The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees: The Ash in Human Culture and History by Robert Penn

(New York: WW Norton, 2015), 245

  • “The pleasure we take from things made from natural materials is an extension of the pleasure we take from nature itself” (12)
  • "When I began working in the wood, firewood started to pile up. I slipped quietly into the annual cycle of cutting back trees in winter, splitting and stacking wood in spring, leaving it to season through the summer, transferring it to the woodshed in autumn, and burning it to keep the tribe warm the following winter, or the winter after that. This cycle is now a cardinal component of my existence. It makes me part of an ancient tradition and gives me a role in the landscape. I often wonder how I ever knew domestic contentment without it." (35)
  • Craftsmanship: the basic and enduring impulse to do a job well, for its own sake (90)
  • Creativity is the mastery of a skill through prolonged practice (104)
  • "Money?" he said with a slow, faun-like smile. "Money's only storing up trouble, I think. I like making bowls more than I like making money." (107)
  • "Every farm woodland, in addition to yielding lumber, fuel and posts, should provide its owner a liberal education. This crop of wisdom never fails, but it is not always harvested." (182) - Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac
  • Baseball bats are ash or (since better kilns in the 1990s) maple
  • This book has lots of references to Walden and makes me want to read it again
  • "So much of cabinet-making is about engineering, albeit with one of nature's gifts: it is about understanding the different species of wood; knowing their load-bearing capacities, stability, and resistance to rot; it is about real knowledge gained by solving real problems. Yet there is also an aesthetic allure in almost every piece of wood." (218)
  • "In its entirety, the desk testified to the skill, judgement, honesty and integrity of the maker; to the years he spent learning his craft, and to this relationship with the wood. It was beautiful." (219)
  • “Walk fifty paces into a wood and there is a sense of things being different: you are cut adrift. Woods are bewitching places, exuding confidence and calm. They invite introspection.” (222)

Topic: Woodworking

Source: UA Library, Good Clean Fun

Created: 2020-03-01
Updated: 2022-07-19-Tue