Friday, January 23, 2009

The Handplane Book, by Garrett Hack

I wanted to know more about how to tune up my handplanes. For those of you wondering, these are fundamental to woodworking: they take a small shave of wood, enabling boards to meet each other tightly for jointing them together in a variety of ways. It is important to working with wood.

About a quarter of the book was interesting. The remainder was more about planes than I ever wanted to know. The target audience seems to be collectors of old planes and those who are unnaturally obsessed with this topic.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Table Saw Book, by Kelly Mehler

This book will tell you more about table saws than you knew you wanted to know. But it is more of an entry level, beginner's guide than a long-term useful reference for a hobbyist woodworker. And the author's fascination with European saws is annoying: most folks in the target demographic for this book are not eager to spend $5,000 on a European saw.

One good takeaway though: a saw with a riving blade is better than one without, all things considered.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Charlemagne Pursuit, by Steve Berry

Berry's latest Cotton Malone spy adventure follows his usual formula. That is to say, the personal involvement of a US President is unconvincing, the extent of the bad guy's evil deeds is convincing, it all ends up just swell but with an open door to the inevitable next book.

I really can't complain as it mostly held my interest.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Complete Guide to Sharpening, by Leonard Lee

This is the definitive guide to sharpening almost anything. The high magnification shots - a razor blade at 4 microns, and a chisel blade just as sharp - are great. A guide to how to sharpen almost anything, and more about metallurgy than I ever wanted to know.

Bones, by Jonathan Kellerman

Kellerman's crime novels feature psychologist Alex Delaware and police detective Milo Sturgis. This one is by the book: interesting but unexceptional.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Fighter's Heart, by Sam Sheridan

This auto-biographical look at fighting (MMA or mixed martial arts, muay thai, and jui-jitsu) is almost great. Two chapters are noticeably weak: chapter 3, in which Sheridan reports rather than lives the events, and chapter 9, in which he tries for a book summary. A better writer might have gotten through these more effectively. But the book is worth reading for anyone curious about this sort of stuff.