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

Featured Turner: Sam Angelo, In His Own Words

Featured Turner: Sam Angelo, In His Own Words

ABOUT SAM ANGELO (a.ka. The Wyoming Woodturner)

Image12 - Sam and CocoFull Name: Samuel Joseph Angelo

Year of Birth: 1950

Nationality: Italian. I grew up in a strong Catholic, Italian family. Until I travelled off to college, the family met each Sunday at my Grandmothers house. It was something we looked forward to and was no doubt a contributing factor in setting my values and strong bond with my family.

Place of Birth: Akron, Ohio

Where do you currently live? Worland, Wyoming

Image1What is, or was your main job?  In 1973 I began a career in education. My experience as a teacher began in a one-room schoolhouse in southeastern Montana. I taught grades 1-8 with 12 students in school. My school was 65 miles from any town. I lived in a teacherage with no running water. I continued in various settings which included a Catholic parochial school and the Montana state reform school for boys. Somewhere in that mix I served a term as Custer County Superintendent of School. In this position my duties included supervision of 17 rural, one-room schools in Custer County, Montana. In 1980 I accepted a position teaching history at Worland High School. For the better part of my 40 year career I coached various sports. For my remaining 25 years I served as a school guidance counsellor. I have been retired since 2010.

Image2What would be your dream job?  This is perhaps an oxymoron: dream-job. I worked with students of all ages and setting for 40 years. I never “went to work” in the morning. It was not a job but for the most part, it was a dream. Being a teacher or educator is a privilege and I was honored to work with kids for 40 years. But now? I turn every day in my shop: another dream. I have been blessed.

Other than woodturning, do you have any other notable hobbies?  First, woodturning is not a hobby for me. It is who I am. It is my life. But years ago, I used to fish a lot…..


Are you a professional turner, hobby turner or something else?  Since 1983 I have had a woodworking business which supplemented our household budget. I refinished furniture, built furniture, and eventfully turned to working on the lathe. All that I have done outside of education has financed my shop and all the machines. Yes, I consider myself a professional.

Sam Angelo Image3When did you begin turning, and why?  I started turning in 1988. I borrowed a worn out Boice Crane wood lathe and started to teach myself how to turn. I can’t pinpoint why I started other than someone gave me an old worn out lathe. I literally never saw another person turn for maybe 4 or 5 years. We had no internet at the time. I eventually ran across a turning magazine and started to understand. My biggest regret is that in 1986 the American Association of Woodturners was founded. I simply did not know it was there. I do not want anyone to have that experience. I try to pass on what I know either by my YouTube channel or through teaching in my shop.

Sam Angelo Image4Are you a member of a turning club and if so which one?  In 2007 I co-founded the Worland Wyoming Woodturners. In 2009 we became a sanctioned chapter of the AAW. It is the only chapter in Wyoming. We meet once each month in my shop. We have 6 to 8 faithful members who attend. Our main club fundraiser for the community is the Festival of Trees which brings in money for local charities and organizations. Last year our tree was auctioned off for $2200. We do receive about 25% of this amount which helps with our own activities. Our club includes turners of all levels as well as a painter, a gold leaf gilder and a very promising pyrographer.

Can you share contact details of the club (address, website etc)?  We currently have no newsletter or website. My e-mail address is if you have questions or comments.

Sam Angelo Image5Who (or what!) has had the greatest influence on your turning?  Hands down it would be Richard Raffan. In the early 1990’s I discovered Richard’s work: VCR tapes (yes VCR) that still work and I still watch. I have all of his books which are classics and timeless. Richard taught me “long distance.” I turned scoops, spurtles, boxes and everything contained in his books. He was the mentor I never had. I was lucky to see him demonstrate at the Utah Woodturning symposium this past May.

Who are your favourite woodturners?  Here is my list….. Jimmy Clewes for his teaching and demonstrating style, Cindy Drozda for her friendship and kind, supportive nature. I learned all I know about finials from Cindy. She is one of the most articulate and precise teachers in the world. Stuart Batty who I believe to be technically the best overall woodturner in the world. His videos on Vimeo are a must watch. He is also one of the best teachers of woodturning. Nick Agar who is so willing to share his knowledge. Alan Lacer who is also a great teacher. My first experience demonstrating was with Alan who helped direct me in ways he may never know. Finally, I must acknowledge David Nittmann who is missed by anyone he touched. His influence on us all was immense.

Sam Angelo Image6Do you have a favourite artist, in any medium, other than woodturning? Not really. Although I do look at many forms of art including pottery which is an important comparison to turning wood.

Do you have any formal training that helps your turning (e.g. Art, Design, Photography, Engineering etc)?  No

Do you have any other similar or allied skills? I am 66 years old. I began working for framing contractors the summer before high school: age-15. I continued through college and after. I have worked with wood in one form or another ever since. I have built furniture and cabinets and turned replacement parts for chairs and tables which was my foundation for turning.

Sam Angelo Image7What is the most unusual thing that you have turned?  I am not sure if I have turned much of anything that is so unusual. Maybe it would be chasing threads by hand which is out of the norm for most turners. (I do have a few very weird items I would never show on the internet).

What are your favourite pieces that you have turned?  (Images of these are interspersed through the article)

What is your favourite ‘sphere’ of turning (e.g. Bowls, Platters, Boxes, Pens, Hollow forms etc)?  I would have to say that chasing threads by hand is the most important aspect of my turning. I make items such as burial urns and lidded boxes so I can include a threaded fitment. I connected with John Berkeley author of the book All Screwed Up and the video series Screwples. Through several months and countless e-mails he mentored and taught me proper thread chasing. Any thread chasing skills I have, I owe to John. Below is a playlist of 26 thread chasing videos.

Sam Angelo Image8Are there any other woodturners (or artists / crafters etc) in your family?  My brother Carl is a master at stained glass work: including Tiffany style lamp shades. My brother Mike restores late 1960’s cars. I have learned much from him about finishing and sanding.

What has been your biggest disaster?  On February 6, 2015 I lost part of three fingers on my table saw. Since I had no inclination to stop or alter anything I was doing in my shop, I uploaded a video announcing my mishap and my intentions for the future.

“My Accident”


Is your workshop a dedicated space or shared with other activities (i.e. a garage shared with a car, art studio etc)?  It is a free standing, 1800 square foot building totally dedicated to messing around with wood.

How many lathes do you own?  I own four lathes currently: …..And I teach woodturning classes in beautiful Wyoming.

  • Powermatic 3520
  • Oneway 1224
  • Jet JWL-1221VS
  • Delta 16″ Steel Bed

What is the make and model of your main lathe? Powermatic 3520

Sam Angelo Image10


Do you have a public YouTube channel that you would like to promote?

If you produce YouTube or similar videos, what are your three favourites?

Video ONE: Turning Two Burl Bowls

Video TWO: Resin and Maple Burl Lidded Box

Video THREE: Carver’s Mallet: Chasing the Threads (part 1) (Link to part II in video I).


Do you have any websites that you would like to promote?

I spend much of my time in my shop turning, making videos then editing videos. I must admit I should spend more time watching videos and visiting websites. I could list 20 YouTube channels and many websites. Here are a few that are my favorites:

Alan Stratton–As Wood Turns –

Mike Waldt –

Stuart Batty on Vimeo –

Yuval Lahav –, (See Featured Turner Article)

RonBrownsBest –

I do watch or visit other sites.


What is your favourite drink and snack food whilst in the workshop? Black coffee, Peanut butter, it does not matter what I put it on.


Anything else you would like to say or be known about you and your turning life?  Just keep in mind that YOU are a better and more experienced turner than someone else. That means you can pass on knowledge and skills needed by someone else. And finally a big THANKS to Tom for setting all this up and making it possible. I appreciate your support and friendship over the years. Sam Angelo

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Coming up in future Featured Turner articles we have, amongst others, the ‘Goblet Master’ himself Mike Waldt and Stephen Ogle

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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

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Turning Boxes with Threaded Lids by Bill Bowers

Turning Boxes with Threaded Lids by Bill Bowers