Jerry Glaser takes issue with my complimentary comments on the quality of British woodturning chisels in the Aug. 11 column.
An experienced woodturner and teacher, Glaser believes the Turnmaster five-eighths-inch deep-fluted gouge that is manufactured to his design right here in Southern California is the best available and he sent along a sample for me to try out.
I used it to turn a bowl from ziricote wood from Mexico, a wood that is similar to ebony in hardness. In other words, it makes oak, maple and walnut seem like pine!
A suitable test for a gouge that retails for $74.50, I figured. I alternated between the Turnmaster and one from a relatively inexpensive set of turning tools, not made in England, by the way.
The inexpensive gouge cut poorly, snagged often and soon fractured, as pictured above. The Turnmaster gouge, on the other hand, worked perfectly, with its long-and-strong construction and M-4 high-speed steel making the turning process simple.
Also available from Turnmaster is a nine-sixteenth-inch Bob Stocksdale pattern gouge for $69.50 and a variety of other woodturning chisels for both scraping and cutting operations.
Turnmaster tools can be purchased from the manufacturer at 11577-A Slater Ave., Fountain Valley, Calif. 92708. Postage is paid, but California residents should add 6% sales tax.
Glaser has taught woodturning at The Cutting Edge in West Los Angeles and explained that he designed Turnmaster chisels because he couldn't get the right kind of tools commercially.
He recommends the use of aluminum oxide grinding wheels to sharpen fine chisels. Aluminum oxide is more expensive than the wheels on a typical grinder, but it produces better results with less frustration, he believes.
Where does one obtain exotic hardwoods like ziricote, snakewood, zebrawood or cocobolo? I obtained my ziricote from World Timbers Inc., 3871 Grand View Blvd., West Los Angeles.
Owner Jay McBride teaches "Introduction to Exotic Woods" at The Cutting Edge next door and advises architects and interior designers on the correct use of about 150 woods stocked by the firm. World Timbers is both a retail and wholesale outlet.
It's a fascinating place for any woodworker, especially for those affluent enough to afford woods that can run as high as $25 a pound.
Another source of exotic woods for turning and marquetry is Constantine's Wood Products Inc., 5318 W. 144th St., Lawndale.
Not all policemen who write become as famous as L.A.'s own Joseph Wambaugh; C. William Meyer is a 21-year veteran of the Lincoln Park, N.J., force who has written a book about how to save money building your own home.
A far cry from Wambaugh, but "How to Save Thousands on a New Home" (Home, 32 Sylvan St., Lincoln Park, N.J. 07035, 102 pages, $9.95) is probably more important to more people.
It takes courage to be your own contractor and Meyer explains some of the pitfalls. If you can handle it, you'll probably save between 15% to 20%, he claims.