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.

>> Buy this book on Amazon <<

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


Amazon Logo

All Screwed Up! by John Berkeley

All Screwed Up! by John Berkeley

Book Review: Turning Boxes with Threaded Lids – Bill Bowers

I hate to admit it, but this is one of two books in my collection that fail to impress me.  Both of these books are on the subject of thread chasing, something that fascinates me and keeps me endlessly entertained.  It is one of the most rewarding turning skills I have ever attempted to master and it may be because of this fascination that I blindly bought this book.  Don’t get me wrong, the book contains some great information and instruction on thread chasing and turning some fairly unique boxes, but the format is dire.  It reminds me of high school French lesson material.  The pages are filled with endless photographs, with just a short caption accompanying each one and little formatted text to tie the book together.  Of course if I had read the beginning of the book before purchase I would have seen that it is described as a ‘caption driven instructional text’….

But that’s not all.  The majority of the pieces are decorated with a Rose Engine Lathe.  Though it doesn’t mention this on the front cover, I enjoy to see Rose Engine work, but it leaves my pieces looking incomplete and lacking.  There is a decent sized chapter on Rose Engines within the book, but this just leaves me even further out in the cold!  The photographs in many turning books leave you agog at the beauty or complexity of the pieces.  But again, this is an ‘instructional text’ and the pictures are definitely more instructional than beautiful.

Containing 80 pages,  it is split into 7 chapters:

  1. Cylinder Boxes with Dyed Epoxy Threads
  2. Cubic Boxes with Threaded Pyramidal Lids
  3. Threaded Spherical Boxes on Pedestals Embellished with Rose Engine Ornamental Designs
  4. Threaded Rotating Ring Capsule Boxes with Rose Engine Lathe Decorations
  5. The Nuts and Bolts of Threaded Boxes
  6. Threaded Pierced-Through Boxes with Rose Engine Lathe Embellishments
  7. Gallery

Amazon Logo

Turning Boxes with Threaded Lids by Bill Bowers

Turning Boxes with Threaded Lids by Bill Bowers

Book Review: Turned Boxes (50 Designs) – Chris Stot

Superficially this is a very simple book.  50 designs are presented with all the project details required to create the pieces yourself.  Following through the projects sequentially you will be introduced to more complex designs and more demanding tool work with each piece.  However as you progress through the book you should also find yourself examining form and detail in other work and starting to explore your own potential.  The first part of the book is dedicated to materials, tools and design inspirations.

Turned Boxes has 177 pages and is split into three parts:

Part 1: Technique and Inspiration

  1. A brief history of turned boxes
  2. A woodturner’s life
  3. Safety in the workshop
  4. Tools and machinery
  5. Timber and materials
  6. Deciding what to make
  7. Inspiration and where to find it
  8. Decorating boxes
  9. Finishes for boxes
  10. Displaying your work
  11. Common Faults

Part II: 50 Turned Boxes

  1. Simple box
  2. Chinese hat box
  3. Onion-top box
  4. Finial box
  5. Easy box
  6. Spherical box
  7. Vase box
  8. Beaded-lid box
  9. Zebrano box
  10. Yew box
  11. Elegant box
  12. Square-lidded box
  13. Pill box
  14. Teardrop box
  15. Ginger jar
  16. Collector’s box
  17. Mosque box
  18. Egg box
  19. Ball box
  20. Yew saucer
  21. Footed box
  22. Mushroom box
  23. Apple box
  24. Saturn box
  25. Japanese lantern box
  26. Pagoda box
  27. Bird-box ornament
  28. Bird box
  29. Finial egg box
  30. Tipsey boxes 1 and 2
  31. Trinket box
  32. Seattle tower box
  33. UFO box
  34. Galaxy box
  35. Clam box
  36. Skep or beehive box
  37. Inset-lid box
  38. Double-decker box
  39. Four-stack box
  40. Commissionaire box
  41. Top hat box
  42. Bowler hat box
  43. Jockey cap box
  44. Acorn box
  45. Picture-frame inset box
  46. Three-centre spire box
  47. Lattice-lidded box
  48. Doughnut box
  49. Off-centre oddity box
  50. Flask box

Part III: A Gallery of Turned Boxes

Showing work from: Allan Batty, Kip Christensen, Michael Hosaluk, Ray Key and Hans Joachim Weissflog


Amazon Logo

(50) Turned Boxes by Chris Stott

(50) Turned Boxes by Chris Stott