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Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties by D.C. Beard

256 pp. $10.95. Shelter Publications/Random House.

Lloyd Kahn's Shelter Publications has reprinted this 1914 "classic." The author, D.C. Beard, was one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America, which explains the book's dedication to "boys of all ages," and its underlying premise that one can (or once could) wander out into the woods with a hatchet and ax and build anything from a wooden cave entrance to a two-story log home with dovetailed corners.

Chances are pretty slim that you and I are going to be roofing with birch bark or throwing away our chainsaws and felling with an ax, but Mr. Beard was a decent wordslinger and a very good pen-and-ink illustrator. So, even though the era it represents is gone beaver, the book still has intrinsic value as a historical record of simple architectural and building practices. This could be a very useful manual for someone wanting to construct a sweat lodge or tree house.

Excerpts:

" By the natural process of evolution we have now arrived at the tree-top house. It is interesting to the writer to see the popularity of this style of an outdoor building, for, while he cannot lay claim to originating it, he was the first to publish the working drawings of a tree-house....Having occasion to travel across the continent shortly after the first plans were published, he was amused to see all along the route, here and there in back-yard fruit-trees, shade-trees, and in forest-trees, queer little shanties built by the boys, high up among the boughs."

" If the reader has ever built little log-cabin traps he knows just how to build a Navajo hogan....This one is six-sided and may be improved by notching the logs...and building them up one on top of the other, dome-shaped, to the required height. After laying some rafters for the roof and leaving a hole for the chimney the frame is complete. In hot countries no chimney hole is left in the roof, because the people there do not build fires inside the house; they go indoors to keep cool and not to get warm; but the Navajo hogan also makes a good cold-country house in places where people really need a fire."

 

ISBN: 0486437477

Order it now from Amazon.com!