Fox Chapel Publishing - To Turn the Perfect Wooden Bowl by Ron Roszkiewicz (Rating: 5)

(this review was first posted in the November 2009 eMag)

When I picked this book for the book review this month I wasn't sure what I was going find. I don't do much on a lathe (pens and mice, actually) and I have never attempted to make a bowl. I wasn't 100% sure that this was going to be a great book for me. What a pleasant surprise I received!

Right from the start the author had my interest - and I mean from the start! The foreword, the behind the book story, was just as fascinating as the book itself. Once I started reading I simply didn't want to put it down. To Turn the Perfect Wooden Bowl is basically an interview with Bob Stocksdale, one of the bowl-turning gurus of all times. Within the pages of the book, we get to know Bob almost on a personal level. We are painted the picture of his childhood, his relationship with wood, and, for those bowl-turners out there, his tips and tricks to turn that perfect bowl.

In one of the quotes, Mr. Stocksdale says that he tries to bring out the inner beauty of the wood. Perhaps this is what makes him an exceptional artist. Throughout the pages of the book, we see one example after another where he seems to be connected with the wood, knowing what lies within the outer layers. As I read the book I was reminded of Michelangelo saying that, with his statue of David, he just chipped away anything that wasn't David! That special connection that an artist has with the material he is working with takes a beautiful piece of work and makes it exceptional.

Here at LumberJocks.com our members share their personal journeys of attaining this level of connection with wood. Some of us may never reach that pinnacle but will definitely enjoy the journey, especially when we are inspired by such work as that of Bob Stocksdale and books such as To Turn the Perfect Wooden Bowl.

My Ratings of The Book
Layout and Appearance: Wonderful balance of photographs, interview questions, and quotes from letters and news clippings. Thumbs Up!
Instructions: Lots of tidbits of information tucked away in the interview. Thumbs Up!
Inspiration: "in leaps and bounds". Thumbs Up!
Overall: Thumbs Up!