When Peter Andrews of Eco-logic Books sent me The Green Wood Companion by Barry Mays to review I wasn't sure what it would be like other than it promised to be unconventional. It covers quite a lot of ground in its 32 chapters. However, it doesn't set out to be a master thesis on any of the subjects covered. Instead it bears out the old saying about an expert being someone who knows where to look for the answers rather than someone who knows all the answers. Barry has sought to give clear guidance about aspects of green wood working coupled with well chosen references so that the reader can find out the detail of a subject that has grabbed their attention.
If you want to know where to find a supplier of an adze, you look it up in the Tool Finder chapter. This tabulates the tool against known supplier and the brands they supply. If you want to know what a particular wood is considered good for and how it resists decay, Barry has collated woods in alphabetic order together with their characteristics. If you ever wanted to measure a standing tree for height or volume, Barry explains how this is done.
I find Barry's style of straight forward and readable. A no nonsense approach even when dealing with such things as Druidic beliefs and Celtic tree astrology, he presents what he knows and leaves it up to the reader to decide their own view.
One short chapter is about the woodland industry acronyms. It is a telling sign of the times how many of these are derived from government bodies and enforcements, both national and international. Happily the previous chapter has the names and addresses of all sorts of woodland associations. Most of which are 'self propelled' and not dependent on the vagaries of those that seek to govern us.
The book is full of beautifully clear colour photographs and well executed line drawings that illustrate the narrative well.
It is well named because it is a companion. It is not written to be a coffee table book, beautiful though it is, it is written to be reached for when a question pops into your mind. If it doesn't tell you the answer, it will tell you where to find the answer.
The Green Wood Companion written by Barry Mays.
Published by eco-logic books.
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Tel: 01225 484472
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