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Moulding and Picture Frames with Avian Rogers and Les Cizek, ©1985 by Do It Yourself. Inc.. 5250 Seventy-Seven Center Dr.. Charlotte. NC 28210. 30 minutes, $19.95

This is the fifth in a series of six tapes from Do It Yourself Video Corporation, and I chose to view it because its subject matter is not covered elsewhere. It’s also the first tape I’ve seen featuring a team presentation, to wit. Avian Rogers, a TV Do It Yourself series hostess, and Les Cizek, a woodworker and teacher. The six videos are an expansion of subject matter covered in a TV series.

1 expected the tape to open with examples of mouldings and picture frames that can be made. but instead the instructor immediately runs through the steps to be covered in the forthcoming project. Most people. I believe, would want to see a completed project first. He refers to several highly specialized items with which a beginner may not be familiar: splines, miters, and rabbets, for example. True, a glossary of terms appears in the booklet which accompanies the video, but I discovered this later. Such lack of coordination weakens what otherwise could be an effective teaching combination. No mention was made of the booklet or how to use it in conjunction with the tape. Consequently, the booklet comes across like a parenthetic afterthought.

In the first section, called Preparing the Stock, a finger board is shown mounted on a table saw. but no explanation of what a finger board is or how to use it is given. At the end of the tape, in a special Safety Section, you can find the answer. There’s no mention of what is contained in the Safety Section anywhere, and the booklet has no index either. so the only way you can find anything is by leafing through it.

The instructions given in this tape are grossly incomplete. It does not provide enough information for beginners to use. and I can’t imagine why a professional would waste his time looking at it.

Building Tables with Avian Rogers and Les Cizek, ©1985 by Do It Yourself. Inc., 5250 Seventy-Seven Center Dr.. Charlotte, NC 28210.30 minutes. $19.95

This was the first in the series from DIY Video. In it you can learn how to build a simple table with a solid top. doweled rails, and square-tapered legs.

If you don’t mind muddling through a lot of details not covered in this video and can tolerate making a few mistakes, you really ought to be able to build this table. There’s a fairly decent explanation on the basic use of a jointer for edge treatment and how to use a taper jig on a table saw. Their idea of using plastic mirror clips to fasten the table top to the rails is one good way to avoid specialty hardware or sawing out your own hold-down blocks.

Avian recommends putting glue on both faces of a joint, which I never do. If you use her application method (smearing glue with a finger), it might actually be a good idea to put it on both faces.

When the leg and rail glue-up was done (with no mention at all of doing a dry-assembly first), diagonal measurements showed that it came out perfectly square the first time; why was there no instruction on how to proceed if it wasn’t square?

And why sand before you use a router bit to chamfer or round over the table edges? The particles of sand left behind or imbedded in the wood dull router bits (or any other cutting edge for that matter). It makes more sense to sand afterwards.

The fact that I raise these questions reflects my reaction to the video, though 1 liked it better than the one on picture frames because it is more complete. Now for my final question: Why imply that the viewer is going to learn how to build that fancy table in the picture on the front of the cassette box. when the tape teaches you to build a totally different project?

Carving Techniques and Projects with Sam Bush and Mack Headley. Jr.. ©1986 by The Taunton Press. Box 355, Newtown. CT 06470.90 minutes. $29.95 or $ 14.95 as a rental

In this video, two accomplished carvers demonstrate their techniques. Having done some relief panels myself, 1 have some appreciation for what is being taught here, and to my knowledge, this is the only tape available on carving incised letters and low relief.

The close ups in this tape are excellent. Bush’s clear commentary helps immensely. He also has much of value to say in the booklet that supplements the visual instruction. Carving can be such a pleasure when grain is cooperative and your tools are razor sharp. Once you’ve tried it. watching somebody else do a masterful job of it is pure pleasure.

1 was particularly impressed by Sam Bush’s presentation. Bush’s technique leaves nothing to be desired. He is a good craftsman and expresses himself with precision and clarity. His demonstration reflects the eleven years he spent teaching the craft and the twenty-two years he has been carving. Among other things. Bush shows how to use specialized tools. He uses a skew chisel to advantage and demonstrates one application of a short bend tool. He introduces and completes two projects—incised lettering and a capital letter in relief.

Letters are of great value in practicing carving because if you make an irreparable mistake incising one, you have not lost much in the way of time and effort. If an enthusiastic beginner attempted to carve an entire panel in relief and muffed it somewhere halfway through, it might well deal a death blow to his budding career. Almost all the basic techniques of dealing with grain direction and breakout can be learned from carving letters.

As his contribution to the tape. Mack Headley carves a shell in low relief. I found his explanations confusing from time to time. He is an excellent, sensitive carver, but as an instructor he tends to intellectualize instead of coming straight to the point. This might be a problem for others besides myself. By analogy, comparing Bush’s instruction with Headley’s. 1 would describe Bush as a potentially good joke teller, where Headley might complicate the joke unnecessarily and then blow the punch line. Still, most of what he does convey clearly has great importance.

Anyone wanting good instruction in relief carving should get this valuable tape.

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