Why The Woodbook Should be in Your Library

There are dozens upon dozens of different wood types right here in the U.S. Keeping them all straight is a challenge, unless that is, you have a copy of The Woodbook. DIYers and woodworkers alike could spend hours pouring over the 768-page book that takes a close look at many of the different species of trees in America. If you want to figure out which wood will work best for a job this will quickly become your go-to resource.

The Woodbook

American Woods – the Original

The Woodbook is based off of another book, American Woods. This 14-volume wood species encyclopedia was a labor of love for Romeyn Beck Hough (the book was also called Hough’s Encyclopedia of American Woods). Between the years of 1888 and 1913 he collected all the information he could about the trees that were native to the U.S. gathering samples as he went. His original volumes actually had translucent wood specimens mounted directly to card stock pages.

The originals are hailed as rare, highly valuable pieces because of these unique samples, some of which are for tree species that are now extinct. Hough included three different cuts for each tree: radial, horizontal and vertical. When the card stock pages are held up to the light you can see through the thin cuts to get a glimpse of even the finest details. This in itself was inventive, and Hough patented the machine he created to make the translucent cuts.

Hough started with trees in his home state of New York and branched out from there. The first volume was released in 1888, and for Hough there was no looking back. He worked on the subsequent volumes until he died.

American Woods Reinvented

Taschen, a book publisher that has worked with the likes of National Geographic, recognized the importance of Hough’s work for modern day applications. They acquired a set of the original volumes and painstakingly remastered every page. While the new version The Woodbook doesn’t contain the translucent samples, it does have stunning images of the cuts.

Included along with those images is information on each tree species:

  • Colors and textures of the species
  • Descriptions of the tree’s characteristics
  • Growth patterns for the tree
  • Commercial uses for the wood

Klaus Leistikow who was the director of the Botanical Institute and the Botanical Gardens in Frankfurt-am-Main as well as a professor of biology edited the new editions. Also included are lithographs of many of the trees’ nuts and leaves that were by Charles Sprague Sargent, an early 20th century American botanist.

As beautiful as it is useful The Woodbook makes a great addition to any library. If you want to know more about a specific wood but can’t get your hands on a copy give us a call! Our experts are very knowledgeable about today’s wood products and how they can be used in your home improvement projects.

Image Source: http://www.taschen.com/pages/en/catalogue/classics/all/04428/facts.the_woodbook.htm

Original Source: http://timbertownaustin.com/wood-projects-and-profile/why-the-woodbook-should-be-in-your-library



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