Workshop Mastery with Jimmy DiResta: A Guide to Working with Metal, Wood, Plastic, and Leather - Jimmy DiResta, John Baichtal (2016)
Looking back on my career, I’ve encountered many different materials and have learned to use a bunch of tools unique to those materials. Because of this diversity I’ve mostly divided the chapters of this book by material. Let’s go over the projects, tools, and techniques you’ll encounter in the pages ahead:
Chapter 1, The Making of a Maker, introduces me and my background. I’ve worked on a lot of crazy projects over the years.
Chapter 2, Woodshop Mastery, expands your knowledge of woodworking tools and presents four cool projects that make use of those tools: a tool cabinet, a dovetail-joined bench, a toolbox made out of a pallet, and an electric guitar designed to look like an AK-47 assault rifle.
Chapter 3, CNC Projects, switches gears and talks about computer-numerically controlled (CNC) tools, specifically routers. I’ll cover two projects I worked on involving these tools: a dart board enclosure and a wooden sign.
Chapter 4, Working with Metal, switches gears and covers the metal shop, and I’ll comment on the various tools I use for my projects. Then I’ll introduce you to four very different metalworking projects: a box sign cut on a band saw, a machete cut out of a saw blade, a wooden table with aluminum legs shaped on a lathe, and a skull belt buckle made out of cast metal.
Chapter 5, Plastic Projects, describes using styrene, one of my favorite materials with a lot of utility and flexibility. I also show how I built some styrene channel letters, and detail a chess set that I first machined on my lathe in brass, then cast in black and white resin.
Chapter 6, Working with Leather, focuses on the tools and practices of a leatherworker. I show you how I made a sheath for a big knife I forged as well as a leather backpack.
Chapter 7, Building Your Own Tools, concludes the book the best way possible, by describing my love affair with tools. I love playing with tools: using them, of course, but also restoring them and modifying them. I’ll share a number of my favorite tool modifications, then describe five projects showing different approaches toward tool building. The first project shows how to add an aluminum handle to a double-bitted antique axe. I follow that with a lathe-turned mallet, a metal locket with functional keys attached to it, a brass-ringed wooden mallet, and an ice pick that I mass-produced for my online store.
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Jimmy DiResta: To my father, Joe DiResta, for giving me tools at a young age, and my mother, Eileen DiResta, for giving me patience to learn how to use them.
John Baichtal: The lion’s share of thanks goes to Jimmy. I enjoyed working on the book with you and learned a ton. Let’s do another one! Special thanks go to Brian Jepson and Roger Stewart for making this book possible. Finally, thanks beyond words go to my wife Elise, mom Barbara, mother-in-law Barbara, and kids Arden, Rose, and Jack for having continually encouraged and inspired me over the years.