This Hand-book was written originally for Swedish people, and in accordance with the conditions which prevail in Swedish schools; but the presence of a large body of English teachers at the Autumn Slojd Course at Naas has testified for the last four years to the interest taken in the subject by English people, and the latest modifications of the English and Scotch Codes as regards manual training, point to the introduction at no distant date of systematic instruction in some branch of manual work in our state-aided schools. It has therefore seemed desirable that this Hand-book of Wood Slojd should be translated for English readers with any modifications necessary to make it suitable for English teachers and students. These modifications consist partly of the omission of matter bearing on conditions peculiar to Sweden, and partly of the addition to the text of certain paragraphs, which seemed necessary from an English point of view. Nothing has been taken away or added without careful consultation with Herr Salomon, and without his approval. At the same time, as any additions to the original text have been made at the suggestion of the translators, and as they are responsible for them, these paragraphs have been enclosed in brackets as translators' notes. The whole translation has been revised under the supervision of Herr Salomon and other competent judges at Naas, and the translators therefore trust that the work they have undertaken is a faithful representation of the views held and acted on at the headquarters of Educational Slojd.
In giving this book to English readers, they feel, however, that one or two points of detail call for special explanation, particularly as these touch on the fundamental principles of educational Slojd, and as any misunderstanding as to details might lead to a more serious misunderstanding as to principles. One of these details is the use of the knife in educational Slojd. In the following pages the use of the knife is often recommended where the English carpenter would use the chisel, or some other special tool. The defence of the knife in such cases is to be fbund in the fact that, while it is the most familiar and the simplest tool which can be put into the hands of the pupil, it is full of potentialities in the hands of the intelligent worker, who can perform with it many exercises which the tradesman executes in a more mechanical way with some other tool.
Again, directions are given which differ in other respects from those which the carpenter would give. The work of the slojder is often done not only with different tools, but in a different order from that of the artisan. This inversion of order is a natural consequence of the principle that each article shall be executed entirely by the individual worker. Division of labour, though necessary from the tradesman's point of view, is not permitted in Slojd, deadening, as it does, individuality, and reducing to a minimum the calls made on the intelligence.
These and other deviations from the methods of the carpenter are made not in ignorance, but of set purpose, and have their grounds in the comprehensive principle that all method in Slojd must aim in the first place at the physical and mental development of the pupil, and only at the production of articles in so far as this subserves the primary aim.
In close connection with this stands the question of the place occupied in the system by the articles produced, i.e., by the models. Clear as this question appears in the light of the fundamental principles on which educational Slojd is based, the idea still seems to prevail to some extent that, if the principles are accepted, the Naas models must also be accepted unconditionally, and that the two stand and fall together. So far is this from being the case that, at the present time, one series of Naas models is gradually becoming English in its character, and only waits further suggestions from English teachers to become entirely so. The sole reason that it still contains models which do not entirely fulfil the condition of being familiar and useful in the homes of English children, is that English people have hitherto been unable to suggest satisfactory substitutes. The models are merely the expression of the system, and to carry out that system thoroughly they must be national in then* character, and ought, therefore, to vary in their nature with the countries into which Slojd is introduced as a subject of instruction.
The translators are at present engaged on an English edition of Herr Johansson's Manual of Directions for making the models mentioned in the preceding paragraph. This Manual, which will be ready for issue shortly, will complete the Handbook on the purely practical side. As the principles on which Slojd rests as an educational factor are necessarily very briefly dealt with in the Handbook, the translators are glad to learn that "The Theory of Slojd," the only authorised English edition of Herr Salomon's Lectures, edited by an Inspector of Schools, will shortly appear, and will form a companion volume to this Handbook.
As this translation, like the original, is the work of more than one writer, it remains to add that the book has been translated into English by Mary R. Walker, with the assistance of William Nelson on all points relating to technical knowledge and technical terminology.