Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from December 10 to 26, 2015
Description: In 2012, Robert Penn felled (and replanted) a great ash from a Welsh wood. He set out to explore the true value of the tree of which we have made the greatest and most varied use in human history. How many things can be made from one tree?
Over the next two years he travelled across Britain, to Europe and the USA, to the workshops and barns of a generation of craftsmen committed to working in wood. He watched them make over 45 artefacts and tools that have been in continual use for centuries, if not millennia.
Today, he begins his search for the perfect tree in woodland near his South Wales home. It's a bitter, Elizabethan winter and snow lies on the forests. After a long hunt, he gets a call from a forester in Herefordshire.
This is a tale about the joy of making things in wood, of its touch and smell, its many uses and the resonant, calming effect of running our hands along a wooden surface. It is a celebration of man's close relationship with this greatest of natural materials and a reminder of the value of things made by hand and made to last.
1: A search for the perfect tree in woodland in South Wales
2: Robert fells an ash and begins to make things from it
3: A piece of the ash is taken to the best of wood-turners
4: A sledge is made in Austia
5: After a year, Robert finally has his new writing desk