Jacobs’ nuts-and-bolts mechanics guide covers what a layperson or newbie mechanic would need to get a foothold in the field.
Though little attempt is made to go into any particular depth, the book’s scattershot compilation of everything from parts to pumps will well serve anyone entering the world of mechanics for the first time. The initial chapter on basic mechanical theory addresses measures and motion, ending with the devices that control and power many of today’s machines. Chapter 2, “The Six Machines,” delves into levers, gears, screws and the concept of mechanical advantage, and in “Mechanical Components,” Jacobs goes into cams, solenoids, rollers, clutches, chains and a rudimentary description of the four-stroke gasoline engine. The next chapter, aptly named “Tools,” covers a wide range of basic hand tools, from hammers to pliers, including a few common power tools. The final chapter, “Mounting and Fastening Components,” introduces everything from bolts to bearings, with a smattering of electrical connections and a brief introduction to levers and linkages. Every chapter is rife with visuals to help identify the tools, parts, devices and concepts being presented. In most cases, the thumbnail illustrations are enough to get the author’s point across, and the photos adequately portray the subject matter. Since the book is so light on text, readers can easily go cover to cover in a very short time, grasping basic mechanical concepts without getting overly technical. However, the book suffers from a few drawbacks that could be easily remedied. In some cases, there’s a needless repetition of illustrations and photos, as when showing screw slot types. In other instances, some illustrations—such as those covering clutches, cams and levers—are simply too rudimentary to convey the author’s intention. The page layouts could be improved through the use of a professional designer: With an arbitrary mix of illustration and photography (black and white and color), there seems to be little consistency from page to page in terms of design.
An informative first book for novices that covers a wide range of basic mechanics, tools and measures.