"The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees" (Encore Presentation)
(Note: This interview first aired back in July.) On this edition of ST, we speak by phone with Robert Penn, a British writer and journalist whose books include "It's All About the Bike," a bestselling memoir of craftsmanship. Penn joins us to speak out his new book, just out from W.W. Norton, which is called "The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees." As is noted of this book at the Norton website: "Out of all the trees in the world, the ash is most closely bound up with who we are: the tree we have made the greatest and most varied use of over the course of human history. One frigid winter morning, Robert Penn lovingly selected an ash tree and cut it down. He wanted to see how many beautiful, handmade objects could be made from it. Thus begins an adventure of craftsmanship and discovery. Penn visits the shops of modern-day woodworkers -- whose expertise has been handed down through generations -- and finds that ancient woodworking techniques are far from dead. He introduces artisans who create a flawless axe handle, a rugged and true wagon wheel, a deadly bow and arrow, an Olympic-grade toboggan, and many other handmade objects using their knowledge of ash’s unique properties. Penn connects our daily lives back to the natural woodlands that once dominated our landscapes. Throughout his travels -- from his home in Wales, across Europe, and America -- Penn makes a case for the continued and better use of the ash tree as a sustainable resource and reveals some of the dire threats to our ash trees." You can hear a free, on-demand audio-stream of our discussion with Penn here.