The Complete Intarsia Manual was authored by Newton Ferguson, Fred Martin and Bob Beachum. This is an EBook in .pdf format that can be purchased and downloaded from http://www.intarsiadesigns.com/
I will tell you upfront that I have very little experience with the art of intarsia but have always been fascinated with it. I don't live far from the Judy Gale Roberts studio and have wanted to take one of her classes for years. I never seem to make time to go. For those of you not familiar with intarsia it is the art of using wood as your pallet to create a picture. The grain and color of the wood is selected and shaped to add dimension to the work. You can see in the Light house piece below how the different colors and grain patterns have been chosen to enhance the final piece.
I ran across the Complete Intarsia manual several months ago and decided to purchase it for my own use and to review here on the blog. Well I have yet to make one of the patterns from the book but here is my first impressions of the manual.
The manual cost $17.95. Because it is an electronic download there are no shipping and handling fees. The purchase went smoothly and the download was flawless for me. The size of the file is 1.6 megs so even without a high speed connection you should be able to download the manual. With high speed it only takes seconds.
The order taking is processed by Clickbank which offers secure credit card transactions. They accept all major credit cards as well as Paypal. After the payment is processed you will have immediate access to the manual.
The manual is 113 pages. It contains a complete course in all aspects of intarsia as well as 4 beginner level patterns including the Light house pattern you see in the picture below. They also include links to resources for everything you could need to get started in the art.
This is not your typical "Throw it together in 60 minutes" ebook. Trust me I have purchased several of those. This Ebook is polished and well designed. There is a through and accurate table of contents. They even went to the effort to hot link the table of contents. Just click the title and you are instantly at that section of the book. All the external links to mentioned web sites are active links also. That's a nice touch and I appreciated the their extra work.
The book starts out with a brief but through history of intarsia and Health and safety guide. They only spend a few of pages here but to be honest I bought the manual for learning techniques so I was okay with the brevity here.
The authors spend the next several pages discussing the tools and supplies necessary to get started in the art. They explain that you can get started relatively cheaply with either a band saw or scroll saw and some sand paper. Then they give advice on the merits of the different saws. These sections are full of good advice. They are brief and to the point without too much filler just to make the book longer. The section on sanding is very important and should be read thoroughly. You will be spending a bunch of time sanding in this art and you want good efficient tools here for sure.
The next few sections include good and complete information on wood choices, glues and finishing products. These sections are again only as long as necessary to give you the information you need. Brief and to the point. That's what I want.
The meat and potatoes of the manual is the "Making Intarsia" section. This is where you will be shown the two basic methods of putting together a project. The methods are "Cut and paste" and "Tracing". I thought both methods were described in an easy to understand language with helpful pictures. Let me also mention here about the photos in this manual. They are very professional well lit and clear photographs. This sounds like a minor detail but if you ever purchase an Ebook with terrible photos you will immediately appreciate their attention to detail here. Again I think the material in this most important section was well thought out and clearly presented.
The next section of helpful links was difficult for the authors because web sites come and go. The links in the book were bound to become obsolete sooner or later. I did not click every link but I did find a few that were no longer active. I did not find this a problem. There are enough good links to sites that it was still useful. The link to Judy Gale Roberts web site is enough alone to inspire you for years to come. Let me make the point here that the patterns by Judy Gale Roberts are simply the best in the world. She sells every difficulty level pattern and they are truly incredible.
The last section of the book contains the four free patterns. They are nice looking projects that will give you enough to work on for a while. I would say that if you complete these patterns you will be on your way to becoming an intarsia artist. The patterns are clearly printed but had to be split up over more than one page because of size restraints. Not a big deal but a minor frustration.
In conclusion I give these authors an excellent review for their through and well laid out material. The writing is clear and understandable. The photos are superb and the information is brief and to the point. There is nothing like taking a course in a workshop environment with a skilled craftsman to lead you through the class but if that's not possible for you then take a look at this manual. The $17.95 price tag seems like a fair value to me for what you get.
I have received no financial or other benefit for this review from the authors or any other party. The review is based on my own experience with the book. These are just my experiences and your experience may not be the same. Always use your own judgment when purchasing online material. Just as in the real world transactions can go wrong from time to time. I take no responsibility for your transaction with the purchase of this book.
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