“Trees are not Tame”

“What we call green woodworking today carried no such particular distinction in the past. Vernacular woodcraft began in the forest, and made great use of the metamorphosing properties of wood as it changes from soft and saturated to hard and dry. Most everything a typical household needed, from treen to transportation, was produced through this process. Nowadays, much of that intimacy with this raw material has been lost as modern woodworkers turn to machines that rely on tame wood and massive infrastructure to function properly.

But trees are not tame, and require knowledge and patience to work in the old way. There are valuable returns for the effort, not just in terms of fulfillment for the individual maker, but in the bigger pictures of sustainability and self-reliance. The tools for the work – axe, froe, drawknife – have remained unchanged for centuries, powered solely by human energy, but there is no end to the creative avenues that can be explored with them.”

– Michael Updegraff, excerpt from “A Tale of Two Trees: The Radical Efficiency of Green Woodworking” in Issue Six, available here.


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