American Woods - Forward

AMERICAN WOODS is an unusual book in which the emphasis is placed upon the beauty, workability, and utility of woods of the United States for the use of the craftsman, designer, and artist. It offers in one volume information as to the general characteristics of the tree, the locality in which it may be found, the use to which its wood is now being put, and particularly the properties of the wood as to color, figure, grain and workability.

The reader will find assembled in this volume information regarding a wide variety of woods for specific purposes. The summary of the characteristics of the major, and many of the minor kinds of wood will enable him to choose a wood well suited for any specific use from mere whittling to fine cabinet making.

The enumeration of the kinds, and exposition of the qualities of the wood included in this volume should encourage the reader to examine other kinds of wood in addition to those discussed in the text. Certain very excellent woods occur in restricted quantities, and frequently in limited areas, but they could scarcely be included in a general work of this type without making it inordinately voluminous. In many cases the characteristics of a wood not described in this work may be predicted from close relatives which may be included. For example, the general characteristics of the various kinds of Cherry could be expected to be similar.

The problem of procuring many kinds of the wood mentioned is at least partially solved by the inclusion of the names and addresses of vendors of specialty wood. The commercial sources enumerated herein will make it possible for even the home craftsman to obtain a wide variety of woods for his use.

Cultivated foreign species often yield excellent wood, and the reader may have the opportunity to secure green logs of excellent native and exotic wood if he watches highway widening projects, subdivision developments, and other clearing of trees. The section on Seasoning Wood will assist him in curing the wood satisfactorily.

The Author is to be complimented on the large number of very beautiful illustrations of trees and wood specimens included in this volume, many of which are shown in natural color.

While reading the manuscript I was seized with a strong desire to rush out to my shop and start cutting up boards and logs I have been hoarding against an improbable future leisure when I could indulge my combined interest in woods and cabinet making.

Louis C. Wheeler
Associate Professor of Botany and
Chairman, Department of Botany,
University of California


  • Shelley E. Schoonover (American Woods) 1951 (Watling & Co. ) Santa Monica, CA 

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