The Basics of Turning Spirals
Published by Schiffer Publishing, West Chester, Pennsylvania USA
As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 138
If you have always believed that it is necessary to have a special lathe or at least a router traversing over the lathe in order to form complicated twists, Bill Bowers has a surprise in store for you in his book, The Basics of Turning Spirals.
In his Preface, Bowers tells the story of his lifelong interest in woodturning. It's an interest that began when he served in Vietnam and survived years of medical school and a quarter century of practice as a gastroenterologist in Alaska.
In 2000, he took early retirement and began woodturning in earnest. Most of his work now centres around what he calls 'one-of-a-kind artistic pieces' which include the type of spiral pieces described in this book.
He begins with Double Barley Twists, showing how to mark out the cylindrical blank, cut a spiral kerf with a cross cut or dovetail saw, then follow this saw kerf with a Microplane. After the smooth coves are fashioned in this way, Bowers uses a small block plane, another Microplane and finally files to complete the shape which is then sanded ready for the application of a finish.
The author goes on to describe how to form a wide variety of other twists - Quadruple Twists, Open Twists including Quadruple Open Twists, Thin, Very Thin and Extremely Thin Twists...
The following chapter shows how the same or similar techniques can be applied to make Scallop-Edged Vases, Bowls, Plates and Platters. There are also chapters on Hand Thread Chasing, Pierced-Through Hollow Forms and Pierced-Through Hollow Finial Threaded Lids.
In the final chapter, the author provides a gallery demonstrating how the forms discussed earlier in the book can be incorporated in everything from Christmas ornaments to furniture.
The book is competently written and well illustrated and is sure to appeal to woodturners who want to experiment and push the boundaries that define the scope of work which they undertake.
Units of Measurement: Imperial
Chapter 1: The Basics
Chapter 2: Open Twists and Open Twist Variants
Chapter 3: Thin, Very Thin and Extremely Thin Twists
Chapter 4: Scalloped Edged Vases, Bowls, Plates and Platters
Chapter 5: Hand Thread Chasing
Chapter 6: Pierced-Through Hollow Forms and Pierced-Through Hollow Finial Threaded Lids
Chapter 7: Shibui