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Woodcraft A practical celebration of the tree

John Rhyders First Book

This book takes the reader on a very practical learning journey about the safe use of tools and harvesting of wood to the subsequent uses for roots bark and timber. A step by step account with colour photographs, this book is suitable for a student of woodcraft, the naturalist, and the practitioner of bushcraft skills. If you have ever wanted to make your own bow and arrow, make fire using just friction or explore the properties of bark, make inks and dyes or discover a wealth of other relevant and traditional uses for wood then this book will not disappoint you.  John Rhyder has taught these skills for over 20 years and delivers the information in a no-nonsense and easy to follow guide with a lot of humour

Available from the following places:

"As you'd expect from one of the legends of outdoor education, this book contains a feast of practical tips. 

If you spend time outdoors, I strongly recommend getting hold of a copy". 

Tristan Gooley


Read reviews from the following magazines 

Reviews for John' book

Tim Bird

I have been a student of John’s since 2006 and have had the privilege to pass through the Bushcraft Leadership programme and have been waiting for the completion of John’s book since he told me about it. I am not disappointed. Had I not been able to attend the school and learn from the horse’s mouth, then this book would be the next best thing. Reading it is just like being taught directly by the author and his knowledgeable, thorough and experience filled teaching meets his approachability and friendliness. The book goes into great detail, including mistakes you are likely to make – for example how not to make feather sticks – so if you were learning from this you can know and spot them.I have quite a large library of books on bushcraft, nature and survival subjects and this book isn’t really like any of them. The title suits it well as it doesn’t cover subjects in the same way or even the same subjects, it really is about woodcraft – crafts using what you find in the woods. There are great chapters on bow making, dyes and bark work that you simply don’t encounter in quite the same way in other books. It is in some of these chapters you really see and feel the passion for the subject.The only thing missing is the smell of wood-smoke.

George Aitchison

This is a Bushcraft Classic - An incredible amount of information on many aspects of Woodcraft. John Rhyder shares his wealth of knowledge of Woodcraft in a very readable way with lots of practical tips and fascinating personal stories. No matter what level you feel you are at with Woodcraft/Bushcraft you will find something here to interest and inspire you.
As an amateur bowyer the section on bow making really got my attention as John knows his stuff when it comes to bows. I know I will be dipping back into this book again and again.

L Paton 

Great book, have been to one of Johns courses too and would highly recommend both the courses and the book

S Batty

This substantial book of nearly 400 pages is a well rounded guide on the uses of trees for the outdoors person. It covers everything from safe and sustainable felling and harvesting to fire making techniques, tool selection/maintenance/use to bow making, working with bark and roots, making glues, natural dyes, inks and charcoal. It includes a good number of helpful photographs (including a number of what NOT to do) and a healthy dose of John's humour. A very practical how-to guide and highly recommended.

Lizzie Harrington

I have just finished reading Woodcraft by John Rhyder. It certainly achieves the goal of it's subtitle; 'A practical celebration of the tree.' This book is clearly the synthesis of a lifetime of learning and experience. I think that no matter how new to the subject, or experienced, the reader will find much that is worthwhile within these pages... whether that is the revelation of new knowledge and information, or the synthesis of things already known. For others John's book will provide a unique lens through which to regard familiar and well loved things as his sense of humour and personality shine through. As far as the 'literature of bushcraft' goes, there is nothing like this. It is lightyears away from the 'mass market', 'lowest common denominator' books you would find in a highstreet book store. This is a book for enthusiasts.

PS: Please can the 2nd edition come with a nice durable plastic cover so it can be safely read out in the woods!

Jack Watson

This is a fantastic book for anyone who is interested in practical knowledge of how one of nature's most fundamental resources - the humble tree- can be utilised for outdoor living skills, craft and conservation. Informative, insightful and humorous; the book is easy to read with clear instructions so that following any of the suggestions found within is achievable for any reader. What stands out is John's attention to detail and thoroughness when explaining the different processes, supplemented by helpful pictures and useful anecdotes! Overall, what is clear when reading is John's obvious respect and admiration for the natural world which can't be anything but infectious. The author has lived the subject for many years and this experience shines through. As a result 'Woodcraft' comes highly recommended.

Diarmund Farmer

Brilliant book, John has managed to write this book exactly as he would tell it, I can imagine John speaking as I read it. Well put together easy to follow, exactly like one of his courses.

Amazon Customer

What an awesome book! I can’t wait for more volumes from John.. This book is such a great aid for anyone wanting learn more about bushcraft & the natural environment

Mr M Anderson-Jones 

Love it a really good read and written in a way that it is easy to follow


This book is a good field manual, across many subjects and well explained. I am a scout and will be very useful in my activities.

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