virtues of wood as a building material are legendary. It’s attractive,
abundant, and easy to work. Pound for pound, it’s stronger than steel.
If properly cared for, it will last indefinitely. And you can use it to
make almost anything, from a tiny box to a huge building.
Blockfront Desk (circa 1740) is one of the finest examples of early
American craftsmanship. "Blockfront" furniture was the first uniquely
American furniture design in the Eastern
Tradition. This piece shows an elegant variation on
the style – a "reverse" blockfront inside the kneehole.
high, 37-1/2" wide, 20" deep
Honduras Mahogany, Hard
CRAFTSMAN: Edmund Townsend, Newport, RI
We may use wood
only if we first
Frank Lloyd Wright
It’s also a complex (and often
perplexing) material. Unlike metals and plastics, whose properties are
fairly consistent throughout, wood is wholly inconsistent. It’s stronger
along the grain than across it. It expands and contracts more in one
direction than another. Its color, weight, and grain pattern vary not
only from species to species but from board to board.
To work with wood — and have it work
for you — first learn its complex nature. In particular, you must
understand three unique properties that affect everything you build.
These are grain, movement, and strength.
Back to the
to all the needs of man, how poor the world would be without wood."
Eric Sloane in Reverence for Wood
Woodworking Design/The Nature of Wood,
part of the Workshop Companion,
essential information about wood, woodwork, and woodworking
necessary to woodworkers and practitioners of the wood arts
to become competent craftsmen.
By Nick Engler.
© 2009 Bookworks, Inc.