Book Review: Woodturning Wizardry

Reviewer: Spinning Brewer

Woodturning Wizardry by David Springett.

This book is worth reading just to find out how Chinese Balls are turned, even if you have no intention, of ever turning your hand to making one. The whole process is broken down into several phases, each lucidly explained and clearly illustrated. There are even sections explaining how you can make the tools needed if Axminster’s £100, or so, for the Chinese Ball tool set is too much for your pocket.

Instructions for making a sphere turning jig and chucks for holding balls are valuable in their own right and useful for all sorts of other applications.

If you are intending to turn Chinese Balls the chapter on calculating and marking out the multitudinous centres is essential, if challenging, reading. If you are inspired to turn a Chinese Ball, I really do recommend reading this part of the book first. But, beware this chapter needed every ounce of concentration I could muster.

However, this book is more than just Chinese Balls – it also explains how to turn stars in cubes, Singapore Balls and covers lattice work. Once again, there are instructions how to make all the special tools needed.

Lattice work is probably the least specialised technique in this book and can be used as part of a whole range of general turning, from purely decorative pieces to pomanders and pot pourri. That together with its requirement for the least specialised tools made it my favourite part of this book. It is probably also the easiest of the techniques to learn.

In addition to the photographs accompanying each of the projects there is a gallery of stunning pieces at the end of the book, which will either inspire you to try your own designs and pieces or make you realise the length of the journey ahead to get anywhere near emulating the experts.

Woodturning Wizardry may have been published some 20 years ago but it remains a unique and absorbing read for any woodturner.