Book Review: All Screwed Up by John Berkeley

I have a love-hate relationship with All Screwed Up by John Berkeley.  However it is definitely more love than hate!

Berkeley’s passion for thread chasing is eminent and features in almost all that he portrays in this book, but this isn’t a book directly about thread-chasing, it’s about making timeless puzzles and boxes that feature a thread chased element. However, since the majority of thread chasing is done to enhance turned boxes, there is a good deal of relevance.

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If this was the only book available about thread chasing (and it almost is, this is a very limited field) then you could certainly learn many of the required skills from here.  There is a practical section on wood selection (there are very few woods that will take a hand chased thread – 20 listed here), tool choice and the process (with hints and tips) for starting to chase threads.  The rest comes down to practice.  I’m sure that in creating all the puzzles taught in the book your thread chasing will improve immensely.  The puzzles themselves are often intricate turnings which demand good attention to detail.

All Screwed Up contains 117 pages and is split into 6 main chapters:

  1. Introduction
  2. Notes on:
    1. Measurements
    2. The Puzzles
    3. Photography
  3. Tools and safety
  4. Choice of woods
  5. Thread chasing
  6. The projects:
    1. Box Basics
    2. In The Soup
    3. Tire ’em Out
    4. Barrel and Ball
    5. The Zulu Box
    6. The Ball and Chain Puzzle
    7. The Invisible Gift
    8. The Wedding Ring Box
    9. The Castle Money Box
    10. The New Castle Money Box
    11. The New New Castle Money Box
    12. The Egyptian Box
    13. The New Brass Money Box
    14. The Ball and Three Strings
    15. The Sceptre Puzzle
    16. The Lighthouse Puzzle
    17. The New Persian Puzzle
    18. The Arabi Gun Puzzle
    19. The New Jubilee Puzzle
    20. The Trunk


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All Screwed Up! by John Berkeley

All Screwed Up! by John Berkeley

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