We recently received our review copy of the new how-to book penned by Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Studios. The book is titled Steampunk Gear, Gadgets, and Gizmos. Its no secret that we are friendly with Thomas, his work has appeared in our last two Steampunk Bizarre exhibitions.
That being said, I think he has done a great job putting this book together. If you have ever heard Thomas give one of his panels at a convention, you'll clearly recognize his voice and story telling style all throughout this book. He has lots of side bar anecdotes and tips that come across as though you are listening to Mister Willeford himself.
My favorite section of the book is the chapter he wrote about finding his materials at flea markets and antique stores. I like that he took the time to discuss valuable antiques versus items that are more commonly found and the importance of researching items before disassembling them. Dr. Grymm and I got into steampunk from the angle of enjoying finding old items and learning about their previous purpose as well as a way to give new life to scavenged items so of course this chapter appealed to me.
Beyond that I found the instructions for the projects to be very clear. These are not beginner projects, but I think that is nice. I spend a lot of time in the craft section when I visit a bookstore, so to me it is a boon to have a more complex set of skills involved in the projects. I especially liked the instructions for the Aetheric Ray Deflector solid brass goggles and Professor Grimmelore's Mark I Superior Replacement Arm. I thought both of these projects were good to include in a how-to book because they rely on modifying commonly found items from the hardware store, rather than scavenged pieces. I think for someone new to this kind of project (but experienced with tools and techniques), would find these to be great first steampunk projects.
I would recommend this book as a perfect item to pick up for your favorite Steampunk enthusiast for Christmas. Maybe you might even get a version of one of the items in the book as a return gift! Keep your eye on the blog for a few more reviews coming from the desk of Mrs. Grymm in the next few weeks!