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Friday, May 30, 2014


A perfect starting point for anyone wanting to get involved in woodwork. (Review by Keith Millar)

Do It Yourself books are often dry, factual, and a little boring. They also assume that you know a lot more than you actually do, and that you have a workshop filled with the most amazing tools, and you are a master of them all.

Not so Peter Alkema’s Woodworking For Everyone. He has produced a book which is practical, easy to follow and written with good-natured character. The projects in the book are beautifully presented and would be do-able for anyone who is interested in woodwork.

Each chapter is richly illustrated with photographs, drawings and an exploded isometric view of the project which, along with the step-by-step instructions, make the construction very easy to follow. There are clear and concise cutting and material lists which will be invaluable when purchasing supplies for the job. Alkema starts each chapter describing the background of how the project is used in his home as well as the design and construction principals involved. He also offers ideas on what he would do differently if he were to tackle the project again.

Alkema is a family man who has five young children, including two sets of twins. It is therefore understandable that most of the 13 projects in the book are designed around the needs of a growing young family. There are plans for a toy box, bookcases, nursery shelves, a school desk, a toy shelf, a child’s bed, bunk beds, and a splendid and unique Wendy house.

Other projects include a window seat, a gym bench, a workbench and a very attractive garden bench.

There is also a chapter on the tools and techniques required to tackle the projects in this book. No specialised tools are required and all the projects can be built using a basic selection of hand and power tools.

Woodwork For Everyone is an attractive hard cover, glossy book, which could be displayed on a coffee table. However, it would be much better employed getting dusty and grubby in the workshop.

Working with wood can be therapeutic. It is relaxing and invigorating and the sense of pleasure on completion of a project is very satisfying. Woodwork For Everyone would be a perfect starting point for anyone wanting to get involved in this hobby. Experts may also be interested in the basic and practical projects.

Now, if you would excuse me – I have a very attractive garden bench to go and build!

Woodwork For Everyone is published by Struik Lifestyle. The ISDN Number is 9781431700219 and the suggested retail price is R250. The book is also available in Afrikaans. – Keith Millar