I ordered this book as an amateur woodworker, keen to learn more about the techniques and problems associated with obtaining raw unprocessed wood. I was not disappointed for, in my view, this book is an essential companion to anyone wanting to obtain a good working knowledge of the nature of wood with a view to harvesting and seasoning their own timber for subsequent woodworking projects.
It is far more comprehensive than the title suggests with the 12 chapters taking us from the basics of how wood is formed (Chapter 1), to an introduction to timber classification and taxonomy (Chapter 2), converting raw timber to usable wood (Chapter 3), explaining and dispelling common misconceptions about grain and figure (Chapter 4), factors affecting colour (Chapter 5), how fungi and insects affect the nature of wood, sometimes surprisingly beneficially to the woodworker (Chapter 6), properties of timber relating to how it is worked (Chapter 7), the role of water in timber and then how this effects drying wood (Chapters 8 and 9), selecting wood from commercial sources (Chapter 10), obtaining reclaimed timber (Chapter 11). Chapter 12 (Health and Safety) is an excellent summary of the dangers associated with woodworking and includes a comprehensive table summarising the hazards associated with specific species of wood.
An appendix includes a very useful glossary of terms applied to timber.
This is a paper-back publication in A4 format, nicely designed with clear text and is profusely illustrated throughout with over 400 superb colour photographs, mainly taken by the author, interspersed in the 192 pages of text. The text is extremely well written and the author's enthusiasm for the subject comes over clearly and is very infectious. A few minor typo's detract little from the overall value and impact of this publication.