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A Splintered History of Wood: Belt Sander Races, Blind Woodworkers, and Baseball Bats Hardcover – Illustrated, August 26, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 128 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Carlsen (Reader's Digest Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual) gives a solid history of wood as he travels the world, analyzing the vast number of uses of a mundane natural resource. In doing so, Carlsen also uncovers the wide variety of personalities that work with wood every day, from the chainsaw artist appropriately named the Wild Mountain Man to the blind cabinetmaker who can see things with [his] fingers that you may not see with your eyes. He uncovers places where wood golf clubs are still manufactured today; explains which type of wood is best for a baseball bat; takes readers through the painstaking process used to make the beautiful Stradivarius violins and Steinway grand pianos; he also demonstrates how the gondola is a floating work of efficiency and ergonomic art. At one point, Carlsen visits a company in Maine that produces 50 billion toothpicks and 12 billion wooden matches each year. Carlsen includes photographs throughout this engaging and exhaustively researched work. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School–Carlsen explores our reliance on wood from numerous angles. A carpenter, woodworker, and author of dozens of books and articles on home improvement, he knows his subject well, and his love and respect for trees and all things made from them are evident on each page. The author includes just enough of the science of trees and wood, and of the technology of wood products and woodworking, to inform but not burden lay readers. Numerous stories add immeasurably to the books appeal. Readers are told how a Steinway piano is built, why a Stradivarius violin is so special, about the role of the long bow in military history, and how pens and pencils evolved. In addition, there are discussions of the offbeat, including a full-scale (and functional) Ferrari carved of wood, the 36-year remodeling project known as the Winchester House, a staircase with no visible means of support, and the use of wood forensics in the Lindbergh kidnapping case. Carlsen explores the extraordinary variety of woods on our planet, the profession and hobby of fine woodworking, the tools used to work wood, and the many uses of it in our lives–in music, sports, shelter, furniture, weapons, and transportation. The volume ends with a word on the highly complex issues surrounding human use of the worlds forests and the consequent effects on the global environment. Black-and-white photos are included. Thoroughly researched, thoughtful, and entertaining.–Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Harper; Illustrated edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 411 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0061373567
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0061373565
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.46 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 8.94 x 6.64 x 1.38 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 128 ratings

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
128 global ratings
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Top reviews from other countries

Christopher Beney
4.0 out of 5 stars A quite interesting read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 2, 2015
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Lincolnshire Lass
5.0 out of 5 stars The book for lovers of wood.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 24, 2014
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