1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Detailed and technical,
This review is from: Timber Building in Britain (Vernacular Buildings) (Paperback)A reasonably-priced introduction to the study of vernacular building in wood. The first part surveys buildings of all types, describes and illustrates with photographs of actual buildings plus diagrams of construction. The second part details the joints and techniques used in construction, with more diagrams and photographs to illustrate. Part three is a chronological survey of timber building, ilustrated with photographs of representative buildings, starting with the earliest known timber building in the UK, and taking the reader up to the early 19th century. There is a brief part four, with maps of regional variations.
Brunskill is as well qualified as anyone to write this book and the expertise does show, but it is far from perfect. The text is surprisingly brief and not always easy to follow. The fact that the photographs are in black and white doesn't matter, but the neither the quality of the photography nor that of the printing is as clear as it might be, and it isn't always easy to see the detail being illustrated. Moreover, the author may know exactly how structures are assembled, and be able to accurately delineate joints and assemblies, but he lacks the artistic skill to make his diagrams look solid in 3D. Because the shading and draughtsmanship are a little odd, one finds oneself turning them this way and that, trying to work out what three-dimensional object or shape is intended to be portrayed; at times it is hard to see what is meant to be convex and what concave; elsewhere it is difficult to work out which are timbers and which the gaps between timbers. The simpler diagrams of joints are admirably clear, but the more complex structures sometimes mystifying.
I would have liked to see more in-depth treatment of the evolution of building, and the problem with the diagrams is trying. I've learnt a lot from this book but at times it was a struggle. I would say better for a working carpenter engaged in restoration work than for an interested amateur.