I recently spent several hours reviewing this new CD featuring Bob Stampf, a long time carver and teacher of woodcarving.
I found the CD to be an interesting and successful mix of text, still photos and video.
The CD is divided into a number of sections:
The Introduction, an overview of the content of the CD, utilizes a graphic person called "Woody Linden" - an interesting alternative to a plain text introduction. Appropriately, "Woody" suggests the new carver start immediately with the "Safety" section.
The Wood section provides an introduction to nine types of wood used for carving, from Bass wood to zebra wood. Included are several sample photos of each species, along with a text description of the pros and cons of each. In a video in that section, Bob Stampf provides an introduction to the structure of wood and grain.
The third sections is Safe Practices for Wood Carvers. Here Bob offers thirteen rules for safe woodcarving. In addition to text, animated examples of cutting strokes are available. In the video in this section, Bob demonstrates a proper carving posture, and cutting toward and away from the body.
The Tools section offered an interesting approach; on opening the section, you see a photo of a selection of tools, sharpening equipment, a glove and a pencil. Running the mouse over each group of items reveals a hot link to a discussion of the items.
This is one area of the CD that perhaps could be expanded in future version, particularly in the discussion of sharpening - you can never say too much about that topic.
That aside, this section offers a basic overview that will be useful to the new carver.
The First Exercise is a simple letter opening - a project with which any new carver should be comfortable. The exercise includes text discussions of wood grain and using stop cuts. There are also ten pages of step-by-step drawings and text, as well as a full-size pattern.
Once you are through that material, Bob appears in three video segments, discussing:
The Second Exercise is a bit more work - a simple spoon carving. Like the first exercise, there are eight pages of step-by-step drawings with text and the pattern. The text discussions in this section introduce gouges to the new carver.
The CD concludes with a display of 21 samples of the wide variety of work by Bob Stampf.
Priced a bit higher than most books at $24.95, this CD is interesting alternative to traditional books or videos. The carver will find the layout of the CD easy to use, and the mix of text, graphics and video works well. The compression of the video clips compromises the quality of the video sections in spots, but the videos are still good enough to demonstrate the objectives of each section.
Overall, I would call this a good choice for the new carver.
The CD is currently available in wintel machine format and may be ordered from Amazon.com. A Mac version may be available if there is sufficient demand - browse on over to Jonathan Stampf's web site at www.jsds.com/wood to indicate your interest in a Mac version.
The technical stuff: PC with Windows(r) 95 or newer, plays on computers with sound and video (AVI) capability. A computer with a CD player is required, but fortunately the disk works fine on computers without DVD capabilities.