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Look inside The Forest Woodworker
  • Publisher: Search Press
  • Edition: BB Hardback
  • Publication: 20 June 2019
  • ISBN 13/EAN: 9781782217367
  • Stock: 50+
  • Size: 193x256 mm
  • Illustrations: 300
  • Pages: 176
  • RRP: £14.99
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The Forest Woodworker


A step-by-step guide to working with green wood by Sjors van der Meer (Author)

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Book Description

Immerse yourself in the ancient craft of working with fresh, green wood. 

Expert authors Sjors van der Meer and Job Suijker introduce you to the traditional skills of green woodworking. Learn about the qualities of wood; how to cut and shape it; how to craft your own tools such as a shaving horse, wooden club, chopping block and saw horse, and then how to use them to make spoons, spatulas, stools and chairs. As well as teaching you new skills, this inspiring book will show you how working in natural surroundings, with natural materials, can create an overwhelming sense of well-being and enhance your awareness of the environment.

This stunning, inspirational book has forewords written by Mike Abbott and Otto Koedijk.


Table of Contents

Forewords by Mike Abbott and Otto Koedijk 6
Introduction 7
Chapter 1: Green wood, an introduction 10; Green wood, about making a chair and carving a spoon 12; Old tools 12; Trees and woods 15; Shaving horse 18; Axe, knife, spoon knifespoons! 20
Chapter 2: Green wood, background information 22; Handmade 24; The magic of splitting 26; Make it fresh, assemble it dry 27; The most important wood joint: mortise and tenon joint 27; When is wood (still) green? 28; A tree inside out 28; Felling a tree 34; Where to get green wood 37; How to keep green wood green 37
Chapter 3: Trees, wood and their use 38; Birch 40; Beech 41; Oak 42; Northern red oak 43; Ash 44; Maple 45; Black locust 45; Hazel 46; Sweet chestnut 47; Willow 47; Yew 48; Other trees 49; Coppice, wood providing trees 51
Chapter 4: Green wood techniques 52; Splitting 54; Using an axe 57; Sawing discs 59; Mortise and tenon joints for a chair or stool with stretchers 60; Different techniques 62; Making a tenon on a leg 64; Wedging a joint 66; Drying legs, stretchers and tenons 68; Making your piece level 69; Wood carving knife grips 70; Grips for the spoon knife 75
Chapter 5: Projects made with green wood: tools 78; Handling wood and measurements 80; Basic tools 81; Projects: making tools 82; Shaving horse 82; Wooden hammer/club 92; Chopping block on legs 95; Sawhorse (in two parts) 96; Axe handle 98
Chapter 6: Projects made with green wood: objects 100; Stool 102; Small table/bench 107; Tripod 109; Shingles 111
Chapter 7: Projects made with green wood: diving deeper 114; Stool with stretchers 116; Chair 124
Chapter 8: Carving projects 134; Spatula 136; Spoon 139; Salt scoop 144
Chapter 9: Greenwood craft tools 146; Axes 148; Drills: brace and auger 150; Bending moulds 153; Froe 154; Saws 155; Shaving horse 160; Scraper 160; Holdfast 160; Tenon cutter 161; Spokeshave 162; Drawknife 163; Adze or carving axe 164; Hammer/club and mallet 165; Chopping block 165; Wood carving knife 165; Spoon knife 166; Clamping tools 166; Measuring tools 167
Chapter 10: Maintenance and sharpening 168
Vershout on youtube 174
Books and more 175
Appendix safety and taking care of tools 176

About the Author

About Sjors van der Meer

Sjors van der Meer developed his passion for woodworking when he was a student at a furniture making company. He learned all about joinery and became an amateur cabinetmaker. Though this gave him a lot of joy, he fell in love with wood and trees when he discovered the craft of green woodworking; his love for nature and craft came together in this way. The simple hand tools, the raw materials and the often-ancient techniques were a revelation. He decided to make a living out of the craft. Ever since, he has spent a lot of time in nature, working on green wood furniture and spoon carving. Since 2011 he has run green woodworking workshops with his friend and co-author Job Suijker.


Customer review

Good read, very informative, some interesting ideas and uses of greenwood. 

Customer review

Great informative book about an old craft. My husband (a carpenter) found it interesting and is going to make a Greenwood stool. It gives great information on different woods and also the old tools used.

Customer review

I enjoyed reading this book as it gave a great insight into working with green wood from the forests. I like the author gave a background on the types of wood to use and how to obtain it without costing too much. They gave good descriptions on the projects you can undertake and these range from beginners to intermediate wood workers. Myself, I look forward to trying to make a new wooden hammer and making wooden shingles to tile my wood store. 

Customer review

My hubby is a carpenter of 40+ yrs so I asked him to have a look at this book for me to do a review for Search Press. Well for someone's who not a book reader I lost him for an hour or so in the book. He thought it was a fantastic book, so descriptive, plenty of drawings shows you how to make tools in a very traditional way. He found this really piqued his interest for something when he retires. Equally felt this was an excellent guide for the novice.

So as the novice and book lover I loved this book it's well laid out starting with basics you may need a section all about trees, which is what tree always - good to know, and what tree is useful for different items. The intro into working the wood with what and how to make a variety of things starting off gently working up into more complex projects. A very useful chapter about best way to look after your tools.

A very interesting informative book.

Customer review

The subject is not so new, but the layout and photos are as inviting as a celebrity cookbook. The tools alone are a thing of beauty and there are instructions for a chopping block on legs which looks like its walked itself out of a fairy-tale. The attractive, no-nonsense cover and enticing photos on the back (I note that the paper is appropriately FSC approved) would appeal to anyone. Not just about how to wield a saw or create your own unique stool, this book also taps into the recent rebirth of an appreciation of nature as a gateway to wellbeing. Steeped in the tenets of nature connection (and connection to ancestors, for that matter), but without being too hippyish or bandwagonesque, the Dutch authors naturally respect the tree in everything they do.

This is an absorbing read. Having attended a few whittling days myself, I have since struggled to explain to those friends who would rather just go and buy a spoon from a supermarket what it is that I get out of carving my own wonky utensil beneath the trees. This book did all that for me. It acknowledges my inner hobbit and welcomes me in. I appreciated the little mission statement tucked away at the beginning which mentions how the writers, open up working with green wood to everyone, from children to pensioners, from experienced DIYers to clumsy people. This instilled me with confidence!

There is a comprehensive index which is whimsical in places (The Magic of Cleaving!), but easy to navigate. Chapters span the whole process including felling, coppicing (though further reading is suggested in these areas) and types of tree/wood, before moving on to technique and various styles of projects. Maintenance and care of tools are found at the back; a welcome addition which is often overlooked on courses unless you think to ask.

Projects range from Tools, Objects (mostly small items of furniture), and Carving (i.e. utensils). All the items covered are useful, which makes a refreshing change. There are even instructions to make shingles. The tone is instructional, yet friendly. There is plenty of information about where problems might occur, how to choose suitable wood, and sharpening techniques. This is a lot of detail, but the writers still managed to hold my interest. For instance, the idiosyncrasies of a piece of wood such as knots and the effects of torsion are discussed and advice on how to work with them is given. I was particularly impressed with the thorough description of axe and knife techniques and loved the suggestion of using old bicycle inner tubes to weave a seat.

Though I am now inspired to have a go at making a salt scoop, I know I currently lack the precision to be crafting a chair on my own. Im guessing that a more advanced woodworker would have no problem building a shaving horse from the instructions in the book. However, if youre a beginner, or dont have access to all the resources (i.e. tools and/or a woodland), I would suggest going on a course to make a shaving horse a foundation tool that is more easily built with an expert and an extra pair of hands nearby to get a feel for what you should be doing and to try out the other tools. This book would be an ideal accompaniment to a practical workshop; everything is here to remind you of what you were shown and what you might need to purchase to further your new hobby.

There is something very Dutch about a book created because there are other ways. I found this sentiment very touching. The writing is very coherent; you are guided through the book itself as well as the techniques. It is philosophical in places, almost poetic, yet not a difficult read (I found it to be great bedtime reading). Its a substantial hardback which is definitely worth the money. If you dont buy it for yourself, then it would make a lovely gift.

Customer review

This is such a lovely book. I like that it has a hard cover which will protect it when outside. The photos are so clear and show step by step instructions. I am a complete novice who wants to do basic forest woodworking skills with the children that I work with and there are enough projects include to keep us busy. The only small disappointment that I have is that I would prefer more smaller, simpler projects, but overall I am very happy with this book. 

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