This page is where I have many out print and out of copy-write books. many of them are very old with recipes and formulae from a by gone era. Many of them, if not all, are a gold mine of lost information, old recipes, formulations, and practices, very handy for those who like to mix and make their own finishes. General information on wood turning, engineering for the DIY toolmakers and what ever else I come across that’s interesting. They are organised under various headings and as I get time I will add to them and write a brief summary for each one.

Click on the image to download the PDF.


A collection of early wood turning publications, the essential techniques or fundamentals that haven’t really change much over the centuries and this makes these books still relevant to this day.

Art and Education in Wood TurningThe Art and Education in Wood Turning.  120 pages with 39 plates. Covers other material besides wood for turning. This is a good book for those who are starting out in wood turning. As it goes through the basic shop layout, tools and lathes. The final chapters offer some simple pieces to turn and the best way to go about them.

"LatheLathe Work for Beginners.  289 pages.  This book is quite a comprehensive publication covering both metal and wood turning lathes. Within its pages there are comprehensive instructions for properly using the various tools, including complete directions for wood and metal Turning, Screw Cutting, Measuring tools, Wood Turning, Metal Spinning, etc and instructions for building Home-made Lathes with their attachments. The wood turning is in the latter half of the book and its one of those books for serious minded DIY guys as it covers many areas we often ask questions about.

Wood TurningThe Woodworker Series,  Wood Turning 166 pages. Turning, one of the most effective and satisfying modes of ornament, has been employed from the earliest times in constructive and decorative woodwork, and this volume has been designed to assist the professional craftsman and the amateur in practical lathe work. This volume covers some of the practical aspects of wood turning as well as specialized practices such as twisted or spiral turning, split turnings etc.

Manual for Hand LatheA Manual of the Hand Lathe. 153 pages. Concise directions for working metals; dyeing, colouring, and French polishing; inlaying by veneers, and various methods practised to produce elaborate work with dispatch, and at small expense. Also information on turning various materials such as bone, exotics wood and even ivory. Although these days it will be faux ivory and added to that techniques that will help you master the lathe.


Here I have tried to find old finishes and little tricks especially by Luthiers as these guys have produced amazing finishes in the past.

Cremona Violins and Finishes Information and recipe for Cremona violin varnish.  48 pages. This one is all about violins and varnish. A lot of the information and recipes have long since been lost or are in the hands of various luthiers of which not many wood turners have a ready access to. It deals with the ‘Cremona violin making region’ A province in Northern Italy The city of Cremona is especially noted for its musical history and traditions, including some of the earliest and most renown luthiers, such as Giuseppe Guarneri, Antonio Stradivari, and several members of the Amati family.


Like most turners I play around with my finishes looking for  the one finish that fits all or one that’s super simple and idiot proof. Yeah I know its a bit ambitious if not naive.

Paint and Varnish Facts and FormulaePaint and Varnish Facts and Formulae 199 pages. A Hand Book for the Maker, Dealer and User of Paints and Varnishes.

Recipies for the Colour, Paint, Varnish, Oil, Soap and Drysalty TradesRecipes for the Colour, Paint, Varnish , Oil, Soap and Drysaltry Trades.

Wood engraving:

Some thing I found on my travels, not sure if I will use it, but never the less I find it interesting.

The Handbook of Wood EngravingThe Handbook of Wood  Engraving. 101 pages. It is not unreasonable to suppose that a book of this kind, however full and complete, will take the place of a good teacher, but if for any reason a person desires to make a beginning without a master, he will be enabled to do so by heading its directions.

Charles Holtzappfel

One of if not  the Master of ornamental turning and from an engineering perspective fascinating mechanical lathes . When you consider the times they were made and the fact they were all hand made, no CNC in those days, very impressive. Some of this Holtzappfel works  aren’t so easy to find and as time goes by they are getting harder to find.

Ibbetson's Geometric Chuck Manufactured by Holtzapfel & Co Ibbetson’s Geometric Chuck Manufactured by Holtzapfel & Co. 49 pages. “The object of this Memoir is to bring under the notice of the public – particularly under that of the Amateur Turner and of those who take pleasure in the investigation of the organical description of curves – the powers and capabilities of the instrument alluded to in the title page.”

Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 1 Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 1. 508 pages.

Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 2 Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 2. 608 pages.

Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 3 Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 3. 493 pages.

Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 4 Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 4. 636 pages.

Cabinet making:

This is a bit of a hang over from pre-wood turning days. 🙂

The Cabinet Maker's Guide The Cabinet Maker’s Guide. The Cabinet Maker’s guide or rules and instructions in the art of varnishing, dying, staining, japanning, polishing, lackering and beautifying wood, ivory, tortoiseshell and metal with observations on their management and application.


This is more of a reference section for those who want to know more about engineering and the various aspects. Its not a ‘how to make’ any specific tooling related to wood turning, but rather a back ground info section to help develop the abilities you need to have a go at some engineering projects.

Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 1 Turning and Mechanical Manipulation by Holtzapfel Vol. 1. 508 pages.

Cyclopedia of Mechanical Engineering Cyclopedia of Mechanical Engineering. A general reference work on machine shop practices, tool making, forging, pattern making, foundry work, metallurgy, steam boilers and engines, gas producers, gas engines, automobiles, elevators, refrigeration. sheet metal work, mechanical drawing and machine design.

Tinman's ManualTinman’s Manual and Builder’s and Mechanic’s Handbook. Second edition, 204 pages.


A more hands on for those who would like to add more skills to their bag and perhaps combine the new skills to elevate their artistic bent with metal and wood.

Hand Forging and Wrought Iron Ornamental Work Hand Forging and Wrought Iron Ornamental Work. 189 pages.


This is a small collection of art books one of the museums made available.

Book Arts of Isfahan. Diversity and Identity in Seventeenth-Century PersiaBook Arts of Isfahan. Diversity and Identity in Seventeenth-Century Persia. Diversity and Identity in Seventeenth Century Persia at the J. Paul Getty Museum (October 24,1995 -January14, 1996) focuses on the role of images in articulating the identities of various groups of people in Isfahan while that city was the capital of Safavid Persia (1597-1722).

UrushiUrushi. “The Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties and the Getty Conservation Institute cosponsored an international meeting for the study of oriental lacquerware (urushi) in Japan in June 1985. The meeting was the first opportunity for urushi specialists to exchange knowledge of historical, technical, and scientific issues, thereby promoting mutual understanding and interest in the conservation of this material.”

Conservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk RoadConservation of Ancient Sites on the Silk Road. The Mogao Grottoes are located along the ancient caravan routes—collectively known as the Silk Road—that once linked China with the West. Founded by Buddhist monks in the late fourth century, Mogao grew gradually over the following millennium, as monks, local rulers, and travelers carved hundreds of cave temples into a mile-long rock cliff and adorned them with vibrant murals portraying Buddhist scripture, Silk Road rulers, and detailed scenes of everyday life.