A desire has for some time been expressed in various quarters for a Hand-Book of Slojd, written from the educational point of view. There have been many indications, especially in connection with Slojd carpentry, that teachers are not well enough acquainted with the tools employed to select and manage them properly ; and a degree of uncertainty seems to prevail regarding the right method of executing the exercises. Now, it is true that no one can acquire this knowledge from books; the way to acquire it is by practical, personal experience. Yet, to retain this experience, and apply it, is partially a matter of memory, and, therefore, systematically arranged directions are capable of rendering aid which is not to be despised. A hand-book like the present does not, and could not, supersede personal experience at the bench, or render a course of instruction unnecessary. Its sole object is to supplement and complete the notes which every conscientious student takes during such a course. Its aim is, therefore, chiefly to strengthen and confirm knowledge already acquired; but, though it is thus limited in scope, and, on this account, perhaps to be regarded as in some respects incomplete, the writers venture to express the hope that it will be welcomed by many teachers.
Books are, perhaps, more frequently published before their time than after it; and although there have been numerous opportunities for observation in the province of Educational Slojd during the last eighteen years (the Slojd Institution at Naas having begun operations in 1872), the writers are nevertheless uncertain whether the time has really yet come for the publication of definite directions; or, at least, whether their knowledge of the subject is yet complete enough to justify their appearance in print. But, if they have been premature, the sole reason is to be found in their desire to satisfy a want, which becomes every year more pressing.
The views expressed in the book are, for obvious reasons, in full accordance with the system of instruction followed at Naas. They are the outcome of careful observations, and of experiments tested by practice. Yet, even if these views should be confirmed by many teachers, the writers, knowing that opinions are divided in the matter of instruction in Slojd, as in most other questions, are fully prepared for adverse criticism-Whether this criticism be justified or not, of one thing they are certain, and that is, that in all honesty of purpose and strength of conviction they have striven to fulfil a far from easy task. They trust that others with greater ability will succeed them and do it better. So little attention has hitherto been paid to the subject in question that it has been necessary to generalise and draw conclusions almost exclusively from personal experience. But their motto has been - " Prove all things, hold fast to that which is good "; and much that in the beginning and in the light of comparatively limited experience met with their approval, has, on closer examination, been rejected or modified.
But, though this hand-book is necessarily the outcome chiefly of personal observation and experience, the writers have to some extent been able to avail themselves of the knowledge of others, and to refer to competent authorities. This applies especially to Chapter II (Wood, Or Timber)., for the contents of which frequent reference has been made to the writings of Karmarsch, Thelaus, and others. The Plates at the end, and most of the Illustrations in the body of the book, are executed from original drawings made for the purpose.
In order to keep within due limits, much has been omitted which, perhaps, ought to have been included. Whether or not, on the other hand, some things have been included which ought to have been omitted, must in the meantime be left an open question.
The parts taken by the respective authors are as follows: - Chapter I. has been written by Otto Salomon; Chapters II., III., and IV., by Carl Nordendahl, who also undertook all arrangements connected with the illustrations; and Chapter V., by Alfred Johansson. Looked at as a whole, however, this little book is the product of united labour, and it contains nothing which is not the result of diligent interchange of thought.