WoodCentral's video reviews

Finial Star
by Cindy Drozda

Cindy Drozda: 2008
DVD, 1 hr. 27 min., $34.95

    I was fortunate to have attended an all day demonstration by Cindy Drozda some time ago. Cindy demonstrated how to turn her "Fabulous Finial Bowl" (which she has released on DVD) and she also turned some Banksia Pods. Perhaps the most impressive piece she turned that day was her "Finial Star" lidded bowl. I took good notes and even a few photos, but when I got home I realized these weren't enough for me to duplicate what I saw. There were just too many subtle steps. I waited and waited hoping Cindy would produce a DVD of this piece. Well, this last Fall Cindy released the "Finial Star" on her newest DVD. As soon as I learned of it's release, I contacted the usual turning supply vendors only to find they still didn't have it in stock. Finally, as the supply made it's way into dealer inventory, I probably got one of the first copies. Let me assure you I was not disappointed.
    This DVD not only contains excellent step-by-step instructions to recreate the "Finial Star," it also contains a host of techniques and tips in special chapters throughout the DVD. In addition to the project she has included chapters on finial design, the basic spindle gouge cuts, using TransTint dyes and, finally, sharpening all the tools she uses. Don't take these added bonus chapters lightly. Each is loaded with excellent in-depth discussions clearly demonstrated on the DVD. These extra chapters would be worth the price of the DVD even if the "Final Star" was not included.
    This DVD is the third in a series of DVD's Cindy has released. With each DVD the quality of the production has improved. As with her other DVD's the camera angles and close-up shots are outstanding. The camera really zooms right in on the action so the viewer can see the tool angles, the start of the cut and follow through. Cindy's tool control is amazing, and she clearly shows the viewer what she is doing, while providing a clear commentary as she works. I found the chapter on the three basic cuts outstanding. I've struggled with my detail gouges trying to duplicate some of Cindy's delicate cuts. This chapter spends a great deal of time explaining step by step how to make the cuts and what to avoid. Cindy even shows what can go wrong by purposely altering the entry of the tool at an incorrect angle.
    I also found the chapter on tool sharpening very useful. Cindy's previous DVD's have included sharpening, but I found that in this DVD her narrative was easier to follow; and the shots of her protractor with the tools, grinding wheel and tool rest helped present the subject in a clear and easier to understand fashion. She explains free hand sharpening as well as use of the Vari-Grind Jig. She also demonstrated the misuse of the Vari-Grind Jig and explained what can go wrong as well as how to correct a mis-sharpened tool. Along with the usual gouges she shows how to sharpen all of the tools she used to make the "Finial Star."
    Before she started the "Finial Star" project, Cindy used a large diagram to lay out a strategy for her steps, cuts and chucking points. This is something many of us probably need to do more often. Careful planning before we ever lift a gouge saves a lot of aggravation and dead ends. Once the multi-step process begins, Cindy leads the viewer through the process, carefully covering each cut, and points out potential problem areas that are to be avoided.
    The section on color dying was very informative as she blends and mixes colors to give a "batik" effect similar to the old tie-dye shirts of the 70's. Of course you can choose your own colors so you can go as wild or subtle as you want.
    "Finial Star" is Cindy's best DVD yet. While the project is really aimed at the intermediate turner, the bonus material is very basic and would benefit anyone. The extra chapters on finial design, sharpening, using color dyes, and the basic cuts with a spindle gouge are outstanding and will serve as great resource material for other projects as well as making the Finial Star. Along with the DVD the box also contains a small pamphlet covering each step as well as a full size diagram of the Finial Star Lidded Bowl. The DVD also includes CD-ROM files with the same information. As do all of Cindy's DVDs, the clear close-up video shots of her tool control and cuts really stand out. Cindy and her production crew have taken a lot of time to produce this DVD and their efforts really pay off for the viewer.

. . . Bill Clark