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Turning Projects

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Turning and shaping wood on a lathe is one of the less widely practiced skills in woodworking. Nevertheless, it can be an integral part of furniture making and also is often used to craft freestanding objects of considerable artistry. Both Dunbar and Raffan are experienced writers on woodturning. Dunbar practices woodturning mostly as part of the making of fine furniture or in architectural millwork. Thus, his book emphasizes ``centerwork,'' or the turning of wood along the axis of the grain in the production of chair legs and stiles, table bases, balusters, etc. He covers the operations of the lathe, the selection and care of cutting tools, and a progression of techniques from rough-rounding to the shaping of complicated spirals and twists. His writing is nicely understated, experienced and even reverential, yet always urging the reader to discover his or her own best technique. Raffan's project book is a follow-up to his earlier Turning Wood with Richard Raffan ( LJ 5/15/85). While that title is a general introduction to turning, Raffan's specialty is on ``facework,'' or the shaping of large diameter, cross-grain objects of fine design such as bowls, plates, and circular boxes. Here, he explains how to craft 20 or so objects (and variations of each) from a utilitarian mallet to some whimsical wooden plant forms. The emphasis is on visual information with photos and drawings of carefully laid-out steps. The text rounds out the visual instructions and gives a brief background on each object. (A companion video is available: ISBN 0-942391-90-X; $39.95.) Most public library how-to collections should have Dunbar's introduction; those serving an active clientele of woodworkers will also want Raffan's project book.-- Bill Demo, Tompkins Cortland Community Coll., Dryden, N.Y.

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