WoodCentral's Book Reviews
The Art of Turned Bowls

The Art of Turned Bowls
by Richard Raffan

Taunton Press: 2008
Paperback, 160 pp., $24.95
ISBN 978-1-56158-954-8

     From the acknowledgments page by Richard Raffan: "I approached turners whose work I admire, inviting them to share their creations and ideas. We aim to ignite some spark that inflames your creativity." Well, mission accomplished.
     Raffan tells where to acquire wood, how to assess its turning value, and how to prepare blanks from a log. He shows turned samples of bowls from quarter-sawn and flat-sawn blanks, illustrating growth ring orientation and differing grain patterns in the finished product. When he discusses form, he gives many variations in line illustrations, comparing feet, rims, general symmetry and all manner of curvature. He describes the relationship of inside to outside curves, and cuts open many bowls to present them in cross section, with comments on balance, weight and fair curves.
     The author emphasizes rim design, natural edges, inside decoration, and varied bases. He talks about working with warp when turning green material, and how to avoid common problems when 'turning green.' Surface decoration is covered, with examples of beading and grooving, coloring, burning and sand blasting. The final chapter is on Decorative Reshaping: "Carved, Pierced, Hacked, Hewed, and Joined."
     As an inspiration for woodturners, this book is a great success. But more than that, it will teach turners to develop an eye, to be able to see and judge flaws in design, and how to improve on them.

. . . Barb Siddiqui