Man Who Made Things Out Of Trees, The [botw]

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0120151221

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.

Abridged by Jo Coombs

Produced by Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

0220151222

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.

With snow on the ground, a team of tree surgeons help to bring the tree down. Once the timber has been sawn into planks, Rob's project to see how many things can be made from one ash tree really begins. He starts with one of the earliest associations between man and ash - tool handles. It was the attaching of stone tool heads to wooden handles which allowed our Neolithic ancestors to cultivate the land, build homes, furniture, canoes and much more.

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.

Abridged by Jo Coombs

Produced by Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

0320151223
0320151223

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.

Rob takes a carefully selected log to Robin Wood, Britain's best-known wood-turner. He has agreed to use it to form a nest of three bowls - a difficult task, "the Holy grail of turning". As he works the wood in his Peak District cow shed, he's following a craft which dates back to ancient times - a beautifully decorated Celtic ash bowl was found at the Iron Age site of Glastonbury Lake village. And from the fall of the Roman Empire, a culture of woodware thrived in Britain. For at least a thousand years from AD 500, every man and woman in Europe, from kings and queens to paupers and serfs, ate and drank each day from a wooden vessel turned on a lathe.

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.

Abridged by Jo Coombs

Produced by Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

0420151224

In 2012, Rob 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.

With his family losing interest in the project, Rob decides to make something out of his ash that his children will enjoy - a wooden toboggan. Packing some logs into an old ski bag, he takes the train to Austria where he meets Christian Glasser. There are fifteen to twenty traditional toboggan manufacturers left across the Alps and Christian's firm, founded by his great-great-uncle in 1909, is one of them. He uses steam to bend the wood into runners, support bars and bridges - a technique which is recorded on an Ancient Egyptian tomb. A toboggan, or sled, is the oldest vehicle known to man, so Rob's children, and the 10 000 other people who buy a toboggan from Christian each year, are part of a rich tradition.

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.

Abridged by Jo Coombs

Produced by Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.

0520151225

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.

For his final project, Rob wants to create a totem to embody his reverence not just for his tree, but for all Ash trees - a writing desk. It's an ambitious project. With his friend Andy Dix, he selects the perfect piece of timber for each component. The finished product and its distinctive smell takes Rob back to the day his tree was felled. As his time with the tree comes to an end, his new rapport with the ash is just beginning.

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.

Abridged by Jo Coombs

Produced by Hannah Marshall

A Loftus Media production for BBC Radio 4.