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A Reverence for Wood by Eric Sloane

A Reverence for Wood (1965)

by Eric Sloane

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In this book, Eric Sloane extols all the wondrous virtues of wood. From deconstructed barn planks, to the handles of tools, charcoal, and the living cells of trees, he loves it all. He relates many stories of how wood was used in the Americas, both by Native Americans and early European settlers.

As always, I love Sloane's appreciation for the past and longing for simplicity. One of my favorite parts is when Sloane talks about the old barn door he uses for a kitchen table because he loves the wood so much. He talks about sitting at his table, eating breakfast, and musing over all the stories the wood could tell. The scratches near the latch where a farmer must have lit a match for a pipe, the scratches of a dog jumping on the door, the nail where a wreath may have hung. It reminded me of an old table I got at a thrift store. It obviously belonged to a family with children. The wood was soft, so there were indentations from math homework done at the tables, names written on the table, and some other things. It had a lot of character and I often spend my meals wondering about the family that had previously owned the table. I very much relate to the pleasure Sloane finds in reflecting on the history of particular objects and imagining all the people who have either played a role in creating the object, or used it in one way or another.

I really like Sloane's illustrations too. They helped me understand how charcoal is made, how to identify some trees, and how a birch bark canoe is made.

Some parts were a little tedious, so it wasn't my favorite Sloane book, but still worth a read. ( )
  klburnside | Feb 9, 2016 |
My dad turned me onto Sloane. I love satisfying my craving to learn something that I'll never use, and would never learn in school, but which is still interesting. It's especially interesting because Sloane's own passion shines in his writing. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Interesting look, with lots of drawings, of ways to work with wood, using old hand tools.
  SteveJohnson | Jul 22, 2013 |
Great art. I absolutely love looking at the ink drawing by Eric Sloane. There is also so much good information clearly presented - I just love it. ( )
  ZechariahStover | Jun 4, 2012 |
I've read this several times. I'm interested in identifying trees & knowing their uses in woodworking. This is one of the best books. It's quick & doesn't go into a lot of detail, but gives an excellent overview. He reuses a lot of the text in here in other books, but it is worth repeating. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Eric Sloane is to be commended for his contribution through words and sketches...
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Perpetual moderness is the measure of merit in every work of art. - Emerson
To Joseph McLaughlin the man at my publisher's office who insisted upon my doing this book
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"They don't build them like that now, " said Harley as he tapped the wrecking bar against one of the old pegged joints.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486433943, Paperback)

Refreshingly written, delightfully illustrated book remarks expansively on the resourcefulness of early Americans in their use of this valuable commodity — from the crafting of furniture, tools, and buildings to the use of such by-products as charcoal and medicine. "One of Sloane's best books." — Library Journal. 69 black-and-white illustrations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Originally published in 1965, this illustrated book describes the importance of wood to Americans, from the early settlers through to the mid-1900's. Covers such topics as aesthetics of wood, wooden implements, and carpentry.

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