VERY book that I have seen, purporting to be a beginner's manual, and dealing with the technique of any art of which I had hoped to acquire the rudiments, has baffled me by unimportant and extraneous information. There would be the history of the art, the methods used by various ancient practitioners and the evolution of processes and formulae with ingredients mentioned in such obsolete terms that no modern compounder of prescriptions could make head or tail of them - all before one got an inkling of the actual procedure. The idea back of this sort of thing seemingly is to impress the reader with the author's erudition, and at the same time to confound the poor novice to the point of distraction - in short, to discourage him. My experience in this line has been such that I determined if ever I had a hand in imparting the technique of woodcutting, the initial steps would be over a path cleared ruthlessly of dead facts and fictions - of matter which only an old hand at the game should want to know, and which could be acquired in the by-paths of one's career.
I have assumed that this book will be read chiefly by people who want to make woodcuts, and I have tried to keep in mind the handicaps of those who live far from the sources of the tools and materials of the art. For their benefit the names of manufacturers and suppliers and their addresses are appended.
It is suggested to those who are interested in woodcuts rather than in the actual practice of woodcutting, and who may resent being thrown into the subject so violently, that they attack first the chapter called 'After Words'; it is an introduction.