Most helpful positive review
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
This book should be on every stickmaker's bookshelf!
on 5 November 2003
The traditional craft of stickmaking as practised in the UK is not an easy subject to cover. Every stickmaker develops his/her own variations on the technique and the success of each part of the process depends largely on the very specific finer points of selection and use of the necessary tools. These aspects cannot really be conveyed in written instructions; you need hands-on instruction and practice to achieve the best results with any degree of consistency.
However, Jones & George have produced what is undoubtedly the best available how-to-do-it work on the subject. The authors wisely keep to the mainstream of current UK stickmaking practice and cover the subject in very clear and well-illustrated articles, broadly progressing from a simple one-piece knobstick to working with buffalo and ram horn, and carving in wood.
Every step is accompanied by superb photographs and illustrations, showing exactly what the reader needs to see. And at the end there is a small gallery of photos of some of the most gorgeous sticks you could hope to see. This shows just what can be achieved with the techniques being discussed.
Where purpose-made tools and jigs are required, as when working with horn, full details of their construction are included. We may not all have the facilities to make these ourselves, but there is enough detail here to enable the would-be stickmaker to hand the book to Someone Who Can, and say "Make me one of those". Failing this, there is a very helpful list of specialist suppliers in the back of the book - though there is no guarantee these will all still be current.
The Stickmaking Handbook is without doubt the definitive current work on the subject. It's essential reading for every would-be stickmaker - and I can think of a few old hands who could learn something from it, too!
Once the techniques described here have been assimilated, the reader may wish to read Theo Fossel's "Walking & Working Sticks", which gives a rather different take on the subject, particularly on working with horn. There are many interesting ideas here which can be incorporated into one's arsenal. However, it's not in the same class as the Stickmaking Handbook and I can't recommend it as a starting point for anyone new to stickmaking.