With continued interest in metal shaping, I’ve expanded my home education following my last book review with Learning the English Wheel by William H. Longyard.
Learning the English Wheel is a fantastic beginner’s guide to wheeling. Longyard begins with a brief history of the tool we call the English Wheel, and progresses into descriptions of the various types and designs of wheeling machines commercially available today. He includes some good advice on what to buy, what to expect from your purchase, and what supporting equipment you’ll need to get started. If you’re a DIY type and are ambitious enough to assemble or design and build your own English Wheel, Longyard covers that too.
From there the book guides readers on proper metal handling and basic wheeling techniques, then moves on to more complicated tracking patterns and projects. Each chapter is loaded with detailed full color photos to accompany the written guidance, and includes some common rookie mistakes and how to avoid them.
Beyond advice for beginners, Longyard follows masters of the craft forming real world projects on wooden and wire bucks, templates and patterns, and damaged originals. Again, with each section featuring many detailed color photos.
Fabrication and metal shaping, particularly involving large equipment like the English Wheel are clearly skills that can only acquired and improved through practice. However, if you’re a novice wheeler, or you’re looking to get your feet wet in metal shaping, Learning the English Wheel by William H. Longyard is a head start you don’t want to miss.
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