Saturday, February 14, 2015

Suggestions for Getting Started in Wood Collecting

The first newsletter of 1948, and officially, Wood Collectors Society Bulletin No. 1, which attempted to suggest to members some basic guidelines and techniques for the hobby, was published in March of that year. While modern wood collecting is as variable as the folks who collect it, these pointers are still helpful and, at the same time, reminiscent of how simple life was relative to today's world.

I won't re-create the whole Bulletin, but here are some highlights, with some of my thoughts intermingled.

This first paragraph shows that even then, the ultimate objective of wood collecting as a scientific exercise was to determine a complete listing of all woody species and to collectively secure and document specimens of them all in collections around the world. I think it is safe to say that we are still a long, long way from achieving that objective, so the challenge remains.

I think it was a little easier back in those days to cut specimens without getting into trouble. These days, if you're planning to go around cutting branches of trees (or harvesting small trees, or shrubs, or vines) make sure you have permission of the landowner or a permit from the proper authority on public lands. Of course, there are still wide open spaces out there in the world where permission is not required, but be prudent about your collection practices.

I've observed that planning and organizing the collection is as satisfying as the collecting itself, and it adds immensely to the enjoyment of the collection over the years. Conversely, as the article says, a poorly executed effort at organizing will result in "a stupendous job" hanging over your head and will detract from your enjoyment and knowledge of the hobby. I know, walking the roadside or woods, saw in hand is more fun...but those unlabeled, unorganized, or unworked specimens can pile up in a hurry.


I love the sincerity in that last much as I love the next one.

I actually think the next paragraph gets at the heart of a wood collecting fellowship...although nowadays, buying and selling specimens may be more common.

And perhaps the most important, and difficult issue of the hobby...

Finally, I'll share this entire page near the end of the newsletter. It's discussion about the cost of the hobby is a great reference for the time, and the paragraphs on new individuals who were being found in the hobby are great.

You can just feel the excitement of the anonymous author as he details these early stirrings in the life of what would become the International Wood Collectors Society.

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