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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review - Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos

Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos ; A Maker's Guide to Creating Modern Artifacts by Thomas Willeford has a stated intention of teaching you to make you own retro futuristic accessories.

This is the book you're looking for if you're ready to take that next step into steampunk. If jewelry collage assemblages made with watch parts and sewing miniature top hats isn't doing it for you and you want to go bigger.

The author starts by explaining a bit about steampunk, it's origins and what it is stylistically speaking, and also what it is not.

He explains the tools and skills you'll need and how to find some of the tools less expensively . He tells you what tools will be necessary and which tools are wonderful to have if you can find room and afford them.

Then he goes into wonderful amounts of detail about how to find the pieces you need for your projects through thrift stores and other second hand dealers and what you can buy new. How to look in hardware stores for inspiration and using things in new unexpected ways. To me, this isn't just about steampunk, but it's the heart of crafting and the D.I.Y. ethic, to see creatively how things can be re-purposed and recycled.

A very practical chapter on taking apart an old clock for parts comes next.

The projects! Starting with the one thing everyone needs, goggles and ending with a cyber arm that looks like it might have come off a cylon if the cylon was built in Victoria's England. They have imagination inspiring names like "Aetheric Ray Deflector Solid Brass Goggles" which can be just a little scary. Don't worry. While this book has "only" 8 projects, those projects are explained and photographed in exhausting detail. This is a primer to various methods of making things and using things. The information will be used in other projects you think of yourself.

Some power tools are helpful, as well as knowing how to use them. If you're not comfortable with serious tools, almost everything in the book can be done with hand held manual tools and small easy to use power tools like rotary tools and power drills.

What I like most about this book is how much it inspires my 20 year old son. He's been reading steampunk for a few years and getting more interested in making himself costumes and other things that follow that aesthetic.

I definitely recommend this book. It's well written and accessible with great projects.

My reviews are always my personal and honest opinion. You can read more about my review policy here.

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