- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Sterling Pub Co Inc (January 1, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0806942746
- ISBN-13: 978-0806942742
- Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,064,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reading the Wood: Techniques & Projects from a Master Woodworker Paperback – January 1, 1996
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His skill at taking a piece of maple burl from the forest and transforming it into an organic sculpture is seen from the early pages to the last. The book is filled with colour photos of his work, every piece more luscious than the previous one.
His work majors on skillful use of the bandsaw to cut layers from the burls which he picks up from the forests, and to carve them into extraordinary profiles. He then reassembles them into a highly carved block of timber with landcapes, cityscapes, castles, aztec carvings, palm trees, and hidden compartments.
Elkan shares the philosophy of the subtractive artist; that you must learn to read the wood and take away the unnecessary layers to reveal what is waiting inside. H! is imagination to do this well is evidenced in the book.
There are several pages of instruction dealing with two of Elkan's boxes and his intricate bandsaw carving technique. This is easy to follow, and once again the wood used is inspiring to look at even if you don't intend to make anything.
A bonus is several pages showing how to make Ken Altman's mysterious dovetail boxes, which have dovetails on all four sides, and seem impossible to make when looked at. Ken Altman is an associate of Michael Elkan and his work is very different and perhaps more skilful than Elkan's.
I give this book five stars for doing everything it set out to do. It highlights the work of a master craftsman. It gives clear instruction to those wanting to make similar projects. And it has photography which is inspiring just to look at.