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Wood Basics Understanding Wood by R. Bruce Hoadley; Taunton Press, Newtown, Conn.; 1980; 250 pages; $21.95, hardcover. Wood Engineering Handbook by the USDA Forest Products Laboratory; Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; 1974; $49.95, loose-leaf 3-ring binder. Written primarily for woodworkers, Understanding Wood by Bruce Hoadley is among the best all-around references on the nature of wood and how to work it for any carpenter or wood-butcher who cares about what he does. Hoadley's opening remarks concerning his early interest sent me into nostalgic reminiscences about my grandfather's basement workshop and the woodchip smell at my uncle's chainsaw exhibition at the Wisconsin State Fair. This rather poetic perspective on wood surfaced again when Hoadley addressed the subjective properties we appreciate in wood-things such as