What Would Never be Recovered

four and twenty toilers 02

“This or that quiet place, the home of peace, was turned into a ghastly battle-field, with the naked and maimed corpses of trees lying about. Bad enough, all this was. Still, trees might grow again; the hollows might recover their woodland privacy and peace for other generations to enjoy. But what would never be recovered, because in fact War had found it already all but dead, was the earlier English understanding of timber, the local knowledge of it, the patriarchal traditions of handling it.”

— The Wheelwright’s Shop by George Sturt (Cambridge, 1948)

(Image from “Four and Twenty Toilers” [1900] by Francis Donkin Bedford [1864-1954]. Image from Jeff Burks. Download the full book here.)

About Chris Schwarz

Publisher of woodworking books and DVDs specializing in hand tool techniques.
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3 Responses to What Would Never be Recovered

  1. John Benson says:

    Check out the blacksmith print, it’s Roy Underhill.

  2. pfollansbee says:

    Sturt’s book has long been my favorite of its ilk. I’ve always been grateful that I started woodworking by making ladderback chairs from a tree, with green wood. Splitting and riving teach you a lot about wood, in a hurry. Green woodworkers have it made. The process demands the best quality stock, which then spoils you ever after…

  3. tsstahl says:

    So wait, woodworking is not always like feeding home center pine to my planer and jointer like chicken bones to a garbage disposal? ;)

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