I recently re-read a short book from Eric Sloane (A Reverence for Wood 1965) where he traces Americas history with wood and many of the forgoten skills we once shared. Here is a small sample:
"That century of magnificent awareness preceeding the Civil War was the age of wood. Wood was not accepted simply as the material for building a new nation-it was an inspiration. Gentle to the touch, exquisite to contemplate, tractable in creative hands, stronger by weight than iron, wood was, as William Penn had said, 'a substance with a soul'. It spanned rivers for man, it built homes, and heated them in the winter; Man walked on wood, slept in it, sat on wooden chairs at wooden tables, drank and ate from fruit trees. From cradle of wood to coffin of wood, life was encircled by it."