I excitedly received my pre-order copy of Marc Spagnolo’s book “Finishing : it ain’t over till it’s over” two days ago. After spending a couple days with it I thought it only appropriate to swing grape soda microscope back around at Marc.
A little bit of a disclaimer here: I’m reviewing the pre-order print version of the book. As I understand it , this is a limited print run and the book will be generally available as an e-book.
From The Back of the Book
“This book presents you with the “Wood Whisperer perspective” on the world of finishing: solid finishing advice explained in a way that any woodworker can understand and implement. As an added bonus, you’ll have access to special online videos and other ressources that will further aid in your comprehension of the subject at hand.”
This category is a gimme for Marc. His casual, entertaining “Wood Whisperer style” transfers well from video to print. For those who have been following the wood whisperer for a while, you can easily hear Marc’s voice in the writing. Scott Johnson’s whimsical illustrations further keep the tone of this book light and entertaining.
Score: 4.5/5 grape sodas
The book is nicely printed and bound. Nothing fancy here. The paper is nice and white and the text is typeset well making it easy to read under my dim bedside light. The printing is black and white which felt a bit off for a finishing book especially the picture of stained pine vs. mahogany. You can’t get a feel for the tone of the wood and the grain’s bit hard to see. I’m guessing the e-book version will be in color and won’t suffer from the same issue.
Score: 3/5 grape sodas
I have to keep reminding myself that this book is meant to be a collection of practical advice to improve your finishing not an end to end explanation of the finishing process. The advice is solid and well supplemented by the videos referenced in the chapters. This is a good book to keep in the shop and quickly review during the various stages of finishing.
Score: 3.5/5 grape sodas
This was the hardest of the categories to evaluate because I pre-ordered the print version at $20 which came with a 3 month extension to my Wood Whisperer Guild membership (a $32 value at the yearly rate) so in some ways the book cost negative money. I don’t have any information on how much Marc will charge for the e-book version.
That being said I am a bit disappointed by how short the book is. Most of the chapters are only a couple pages long and I plowed through the whole book in the first night’s bedtime reading and was left wanting more. That desire for more was mostly sated by watching the supplemental videos last night. Those videos really help to ground the topics covered in the book.
Score: 4/5 grape sodas
Keeps Its Promise
This book delivers on it’s promise “solid finishing advice explained in a way that any woodworker can understand and implement.” Though, I’m not sure what the “other ressources” are aside from possibly the appendix of Marc’s responses to emails he gotten about finishing or the list of URLs at the back.
Score: 4/5 grape sodas
Marc’s book is a solid collection of finishing advice that I think will make a great reference in my workshop. Beginners will get a swath of useful suggestions while intermediate woodworkers will find plenty of tips that they didn’t know or just plain forgot to pay attention to. As for advanced woodworkers; I can’t say. That’s out of my realm.
I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learned from this book to finishing my next project.
And now… punching the numbers into my own highly secret weighted grape soda score algorithm…
*boop* *beep* *click* *whirr*
Final Score: 3.75/5 grape sodas
(apologies for getting sticky grape soda on your new shiny book Marc)