Crafty Book Review: The Art and Craft of Wood

By | April 17, 2017

By Julie Finn

The Art and Craft of Wood

Sooo…. backyard lumberjacking is a thing.

I don’t know why this surprises me. Pretty much everything is a thing, you know? Homemade from scratch dog food is a thing. Harry Potter/The Walking Dead crossover fanfiction is a thing. On a recent camping trip with some hippy mommy friends I learned about orgone boxes, which are also very much a thing. Look them up. J.D. Salinger LOVED his.

Backyard lumberjacking also makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it. Why pay a tree service to haul away all that awesome wood that they cut down, especially after you’ve already had to pay them to cut it down in the first place (we have to have several dead trees cut down this year, and it’s going to be sooooooooo expensive!)? They’re what, just going to chip or shred or landfill all of your gorgeous oak or cherry or pine?

Talk about wasteful!

The authors of The Art and Craft of Wood make a great case for salvaging this wood, processing it or getting it processed yourself, and working with it. Urban lumber is perfect to use, they claim, because it was never intended to be useful–it’s the ultimate case of rescuing something from the waste stream. Mind you, it is a LOT of work. I now know more about chainsaw mills and bandsaw sleds than I am probably ever going to need to know, but I also got interested enough in the process that I Googled local sawmills, and hey, there’s one in my area that will mill your wood for you! And even if you never do end up exactly milling your own wood, it’s still an important process to understand. You’ll never again wonder why wood is so expensive afterwards, although you will wonder why wood is so cheap.

The Art and Craft of Wood also includes several projects that you can make from your urban lumber. Some, such as the bottle opener or the poster frame, could be made from any store-bought wood, but others utilize the special nature of the lumber that you’ve milled or had milled, those interesting pieces with tons of character that would never make it through a commercial sawmill. And that’s another reason for milling your own wood–mass-marketed lumber is made for the mass market. If you want wood with a soul, it’s probably going to have to come from your neighbor’s fallen cedar tree.

I received a free copy of The Art and Craft of Wood, because I can’t write about a book if it hasn’t encouraged me to seriously consider renting a chain mill and cutting down my own dead pine tree. That’s kind of a bad idea, though, right? I mean it’s right next to a power line…

Read more here: Crafting A Green World