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Building Wooden Machines: Gears and Gadgets for the Adventurous Woodworker Paperback – May 29, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Popular Woodworking Books (May 29, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1440322228
  • ISBN-13: 978-1440322228
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.8 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Charles Hall on November 17, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was pretty excited by the description of this book prior to ordering. I was hoping for a book that's a notch above plans for a wind-driven man-sawing-wood or kid's pull toy. This book is at the other end of the spectrum. The projects are beautiful, complex, works of art. Most require a lathe, a lot of scroll saw work (cutting out gears) and some real craftsmanship. Every project includes a great many cut-outs and shapes that are added simply for decoration.

A typical project is an escapement similar to that in most weight-driven clocks. It's all in wood here of course, with complex gears you layout and cut carefully by hand. It's real art...

And therein lies the problem. Its art, not a clock. There are no hands, it just a thing that ticks. Why not DO something? Even the silly wind-driven gadgets in other books DO something. But all of these projects just sit there until you go turn the crank, or pull the cord, then you can watch things move. Why would you bother to turn the crank once you had it working? What's the point?

So you can see, this book is not for me. If you want a way to really wow your friends with your fine wood-working skills, this is it. But if you're looking for something to make and give to your grandkids, forget it.
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Format: Paperback
I rarely review books on Amazon since generally my opinions are well expressed by others, and I'm somewhat lazy. However, "Building Wooden Machines" is an incredible book that I feel has not been adequately described by other reviewers - for anyone interested in automata, kinetic art, mechanical engineering, or the history of machines, this book is a real find. I purchased the book via my mobile phone which does not let me use the "Look Inside" feature. Thus, I took a gamble not knowing the exact contents of the book. For those of you who can view the contents page, your purchase decision may be easy. For all those who cannot use this feature, I will list out the chapters so you can see that the items featured are not simply whimsical objects invented by the authors, but projects that make reference to classic mechanical engineering concepts (Note: NOT necessarily EXACT scientific models of classic machines, but working interpretations). These can be incorporated into one's own machine designs or simply built as a way to understand some historically important mechanisms. I had been seeking patterns for many of these mechanisms all over the Web, and found just a few paper automata sites and books that covered the simplest of them.Read more ›
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This book contains many of the projects from his earlier books. This a an attractive and large book. The directions are ok but some steps are a bit brief but I tend to just make the models my own way so that isn't a problem. The patterns are not accurate to the dimensions given in the listing so you have to look carefully at the pictures. I've made just about every model in his earlier books.
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Shows loads of finished examples and gives the obvious stuff needed to replicate, but doesn't provide anything you wouldn't have figured out yourself. Save your money and spend it on birch plywood to use for your own ideas.
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Not really any other books in the same genre but I wish there was more craftsmanship in some of the project directions. You could always take the general plans and improve on them I guess but I was expecting a little more. With that said, I haven't seen any better books available on the subject and there are MANY project plans for various mechanisms that I have never seen before.
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As a woodworker, I'm usually building furniture and other straightforward pieces. I like to break things up every now and then by making more mechanically intricate projects, and this book is an excellent reference.
The projects are broken down and explained in good detail if you know your way around the shop, and offer a good way to use up your piles of scrap.
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This book is well written with plenty of enteraining projects for the serious woodworker. Templates are provided for each machine, and directions are clear. A nice book to give all your shop machines a workout and still have a good excuse for using them. Also nice that none of the machines require alot of material which is good with the price of wood today.I have not tried any of the projects yet but I am looking forward to doing them all. If you like to do intricate and precise work this is the book for you. It also is very well illustrated.
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While none of the projects in the book truly do anything, I think with a bit of imagination, each design can be used as the basis for a more complicated, useful, and functional device. What the author provided is a number of mechanical demonstration models rather than devices that serve a real purpose as they stand. For classroom demonstrations, it is ideal. But don't expect a lot more without adding some additional elements to each design.
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