The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworker's Reflections

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Review by Durnik150 posted 07-05-2009 09:17 AM 4382 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
The Soul of a Tree: A Master Woodworker's Reflections No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Author: George Nakashima
$31.68 as of this writing at Amazon

Given the price of this book I feel strongly that you should know that this is not a woodcrafting book with plans and designs. This book, written by Nakashima himself, is a great overview of a great career and a wonderful talent. The first half of the book is especially enlightening. It is a short biography of Nakashima’s early years and shows how these experiences directly influenced his works. When I first saw the book I thought that this part might be a little boring but I was pleasantly surprised that it was engaging and light in tone.

As a woodworker I was drooling at all of the beautiful pieces GN has produced. I was also very envious of the opportunities he had to work with some of the most beautiful materials ever seen. Just to have access to some of the black walnut shown in the book would probably be the pinnacle of most woodworker’s career.

Nakashima’s work was at its height in the late 60’s and 70’s and the works reflect that. It appears a little dated but wonderful nonetheless. My style and Nakashima’s style are different, as is expected. However, learning from and about the masters in woodworking is part of becoming a better woodworker yourself.

This book was a balanced overview of GN’s life and work. I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn more about one of the masters. It will also prompt ideas and concepts for you to use in your own works.

This might be a great library check-out if you don’t want to invest the steep price. And again, this is a book about GN and his works, not a book showing you how to recreate or build his designs. If you want a book fitting this topic, this book is great!

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

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View EricWrights's profile


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#1 posted 07-05-2009 11:06 AM

This man never wasted a single second of his life

George Nakashima was not only a master craftsman in his field, he was a genius. He could pick up any piece of wood and at a glance know what the end product would be to its full potential and more. He would let the wood tell him. Even his simplest of projects ‘sing’ beauty and finesse. I bought the book for inspiration to my own woodworking skills, and learned much more than i expected. Included in the book is a short biography telling us of his early life, his travelings and how he ended up the man he became, his family, lifestyle, work and good nature beliefs. It certainly gave me inspiration towards beautiful woodwork and i like to think I learned a few lessons in life as well. If i was to me this man and only shake his hand I would feel honored.

FYI, this is a bit expensive though. $31.68 for Paperback (Free Shipping)

-- Sawing, sanding, scraping, cutting? Let Rockwell Sonicrafter do the job. & A more general blog at

View ellen35's profile


2750 posts in 4594 days

#2 posted 07-05-2009 01:19 PM

A friend loaned me this book. I too found it a very interesting read. I have not returned it yet (he is OK with that) as I want to read it again and really study some of his designs. Excellent book and very inspirational!
Thanks for your review.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View a1Jim's profile


118163 posts in 4739 days

#3 posted 07-06-2009 01:24 AM

I found it very interesting also.


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