Wood harvesting

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

In a strict sense, the harvesting and milling of wood are intimately related to the history of tools and technology. In a broader context however, other histories also play an important role.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

The following short reference list highlights some of the most prominent texts and should be considered an introduction only.

  • Anderson, J. 2012. Mahogany: the costs of luxury in early America. Harvard University Press.
[A history of unsustainable logging & utilization].

  • Bowett, A. 2012. Woods in British Furniture Making 1400-1900: An Illustrated Historical Dictionary. Oblong Creative LTD in Association with Royal Botanic Gardens. Kew. United Kingdom.
[An essential reference].

  • Forest Products Laboratory, numerous authors. 2010. Wood Handbook, Wood as an Engineering Material, General Technical Report FPL-GTR-190. U.S. Department of Agriculture.


[Initial chapters cover the stewardship and sustainability of forests, as well as the availability of commercially important woods. Other chapters provide in-depth discussions of numerous wood subjects. An excellent technical resource.]

  • Documentation on sawmills and their manufacturers.
In addition, individual sawmill manufacturers have their own corporate histories – see Wood Mizer, Morbark, Corley, to name a few.

  • I.T. Williams & Sons. 1930. Foreign and Domestic Cabinet Woods In Logs Lumber and Veneers. New York, NY. USA.
[I.T. Williams & Sons, long out of business, was one of the premier tropical woods suppliers in the USA for 20th century. The Brochure of the I.T. Williams & Sons Company is unique in that it includes numerous documentary photographs of the scope of their logging and milling operations. This PDF is made available to members of WAG with kind permission from a descendant of the firm.]

  • Rutkow, E. 2013. American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation. Scribner
[A recent general history of American forestry & wood utilization.]

  • Walker, J. C. F. 2006. Primary Wood Processing: Principles and Practice by JCF Walker. Springer.


[An academic reference for cutting trees into boards and veneer.]

  • Williams, M. 1989. Americans and Their Forests: A Historical Geography. Cambridge University Press.
[This book describes the logging, ownership, impact, and industries that went on sequentially as Americans moved across the continent.]