Published by Fox Chapel
Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 169
The first photo in the Works section of Stephen Hogbin's website (http://stephenhogbin.com) is dated 1970/71. A quick scan through the photos of some of his work over the past 40+ years reveals an astounding variety.
Many of the pieces could only be described as stunning. Hogbin has made an extraordinary contribution to the broadening of woodturning, taking the craft from the conventions of bowl and spindle shapes, to tantalising art forms and structures that bind turning into the very fabric of woodcraft.
He was one of the first in this modern era of woodturning to produce pieces that evolved from turnings which had been separated into parts, then re-constructed. Sometimes, this was to obtain a purely artistic result and sometimes to achieve a utilitarian purpose. It is this aspect of his work that is sure to be of particular interest to readers who undertake the projects in this book.
Hogbin presents the reader with 12 projects, ranging from a candleholder and salad servers to a table and stool.
The salad servers are among the simplest. These were, and perhaps still are, a production item for Hogbin, who says he has made many of them in different woods and sizes. The blank is first turned, then cut in half lengthways. The ends (already roughly spoon shaped) are finished by carving.
When making his Walking Bowl, Hogbin again cuts a turned piece in half but this time re-joins the halves in a different configuration. The original piece is a disc with a central dome from which a propeller-like section is cut. This is separated into two through the centre of the dome and joined again with the blades of the 'propeller' now vertical, holding a bowl between them.
The author says it's sometimes difficult for turners to imagine the process but there's little doubt his 17 pages of meticulous explanation will make clear the evolution of the Walking Bowl. These pages do, however, include descriptions of some of the many variations that Hogbin has based upon his initial design.
The presentation of the projects is not in the familiar do-this, do-that format. though there are many photographs and some step-by-step instructions.
Instead, Hogbin prefers to explain how he performs the work, commenting whenever he feels it necessary about why something is done in a specific manner, how an idea was developed, or, indeed, anything else that he thinks is relevant to the project.
Hogbin on Woodturning is not only a project book, it is an invitation to see inside the mind of a luminary woodturner.
About Stephen Hogbin