Timber Building in Britain Hardcover – 14 Nov 1985
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239pp inc numerous illus, cloth, jacket, 25x19.5cm
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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.