for cabinet-makers and carvers of chessmen and ivory objects begins with
a rapid survey of the structure of a tree. A distinction is drawn between
bark and wood. The former is divided into outer and inner bark; the wood
into sapwood, cambium, "immature" or new wood, and heartwood or "mature"
wood. But these notions are presented in a very summary way, on a single
page and with a practical end in view: to introduce a discussion of defects
in wood, which the manual deals with individually, defining canker, cup
shake, heart shake, star shake, etc. according to the degree to which each
interferes with the working of the wood. The description of the material
continues species by species, in a chapter of no less than fifty-five pages:
apricot, ash, almond, alder, boxwood, cherry, hornbeam, oak, etc., specifying
when necessary where each is grown. The paragraph on boxwood states: "It
is distinguished by its density, greater than that of water, by its fine,
close texture, comparable to ivory, and by its extreme hardness, surpassing
all our other indigenous woods. Its color is always a more or less pale
yellow, with a lighter or darker grain, usually concentric. Despite its
hardness, it is easily worked; moreover it lends itself well to polishing
and varnishing." Clearly, the vocabulary is based on the sense qualities-fine,
dense, hard, yellow-that make this wood recognizable among others and predict
what the worker may be able to do with it.
repairing his nets.