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Traditional Construction Patterns: Design and Detail Rules-of-Thumb
Traditional Construction Patterns: Design and Detail Rules-of-Thumb
by Stephen A. Mouzon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $40.19
45 used & new from $22.98

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor book but still necessary, January 28, 2010
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The stuff explained in this book are so elemetary that nobody should need to be told about them. And yet, there are plenty of examples of lousy design out there that proves that this sort of book is painfully needed for at least some people. For example, the book tells you, don't use plastic window shutters and don't tack them in place with unsightly studs that dent them. Don't put a pillar in the middle of a window. Don't place bricks above a window in a manner that defies gravity. Is anyone so blind as to actually do the "don'ts"? Obviously some people are because this book provides photographs to prove that such ugly examples exist.

The problem is that although this book will help some people avoid the most hideous and outrageous mistakes, it will not help you build a beautiful house.

I might have given this book three stars because it is necessary reading for some people. I give it two because the title is misleading.


Proxxon 38070 FKS/E Table Saw
Proxxon 38070 FKS/E Table Saw

35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Table Saw for Micro-surgery, June 19, 2009
There is no such thing as a bad tool. Only one that is used for the wrong purpose. Here is another curious tool from Proxxon that seems to be made almost exclusively for modelers and toy makers. If you are going to make a dining table for a doll house, or a three-inch-tall dresser with functioning drawers, you simply cannot make it with a conventional table saw. I found that model railroad enthusiasts love Proxxon bench tools. But if you are into general woodworking and looking for a tablesaw to fit in a limited work space, this tool is not your solution. This saw can cut softwoods up to only 10 millimeters thick. If you want to make smaller-than-matchbox drawers, earring compartments for jewery boxes and window frames for model train stations, this will be the most useful tool in your workshop. This is a tablesaw exclusively specialized for micro-surgery.


Proxxon 38642 SGM Power Carver
Proxxon 38642 SGM Power Carver

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of its price range, June 19, 2009
There are several power carvers on the market. I have bought four, each from a different maker. Proxxon and Ryobi both make reliable carvers for the hobbyist. The other two are not even worth mentioning. There is also a Japanese maker called Automach that manufactures professional grade carvers, but they can cost 10 times as much. The list price of the "hobbist grade" Automach is 4 times as expensive as the Proxxon carver. The Proxxon carver is the best of its price range and provides enough power for hobbyist range work. If you consider the alternative (either waste of money or too expensive) it should be easy to see that this is the carver to buy. If I were to buy another similar machine, I would not bother with another hobbyist tool and go straight for the thousand dollar professional carver.

The user should be warned that this machine can get quite hot when used on the harder hardwoods (such as elm). Wear a thick glove to prevent burning your fingers and put the tool down to cool after about 10-20 minutes of continuous use. So if you are serious about carving, you should own two to use alternately. Carving softwood and softer hardwood is less of a problem. (Sliced through cherry and teak like butter.)

I am often surprised that this tool is not more popular. I suppose it appeals to a different kind of wood worker. It is actually quite versatile. It can be used for general carving or squaring out a mortise after drilling the hole. Anything that can be done with a conventional chisel and mallet or carving knife. Very useful for carving architectural ornaments like the wood base for a door knocker or a small wooden medallion for a pendant light. This is my second most frequently used power tool after the Proxxon rotary tool. Highly recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2011 9:16 AM PST


Proxxon 37088 Scroll Saw DS 115/E, Colors may Vary
Proxxon 37088 Scroll Saw DS 115/E, Colors may Vary
Price: $147.47
9 used & new from $124.63

51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Limited purpose, but useful for model making, April 6, 2009
If you have a large garage with room for a real table saw, a band saw, a jointer... I envy you. If you have a closet-sized "workshop" where the best you can hope for is to build boats to fit in a bottle, then maybe this scroll saw will help you with your projects. You would think that a tool this small would find its place in jewelry making. It doesn't. It is nearly useless for cutting through metal. It cuts through seashells, ivory, plastic and thin softwood nicely. So the possible applications are fairly limited. It is basically a model maker's tool. Especially useful when you are working in wood, plastic and very thin metals. Not recomended for heavier work.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 15, 2013 9:55 AM PST


Home by Design: Transforming Your House into Home (Susanka)
Home by Design: Transforming Your House into Home (Susanka)
by Sarah Susanka
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from $16.28

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Meat is in the Text. Use Your Imagination., October 22, 2007
I have increased respect for Sarah Susanka after reading this book. It is well organized and clearly explains her concepts. But you have to remember when reading this book that the meat is in the text. Make no mistake, this is a beautiful book. Perhaps too much so that some of the reviewers here have mistaken it for a "browse through" book. This is very much a textbook for thinking about houses. The contents are written in plain, lay-person English, but that does not mean that your brain can take the back seat while reading it. You really have to concentrate to take it all in. Also, this is not a so-called "idea book". You will have to proactively use your imagination in order to apply any of the concepts explained in this book to your own house, whether you have lots of money or not. One of the most extravagant examples in this book is a poolhouse built for an obviously very rich client. Yet this spare-no-cost structure has art glass windows on one side of the fireplace and not the other. Also it has no windows in the bathroom. And Susanka takes the time to explain that these things were not oversights. Now, if rich people can do these things on purpose as design statements, there is no shame in a not-so-rich person adopting the ideas to save costs. But you really have to use your brains to do so. Otherwise you will end up saying (like some reviewers have) "This book is useless if you don't have lots of money".


Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems
Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems
by Nigel Calder
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $30.08
56 used & new from $19.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't go to sea without it!, January 4, 2007
I don't know how useful another 5-star review can be for a book already getting mostly the same, but this is the best book on the topic. I bought the first edition years ago and I am ready to buy a new edition. It just keeps getting better. The best part of the book is that you do not need to be a boat fanatic to read it. You can be the sort of sailor who hires a repairman for most jobs and you will still find the book usefull. At the very least, you will understand what is being done to your boat and why. And having a conversation that doesn't miss the mark when you are talking to the dockhand is what gets the job done right.


A Boy Called H: A Childhood in Wartime Japan (Kan Yamaguchi Series)
A Boy Called H: A Childhood in Wartime Japan (Kan Yamaguchi Series)
by Kappa Senoh
Edition: Paperback
25 used & new from $7.45

20 of 37 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In Japan, this book was proven a forgery, June 1, 2003
I am very sorry to rain on the parade, but this book, a one time best seller in Japan, was almost immediately proven to be a forgery. A young boy comments on Japanese wartime policy and diplomatic decisions that were not known to the public at the time. The events were taken out of an almanac in chronological order and fictionalised without any consideration as to when the Japanese public learned about it or what information they had at the time to base their opinions on. In reality, a boy like H could not have existed simply because he could not have known, and consequently could not have felt, the things he did. This is a beautified account by a leftist who would like to believe - and would like the reader to believe - that he had been a pacifist from the very begining. The historical events depicted in this book are factual. The way "H" responded to them are not.

The forgery of the book was exposed by more remorseful pacifists of the same generation who had the courage to admit that they were not born believing in peace. The denial of the past is counter productive to the construction of a more peaceful future where the past is not repeated. Reader beware.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 24, 2010 10:03 AM PST


Designed to Cruise
Designed to Cruise
by Roger Marshall
Edition: Hardcover
39 used & new from $0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars For rich people who favor modern boats, April 20, 2003
This review is from: Designed to Cruise (Hardcover)
The reviews written for Roger Marshal's other books apply here as well. His book(s) seem to be written for people who can afford boats of the 45-70ft range. Marshal is an excellent boat designer and his articles explaining his designs for some sailing magazines are superb and informative. I still remember his excellent off shore cruiser, evidently designed for a knowledgeable owner, that appeared on Wooden Boat magazine years ago.
But as an author, his audience is not the relatively modest sailor who wants to buy a dependable boat of the 25-35ft range. I am sure Marshal designs such boats too. But there is little profit in designing little boats. His books are aimed at people who pay his mortgage. His book is quite informative for people who are interested in learning about Marshal's craft.
But the text is dry. His illustrations are unromantic. A rare emotional moment in the introduction is squandered in expressing his disdain for the twinkle eyed dreamers who come to his office with notions that are too vague for him to care for. But those crazy romantic urges are what compels sailors to buy books on boats.
Worst of all, he has no sense of fun. When placed next to such contemporary designers as Benford, Bolger and Bueler, Marshal's book severely lacks the element of the unexpected. His boats in the book look stale, like the majority of the boats you see at boatshows. This is all the more sad because there actually is a reason why so many rich people choose him to design their boats. Marshal is a man who understands boats. But he does not understand boat books.


Gastrointestinal Endocrinology (Contemporary Endocrinology)
Gastrointestinal Endocrinology (Contemporary Endocrinology)
by George Greeley
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $167.85
32 used & new from $32.06

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated and poorly organized., April 15, 2003
This book is the compilation of what we know about hormones secreted by the gastro-intestinal tract and their functions. Although the book was published in 1999, it is already out of date and omits such recent discoveries such as ghrelin (which is secreted from the stomach) and adiponectin (which is secreted from the messentrium). It is also very hard to read. Possiblly because it is a compilation of 21 contributions that seem to have been written independently with minimal inter-communication. Poor organization makes it difficult to find the information you are looking for. Although the book gathers gastro-intestinal hormones between a set of covers, there is little explanation of how they inter-relate. I do not strongly recommend this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2013 1:48 PM PST


Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of the Offshore Yachts (A Nautical quarterly book)
Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of the Offshore Yachts (A Nautical quarterly book)
by John Rousmaniere
Edition: Hardcover
87 used & new from $0.01

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book, April 15, 2003
Whether you are a novice about to buy your first boat or an old salt who wants to add a little more practical knowledge, this is an excellent book. Some of the recommendations may seem like overkill for the casual weekend sailor, but it is best to be prepared, if not in equipment then at least in knowledge, for the worst conditions. There is a big difference in knowing and not knowing how much your boat falls short of ideal preparation. This book could give you a sense of where to set the standard.


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