Hendrix, as well as Dave Best, Kirk DeHeer, Don Russel and Joe Wagner.
The book begins with a few comments on the use of mandrels and the turning of finials and perches. Why perches? Well, they often form part of what is clearly one of Dale Nish's favourite group of ornaments - birdhouses. As demonstrated in the book, Nish has made an extraordinary range of little birdhouses which not only serve as attractive tree ornaments, but are delightful designs well worth the concentration needed to perfect them.
Nish then presents seven ornaments, each named for the year in which they were created. The 2000 ornament is a little birdhouse turned in three pieces, a body, a roof and a finial. Then there's the 2003 Mushroom ornament, the 2004 Ambrosia ornament, the 2005 Natural Edge... even a Pagoda Ornament (2007) - all of them, birdhouses (for very tiny birds).
The work of the other turners has a wider scope, though there are stills several birdhouses. David Best shows how to turn a Bat House which could be mistaken for another birdhouse and which even its maker suggests is more suited to Halloween than Christmas.
Susan Hendrix's contribution here is also a birdhouse, but it differs from all the others in having a conical bark roof.
Don Russell departs completely from the overall theme with his segmented ornament and Joe Wagner does the same with one he calls a sea urchin.
The final few pages of the book are devoted to a Gallery which contains even more ideas for turned items that would grace any Christmas tree.
The book is well written and organised and its production values (photos, illustrations etc.) are high. Regardless of their use as tree ornaments, the projects would be sure to interest any woodturner from novice through to advanced.
Units of Measurement: Imperial & Metric
Introduction: Why Birdhouses?
Some Turning Tricks
by Dale L. Nish
from Other Turners