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  New Masters of Woodturning

By Terry Martin and Kevin Wallace

Reviewed by Mike Bloomquist


At first I wasn't sure what to tell you about this one.  It had been in the bookstores where Idefinitely took a gander at it, because I'm a very amateur woodturner. It was basically a collection of artists work, their profiles, and ocassionally their workspaces.  First impression was a gallery book with some very fine photography, but it nagged at me because the contents didn't quite fit the title.  I was impressed, but put it back. 

Good thing I did, because a copy arrived in the mail not long after and I said "Huh? Why did Matt send me this to review? "   This book is about woodturning, not woodcarving.  Looking through it again, carefully, gave me this nagging thought again that it wasn't really a book about woodturning on the "cutting" edge, but something else. After several sessions of reading and scanning through it I came to the conclusion that it's mis-titled, but I have no idea what else they could have called it.  Ironically, the subtitle "Expanding the Boundaries of Wood Art" describes it better.

There seems to be three "flavors" of artists in this book.  There are a few folks in here that are using advanced turning techniques and equipment, but nothing revolutionary.  Their work is impressive in how it combines these advanced techniques into a beautiful personal style, and in that respect they earn the title "New Masters".  However, most of the rest of the book is made up of truly impressive artists that simply use lathes in the same way the majority of woodcarvers would use a band saw, as a means to rough out the wood to a  primary form.  They produce a beautiful vase shaped "blank", then carve on it or carve into it and conjure a shape of beauty at a still higher level.  The majority of the masterwork is accomplished with their woodcarving skills.  Going back to the lathe/band saw similarity, there is a contrast there as well.  In most cases, a carver does not want the original band sawed block to show through in the final work. In the pieces I enjoyed the most, the original  "turned" geometric shape enhances the final carving a great deal.  The third "flavor"?  There are a couple of artists here with pieces that are enjoyable to see, but you have a hard time recognizing where they used a lathe.  Camouflaging their lathe work may seem like a clever ruse, but it makes you wonder where the advantage was to using the tool in the first place.  So I guess my final impression of this book answers the question "Why am I reviewing a woodturning book for a woodcarving e-zine?"  Because it has many very, very inspirational examples of woodcarving in here being done on turned objects to a good advantage.

What's inside:


I hope we didn't come off as biased against wood turners in this review.  Truthfully it's a very enjoyable (and addictive) wood art all by itself, and if you ever get a chance to watch it demonstrated, grab the opportunity.  Better yet, find someone who teaches and have a "turn" at it yourself.  No nit-picks this time, just a small caution.  There is little-to-no instruction in this book, but a very fine collection of wood art in a gallery/biography format.  Something to get your creative juices flowing.

Well fellow woodcarvers, 'till next time keep them edges keen, the chips piled high, and we'll see ya again as the WOM turns...

Keep on Carvin'
-Mike Bloomquist->

Mike Bloomquist is a carver and carving teacher, and a regular contributor to WOM.

You may visit Mike's web site, Wooden Dreams Woodcarving HERE or email him at m.bloomquistATverizonDOTnet.