Physically speaking, wood has the qualities of both stone and metal: stronger in cross section than is stone, wood resembles steel in its physical properties: its relatively high tensile and compressive strength, together with its elasticity. Stone is a mass: but wood, by its nature, is already a structure. The difference in toughness, tensile strength, weight, and permeability of various species of wood, from pine to hornbeam, from cedar to teak, give wood a natural range of adaptability to various purposes that is matched in metals only as a result of a long evolution of metallurgical skill: lead, tin, copper, gold, and their alloys, the original assortment, offered a meagre choice of possibilities, and down to the end of the nineteenth century wood presented a greater variety. Since wood can be planed, sawed, turned, carved, split, sliced, and even softened and bent or cast, it is the most responsive of all materials to craftsmanship: it lends itself to the greatest variety of techniques. But in its natural state wood keeps the shape of the tree and retains its structure: and the original shape of the wood suggests appropriate tools and  adaptations of form. The curve of the branch forms the bracket, the forked stick forms the handle and the primitive type of plow. (Mumford 1934:78-9)
MUMFORD, Lewis. 1934. Technique and civilization. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company.