Metalworking: A Manual of Techniques By Mike George

While I have spent some time in the metal working shop, I wouldn't by any means consider myself an expert in the ways of metal work. There is so much to know, so many techniques to take a blob of metal and make into something useful.

This book is aimed at setting up your own shop and expects the user to have basic hand tool skills. By no Stuart the lathe by Elsie esq.means is this an engineers handbook, but more of a get-you-going-in-the-metal-shop book. The book is split into two main sections, the first covers working metal by hand, including soldering, brazing, drilling, filing, etc. The second half of the book focusses on lathe work and setting up a lathe (like the one pictures here "Stuart the lathe" by Elsie esq. in one's own shop.

Admittedly this book, at roughly 150 pages, doesn't have any hope of informing the reader about half the difficulties that one might experience in metal work but as a beginners book it does offer the reader an opportunity to get familiar with the basics. The projects at the end seem reasonably do-able which is quite encouraging.

My only beef with this book is that the lathe section at points is pretty hard to follow. Explaining lathe work in writing is clearly very difficult. A lathe is a specific machine with specific parts and describing how to perform a complicated operation really requires you to either be intimate with the machine or have one right in front of you as you read. I don't really fault the author, complicated physical operations are hard to put into writing. But sometimes a little bit of humour and the occasional nod to the novice who is probably lost, makes the reader feel like the author understands some things are difficult to learn from a book.

As someone who is interested in metal work and more generally, engineering, I'm probably an easy target, but all the same after reading this book, my desire to give up my apartment dwelling and move to country, setup a metal shop, and start lathing and brazing has only intensified.