A Splintered History of Wood


Rivertown Inn’s neighbor, Spike Carlsen, is the author of “A Splintered History of Wood: Belt Sander Races, Blind Woodworkers, and Baseball Bats”. Published by HarperCollins, the book comes out in paperback on August 18th. The hard cover edition, released last summer, has already garnered critical praise (it’s a finalist this year for a Great Lakes Book Award) and NPR mentioned it last winter as a bookseller’s pick for a holiday book. Rivertown Inn even hosted a book reading event with Mr. Carlsen last fall. The book was also just recently featured in the St. Croix Valley Press on August 6th.

In the St. Croix Valley Press, Carlsen speaks of his own professional history with wood. He was a carpenter for over 15 years until he tried his hand at freelance writing and got a job with Family Handyman, a magazine with ties to Reader’s Digest. He became its executive editor and remained there until June of 2007. Over the years he developed a true appreciation for wood and all of its uses. In his book, he covers avid woodworkers such as Livio De Marchi, an Italian artist who’s carved pieces like a life-sized wooden Ferrari and Ray “Wild Mountain Man” Murphy who calls himself the first chain-saw sawyer in the U.S.

Spike Carlsen even interviewed President Jimmy Carter, who is a woodworker. “Even as a president, he would do woodworking at Camp David and make small gifts for heads of state. Very nice guy – he has a furniture book he’s working on now,” Carlsen said. Carlsen is also working on his own furniture book, and another “about houses and the different things in them”, he says. For right now,  he is still busy promoting “A Splintered History”. Thanks to a project with his church, for every copy sold a tree will be planted on a farm at a secondary school in Tanzania. They are planting a form of pine, which are quick to grow and harvestable in 12 to 15 years. Planting them provides scholarship money for some of the students, and harvesting them will provide money for the school on an ongoing basis. About 10,000 have been planted so far; details are available at www.asplinteredhistoryofwood.com.

We here at Rivertown Inn which Mr. Carlsen the best of luck in all of his future endeavors!

Spike Carlsen

For More Information, Please Visit www.asplinteredhistoryofwood.com

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