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WOODWORK FOR THE GARDEN (article first published : 2002-06-8)

Before I review Alan and Gill Bridgewater’s Woodwork for the Garden, you must understand that I am not the practical woodwork type at all. I have never made anything more challenging than my grade 8 woodwork project, which was basically a disaster. Needless to say, I flunked woodwork at school and turned my back on it. I much prefer the kitchen to the tool shed.

In recent years, however, I have often had the urge to make something for the garden. Nothing ambitious, mind you, just something small like a white picket fence around a flowerbed or a pergola for the creeper in the corner. Then I discovered Woodwork for the Garden and suddenly realized that my fear of wood could be overcome.

The book does not throw you into the deep end by assuming that you are an experienced woodworker, but starts off with the basic techniques. The first step would be to plan the project. The various tools and materials to be used are discussed comprehensively and each type of project is properly explained. Finishing and maintenance are discussed in detail.

I soon found my picket fence among the 16 projects described in the book. To my surprise, the instructions are as easy to follow as that of a recipe book and I was soon engrossed. Clear construction diagrams and concise text accompany every project and there are inspirational spreads featuring woodwork structures to provide even more ideas for the hobby carpenter. Each project has step-by-step photographs and the finished piece is shown in its garden setting.

Ideal as a reference for beginners and as a sourcebook of inspiration for more experienced DIY enthusiasts, Woodwork for the Garden is suitable for both town and country garden owners looking to create stunning new garden features.

Alan and Gill Bridgewater have gained in international reputation as producers of woodworking and DIY books on a range of subjects. They are the authors of two companion titles: Water Features for the Garden and Stonework for the Garden.

I am not sure if I will ever attempt a major woodwork project like a tree-house or a Victorian tool shed. However, if I did decide to make something for the garden, this is the book I would start with. Published by Struik, it retails for R 119.95. - Hendrik Baird




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