Review: Making Woodland Crafts by Patrick Harrison

This review by Philip Davies appeared in issue 119 of Montessori International over the summer. Read more about Montessori International here…

Front Cover Making Woodland Crafts

The author is an outdoor learning educator and Forest School practitioner and trainer. His aim with this book is to provide some basic knowledge and skills for both simple and advanced woodland craft, and what he has included comes from many hours “messing about in the woods”. He intends it for “…anyone, of any age, with a modicum of interest…”, and it will certainly be useful for both parents and their children and teachers and their pupils.

Divided into sections that the author intends to make the book as useful as possible, he also provides an introduction, a brief note on how to use the book and a two page spread detailing some basic “useful tools”.

The first section is “Choosing your wood”, which briefly introduces the readers/user to four types of woodland – hazel, willow, birch and elder – illustrated by black-and-white photos and with notes on past uses of each type of wood and how to identify them and, with the exception of birch, how to coppice them. This is followed by a section of “useful knots and lashings”.

There are pages on creating things like a hazel mask, a night torch and a staff, and sections on making frames and simple structures or fashioning a triangle, the latter going on to show hos basic triangles can be combined to make things like a tetrahedral step ladder or lantern.

The author’s illustrations are commendably clear and well-drawn, giving a good sense of the possibilities of the woodland activities you can get the children involved in. Furthermore the book has a good stout hardcover that should help preserve it as it is taken around outside.

Dead Hedging

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