At first glance The Tool Book might look like a dry catalogue of various garden tools, but it's actually a fresh and inspiring history lesson. Author William Bryant Logan carefully intersperses his detailed descriptions of hoes, mattocks, tining forks, or pruning saws with short meditations on the tool's evolution. In a chapter entitled "Digging," he writes, "The growth of civilization paralleled the evolution of the spade and the shovel." Behind the book, there's a vision of humanity constantly forging new technology to more carefully and effortlessly shape the landscape.
Amateur gardeners will learn the vast differences between cheap and expensive tools. Clear explanations of the differences between "stamping" and "forging" metal tools, and how to tell the difference, will change your perspective the next time you go to make a purchase. You will also learn why some handles are short and others are long, and why corn husks with their pointed tips led to the invention of the trowel. To Logan's credit, he understands that gardeners arbitrarily love certain tools and hate others, and thus his descriptions are objective--his book more an orientation than a lesson in the "right" way to garden. Packed with photos, The Tool Book is an essential text for anyone facing the daunting task of creating and maintaining a garden. --Emily White
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Three hundred pages of garden tools may be overkill, but, nonetheless, here are 440 tools shown in 70 full-color photographic spreads. The chapters are organized by task: digging, cultivating, propagating, planting, cutting, watering, composting, lawn care, holding and hauling, and raking and sweeping. Shown, for example, are 26 types of shovels, 21 spades, 12 trowels, 16 hoes, 11 weeders, 18 hand pruners, 10 pruning saws, 24 forks, 21 hose accessories, 11 sprinklers, and 15 rakes. A chapter on clothing and protection tells gardeners what's hot in boots and shoes, gloves and hats, and shirts and jackets. Logan, a writer and arborist, explains how garden tools evolved (Hopi women used a pointed stick of pinon pine to plant corn seed), how to use each tool, and what to look for in buying a tool. Granted, no gardener needs all these tools, but Logan has taken a commonplace subject and made it engrossing. George Cohen
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