Class 3 at Balclutha School, asks :-

What are some things that are best or only made of wood?

John Walker, of the University of Canterbury's School of Forestry, responded.

Ask your librarian to get Hugh Johnson's 'The International Book of Wood'. According to Johnson "Wood is the mirror of Man - it has been used to make clocks and paper, food and fabrics, warships, church spires, toothpicks and dance floors". The intricate inlays, the marquetry and the mosaics are common features of Islamic and the Western Church Architecture - exemplified by the arabesque panels and latticework grilles of mosques, and the painted and gilded icons and panels of the Russian Church. These buildings were the expressions of religious and state power in their time - the Te Papas and Clyde Dams of New Zealand today.

More prosaically, the trellis, picket fence, the timber-framed house, the table and chair - and the proverbial wooden spoon are fine examples of the artisan culture that is the main-stream tradition of wood itself. Wood is about the Good Life: cooperage for maturing wine, the dining table in the farm kitchen, the fruit bowl.

"Anything you can do, I can do better" is the valid refrain of modern material science - and the predecessor of much will be a wooden article! However, the simplicity of wood, the fact that everyone is a home handyman and our very familiarity means that for some, often the very wealthiest, only wood will do.

We shouldn't forget that wood is a renewable resource. We plant a tiny seed and eventually the tree is big enough to use.