How many things can you make out of a single tree? We guess it depends on what you’re trying to make. In the case of the author of The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees, cutting down a single tree produced over 40 different items of various uses and function.
Written by Robert Penn, the book follows the author as he cuts down an ash tree and brings blocks of it to different craftsmen for building into a variety of objects. Yes, the same humble ash wood we frequently relegate to firewood duty. From large items like writing desks and toboggans to smaller fare like arrows and bowls, he chronicles the fallen tree’s fate, while musing on the various narratives that surround it.
Rather than offer a step-by-step carpentry tutorial, The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees focuses more on the craftsmen he hires to do each piece and their craft, along with musings on the history of ash, its functions, and its limitations. He sprinkles in accompanying passages from science and history, as well as a heaping of trivia on historical items that saw ash used as the material of choice. Across 240 pages, the book chronicles over two years in the author’s life as he visits craftsmen around the UK with his ash wood in tow, along with trips to specialty makers in Ireland, Austria, and the US.
The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees is available in hardcover form, priced at $21.50.