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Barn Club : a tale of forgotten elm trees, traditional craft and community spirit  Cover Image Book Book

Barn Club : a tale of forgotten elm trees, traditional craft and community spirit / Robert J. Somerville.


"When Robert Somerville moved to Hertfordshire from Devon, he discovered an unexpected landscape rich with wildlife, particularly elm trees. Nestled within London's commuter belt, this wooded wilderness inspired Somerville, a lifelong woodworker, to revive the ancient tradition of hand-raising barns using locally sourced elm timber for material and the local community as labour. The story of the elm tree in the landscape is central to Barn Club. Its natural history and its historic importance in England, continental Europe and North America make for a fascinating story told by the author, a long-time admirer of this diverse and remarkable forest denizen. The decline of the elm, which began more than a century ago, was due to an imported fungal disease, and nearly spelled its doom. Yet the tree has survived, often unnoticed, throughout the English countryside and even within some cities. Barn Club is about craft, landscape and community. It follows the building of Carley Barn, a traditional Hertfordshire elm barn, made by hand with the help of volunteers over the course of one year. The last time barns were made in this way was 150 years ago, so the experience provides unique insights into aspects of craft construction that have faded from modern life. What happens when we imbue our structures with the local landscape? When we leave behind the vibrations, whines and whirrs of power tools in exchange for the delicate dexterity of the hands and eyes? When every mark in the wood tells the story of a joint effort? Barn Club calls on us to discover our landscapes more intimately and explore the joys of making beautiful things by hand, together"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781603589666
  • ISBN: 160358966X
  • Physical Description: xii, 259 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 23 cm
  • Publisher: White River Junction, Vermont : Chelsea Green Publishing, [2021]

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-259).
Formatted Contents Note:
A Different Way of Working -- Starting Points -- Wych Elms, Field Elms and Wildings -- Plinths, Plans and Preparations -- A Walk in the Wood -- The Red Elm, the White and the Sand -- Boxed Hearts and Waney Edges -- Two Buckets Full of Pegs -- Plumb-Bob Scribing -- Cutting a Mortice and Tenon -- Laying-Up the Frames -- The Barn Raising.
Subject: Somerville, Robert J.
Barns > England > Hertfordshire > Design and construction.
Vernacular architecture > England > Hertfordshire.
Building, Wooden > England > Hertfordshire.
Rustic woodwork.
Rustic woodwork.
Barns > Design and construction.
Building, Wooden.
Vernacular architecture.
England > Hertfordshire.
Genre: Anecdotes.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Library System. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Homer Public Library.


  • 0 current holds with 1 total copy.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Homer Public Library 725 SOM (Text) 000162664 Nonfiction Available -

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