The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees by Robert  Penn
(Penguin Press, 2015)

The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees

by Robert Penn

The ash tree is one of nature’s greatest gifts to humanity. It is perhaps the tree with which man has been most intimate over the last four thousand years. From prehistory until almost the present, ash wood was an essential resource of civilisation and a foundation of domestic life across Europe and North America. In The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees, Robert Penn tells the story of one ash tree – of how it grew for 125 years in Callow Hill Wood near his home; of how it is felled and converted by artisans into wheels, spoons, oars, a toboggan, arrow shafts, tool handles, tent pegs, panelling, charcoal, firewood and the desk at which this book was written. It is a tale of craftsmanship, and of the continuity in human sensibility for natural materials. It is a chronicle of the near-forgotten power of doing the most with the least, and of how the urge to understand and appreciate trees still runs through us all like grain through wood.