Books for Makers – A gift guide of lost arts and new tech

Books for Makers – A gift guide of lost arts and new tech

Make Pt0130
This year we have a lot of new books from MAKE – each of our new books are from the team that brings you MAKE, CRAFT & HACKS – in addition to our new books we’ve searched the world for the most talented authors & publishers out there that have books in the world of making, I’m really proud of our collection this year and it’s getting better each month! If you like MAKE and the things we celebrate you’ll like these books, I’ve picked out some “lost arts” books like chainsaw art and soap box derby construction, along with more updated tech like astronomy. They make great gifts for the holidays! As you’ll see many of these books aren’t from MAKE at all, they’re books we’re selling in our store (and at Maker Faires) that we think you or your special maker out there will really enjoy! Here we go!

Art of Chainsaw Carving by Jessie Groeschen
Price: $19.95
Buy: Maker store – Link.

Since the 1960s, carving with a chainsaw has captured the attention of artists and enthusiasts because of its intriguing combination of excitement, danger, and beauty. Today, due to the increasing number of competitions and performances and a rapidly growing community of talented artists participating in the craft, chainsaw carving has emerged as a highly respected art form that resides in a class by itself.

In Art of Chainsaw Carving, noted chainsaw sculptor Jessie Groeschen presents an insider’s look at the major artists, both past and present, whose unique and pioneering talents, artistic styles, and personalities make this art form so fascinating. In addition, you’ll find an informative step-by-step chapter on how to carve a beautiful Sun, Moon, Bear chair. Demonstrated by the author herself, the project reveals the fascinating process of using a chainsaw to unlock the raw and natural beauty of wood.

Make Pt0129
Fantastic Flight & Gliding Flight by John Michael Collins
Price: $16.95
Buy: Maker store – Link (Fantastic Flight).
Buy: Maker store – Link (Gliding Flight).

These aren’t your ordinary paper airplanes. These airplanes loop, circle back, flap their wings and spin, tumble, soar, and, of course, glide. In his best-selling book, THE GLIDING FLIGHT, award-winning paper airplane designer John Michael Collins introduced us to the craft of paper airplane folding. In FANTASTIC FLIGHT, the much-anticipated sequel, Collins reveals the next generation of fold-and-fly fun. He explains how to craft 24 new and amazing flying machines–like the Looper, the Bat plane, the Super Canard, and the Manta Ray–using just single sheets of paper.

Featuring a wide range of paper airplanes, from simple designs suitable for young children to more complex planes that, believe it or not, will stay aloft indefinitely, FANTASTIC FLIGHT presents clear, step-by-step folding instructions for an activity the whole family can enjoy. As an extra bonus for teachers, Collins includes a special section on planning educational paper airplane contests complete with lesson ideas. FANTASTIC FLIGHT reveals how to combine aerodynamics, origami, and a single sheet of paper to create phenomenal flying fun.

THE GLIDING FLIGHT is a return to paper airplane basics: one person, one piece of paper, and a few folds later, one airplane. Using a refreshingly inventive approach to designs and flying characteristics, you can make 20 original paper planes, such as the Stealth, the Wind Devil, the Glart, and the Skid Kid. The book’s flip-book animation demonstrates the basic origami folds, with clear step-by-step assembly for each design. A crease here and there is all you need to create high-performance aircraft — no scissors, no glue. In the current age of electronic toys, THE GLIDING LIGHT proves you can still have fun with a simple sheet of paper and a little imagination.

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Whoosh-Boom-Splat : The Garage Warrior’s Guide to Building Projectile Shooters by William Gurstelle
Price: $16.95
Buy: Maker store – Link.

These are the homemade machines that you’ve dreamed of building, from the high-voltage Night Lighter 36 spud gun to the Jam Jar Jet, the Marshmallow Shooter, and the Yagua Blowgun. Including detailed diagrams and supply lists, Gurstelle’s simple, step-by-step instructions help workshop warriors at any skill level achieve impressively powerful results.

With Whoosh Boom Splat, you can build:

  • The Jam Jar Jet – the simple pulse jet engine that roars
  • The Elastic Zip Cannon – a membrane-powered shooter that packs a wallop
  • The Mechanical Toe – a bungee-powered kicking machine
  • The Vortex Launcher – a projectile shooter that uses air bullets for ammunition
  • The Clothespin Snap Shooter – the PG-17 version of a clothespin gun that fires fiery projectiles
  • The Architronito – the steam-powered cannon conceived by Leonardo da Vinci

And many more! In addition to learning how to make these cool gadgets, you’ll find sections packed with information on what makes each machine unique. Gurstelle describes the machine’s historical origins as only he can: with verve, fun, and the sort of quirky details his legions of fans love. Whoosh Boom Splat is a must-have for every extreme tinkerer.

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Pinewood Derby Designs & Patterns by Troy Thorne
Price: $12.95
Buy: Maker store – Link.

Build the coolest car in the pinewood derby! In this ultimate design guide, Troy Thorne – woodworker, artist and derby-winning dad – shares his expert tips, techniques and amazing patterns so parents and scouts of any skill can build a jaw-dropping, prize-winning car that’s quick out of the gate. Officially licensed by the Boy scouts of America, this valuable guide provides 34 amazing patterns and designs along with step-by-step instructions for building a High-Wing Racer, a Stock Car and a Vintage Racecar. Techniques and tips for creating custom decals, applying a high-quality finish, and prepping the car’s wheels, axles, and weight for the race are also included.

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Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders by Robert & Barbara Thompson
Price: $29.99
Buy: Maker store – Link.

With the advent of inexpensive, high-power telescopes priced at under $250, amateur astronomy is now within the reach of anyone, and this is the ideal book to get you started. The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders offers you a guide to the equipment you need, and shows you how and where to find hundreds of spectacular objects in the deep sky — double and multiple stars as well as spectacular star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies.

You get a solid grounding in the fundamental concepts and terminology of astronomy, and specific advice about choosing, buying, using, and maintaining the equipment required for observing. The Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders is designed to be used in the field under the special red-colored lighting used by astronomers, and includes recommended observing targets for beginners and intermediate observers alike. You get detailed start charts and specific information about the best celestial objects.

The objects in this book were chosen to help you meet the requirements for several lists of objects compiled by The Astronomical League ( or the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada ( Messier Club.

  • Binocular Messier Club
  • Urban Observing Club
  • Deep Sky Binocular Club
  • Double Star Club
  • RASC Finest NGC List

Completing the list for a particular observing club entitles anyone who is a member of the Astronomical League or RASC to an award, which includes a certificate and, in some cases, a lapel pin.

This book is perfect for amateur astronomers, students, teachers, or anyone who is ready to dive into this rewarding hobby. Who knows? You might even find a new object, like amateur astronomer Jay McNeil. On a clear cold night in January 2004, he spotted a previously undiscovered celestial object near Orion, now called McNeil’s Nebula. Discover what awaits you in the night sky with the Illustrated Guide to Astronomical Wonders.

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Eccentric Cubicle by Kaden Harris
Price: $29.99
Buy: Maker store – Link.
Sample chapters: – Link.

Who says office cubicles need to be dreary? In this book, author Kaden Harris (creator of www.eccentricgenius.caEccentric Genius) introduces aspiring and die-hard Makers to a highly entertaining parallel universe of surreal office-based projects that are sure to pique the curiosity of even the most jaded office mates.

From desktop guillotines and crossbows to mood-enhancing effects and music makers, each project presents a different set of challenges and opens new avenues of Maker lore. There’s a strong emphasis on the basic mechanical theories and principles of the devices presented in the book, as well as the fabrication techniques you need to use. But this is far more than a book of project “how-tos”. Eccentric Cubicle offers oblique industrial design and fabrication philosophies, countless cultural reference points, and innumerable bad puns.

This book is a dream come true for you office-bound souls who are tech DIY enthusiasts, hobbyist engineers/designers, and Makers at heart. Imagine having your cubicle sport projects such as:

  • A mechanical golfer Lucid dreaming induction device
  • USB-powered bubble blower Fog machine
  • A desktop guillotine
  • And a whole lot more

In the Eccentric Cubicle, Harris starts with classic, time-honored principals, then modernizes and augments his designs with performance enhancements and updated feature sets — all while precariously balancing form, function, and oddness. Scavenging and repurposing materials and components at every opportunity, he challenges and inspires you to modify and adapt the projects and designs to meet your own scale, performance, and aesthetic requirements. Bring character and life to your office desktop with Eccentric Cubicle!

K450 PVC Rocket Engine Design & Construction by Dan Polino
Price: $24.95
Buy: Maker store – Link.

In just a few hours, anyone can build a powerful K450 engine that will send a rocket soaring over 5000 feet! Easy to follow step by step instructions and 137 color illustrations demonstrate the exceptionally simple construction process. Best of all, only common materials are used and no special tools are required.

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Cabaret Mechanical Movement by Aidan Lawrence Onn & Gary Alexander
Price: $19.95
Buy: Maker store – Link.

A fabulous jewel of a book imported from the UK in time for the Holidays. Published by London’s Cabaret Mechanical Theatre (CMT), Cabaret Mechanical Movement is 124 pages packed with diagrams, information and useful tips on making your own automata. Using the machines and automata from CMT to explain levers, shafts, cranks, cams, springs, linkages, ratchets, Drives and Gearing and even coin-op control, this is a great introduction for those inspired to go and make their own work. The book ends with a helpful checklist to keep you going.

If you still don’t know what a cam is, not to worry this book is for you as well.

Art Cars by Harrod Blank
Price: $19.95
Buy: Maker store – Link.

Wearing his passion for this movable art on his sleeve, Blank elaborates on the odd and celebratory beauty of the art car in this sequel to his 1993 Wild Wheels. These highly individual vehicles have been modified by everything from paint (as with Emily Duffy’s mod Mondrian Mobile) to corks (as with Jan Elfman’s relatively subtle Cork Car) to fiberglassed papier-mÆ’ch‚ (as with Julian Stock’s striking, sculptural Skull Truck).

The Great Book of Woodburning by Lora Irish
Price: $19.95
Buy: Maker store – Link.

The Great Book of Woodburning is a very thorough resource for learning and practicing a wide variety of texture strokes; key skills that can be brought into play with every project that a woodburner tackles. Laura Irish strongly recommends creating a ‘practice board’, onto which the many texture strokes should be applied. This practice board becomes, in effect, a ‘palette’, showcasing, and reminding the student of, the many textures and shading techniques that are always available for use. Techniques and textures include crosshatching, linear circles, random curls, check marks, zigzag, grass strokes, wavy lines, seashell circles, tight circles, scales, quilting, herringbone, diagonal ripples, water ripples, scrubby lines, tall grass, bricks, and straight line variations.

The book also covers gradient tones and the sepia scale – tonal values and textures – the keys to creating any well rendered woodburning project.
The use of color with pyrographic work and finishing options are also discussed. More than thirty projects are presented in the Great Book of Woodburning. Each project includes a traceable pattern, and they are divided into a natural progression of skills; from beginner, to intermediate, to advanced.

Mousetrap Powered Cars & Boats by Alden Balmer
Price: $12.00
Buy: Maker store – Link.

Generously illustrated and fun to read, Mousetrap Powered Cars & Boats examines in depth the physics of mousetrap vehicle construction. Packed with excellent tips and written in simple, easy-to-understand terms, this lighthearted book will give your students the information they need to build winning mousetrap dragsters, long-distance racers, boats, and more.

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