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Free access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture

Abstract

Replicating ancient musical instruments is a method to protect fragile originals from extensive playing. In the case of stringed instruments, replicas are generally realized by luthiers using identical wood species and geometry, according to dimensional surveys. Although this procedure yields a highly similar visual aspect, the intrinsic variability of wood properties does not ensure an identical sound. Therefore, acoustic surveys are a fundamental step in reproducing the sounds of original instruments. In this work, we report the acoustical survey of a late baroque mandolin preserved at Museo degli Strumenti Musicali del Castello Sforzesco di Milano. The survey was conducted using portable equipment and included measurements of the radiated sound spectrum, admittance, monopole mobility, and mode shape assignment. Finite Element Analyses (FEA) enabled the assignment of mode shapes and quantification of the effect of a crack on the structural integrity and acoustics of the instrument. This study has laid the foundation for the creation of a replica that, beyond the visual aspect, would resemble the original instrument in terms of sound to the extent feasible.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture

Abstract

Timber has regained popularity in construction in recent years due to its ecological benefits. The connection methods used in this study play a vital role in the sustainability of structures and materials. Monomaterial timber connections are sustainable alternatives to metal fasteners and adhesives commonly used in construction. Wood is an anisotropic material with dimensional changes resulting from changes in atmospheric conditions. Understanding and accounting for this property are crucial for the longevity and functionality of wooden structures. The cumulative knowledge of wood´s material characteristics and its use in design, construction, and human culture can be defined as wood culture developed through artists’ and craftsmen’s experiences, science, and industry. The development of various techniques by artisans to leverage the dimensional change in wood to join timber elements is a major contribution to wood culture. In contrast, until now, the timber industry has mainly focused on limiting or controlling these changes in standardized production and has neglected their use for joining timber elements. However, technological advances have changed dramatically. The digital manufacturing and analysis of wood structures have the potential to guide machine tools and may allow the integration of dimensional changes, especially in the design and construction of timber joints. This study explores the state-of-the-art utilization of dimensional changes in timber to join elements in craft, material science, and industrial production. The potential of techniques utilizing this behavior for innovation in modern design and construction and their implications for wood culture were examined. Research gaps and avenues for further research are identified.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture

Abstract

Along the coast of northwestern Alaska, architectural wood remains are well preserved in the Birnirk and Thule coastal sites of the early 2nd millennium CE. These structural wood elements are unique archives for documenting climatic variations and cultural transformations during this key development period of Inuit culture. Along this treeless Arctic coast, driftwood accumulates from the subarctic forests of interior Alaska. Except for northwestern Alaska, regional tree-ring chronologies are too short (at best 350–400 years) to successfully date archaeological wood remains from Birnirk and Thule coastal sites using conventional dendrochronology. This paper examines the potential of tree-ring derived δ 18O signal to annually date eight architectural wood samples from the Rising Whale (KTZ-304) site at Cape Espenberg, northwestern Alaska. We developed a δ 18O master chronology, covering the period 935–1157 CE, using five wood samples from the KTZ-304 site. Blind isotope cross-dating of individual series belonging to this δ 18O master chronology (one against the other four) showed conclusive dating and a very strong coherence of the isotopic signal. We, then, used the δ 18O master chronology to cross-date three other wood samples for which we knew, from previous 14C wiggle-matching procedure, the first measured ring to be in this time interval, within a ± 18 to 30-year precision. Oxygen isotope dendrochronology provided a plausible date for one of the samples (the first measured ring at 1073 CE). This preliminary study encourages us to acquire additional data to extend in time and strengthen the δ 18O master chronology of northwestern Alaska (NWAK 18O) and help refine our understanding of climate and culture change during the 2nd millennium CE.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture
Authors: and

Abstract

This study analyzed the morphology of the legs and feet of chairs from the Ming and Qing Dynasties using statistics, and the characteristics were presented in a data-based mode. With furniture samples collected from museums as the research object, the performances of chair legs and feet from different periods were analyzed using cross-analysis and chi-square tests in SPSS 22.0 to find out if statistically significant differences existed. The results show no statistical difference in the morphology of legs and feet of side chairs and armchairs with curved rest from different periods, while significant statistical differences exist in the morphology of the legs and feet of armchairs from the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The results can help people to have a deeper understanding of the legs and feet of chairs from the Ming and Qing Dynasties on a rational cognition level and provide new ideas for the inheritance and innovation of such furniture in modern times.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture
Free access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture
Free access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture
Authors: and

Abstract

The particular macroscopic growth features of the timbers of Bremen-Cog, a late 14th-century cargo vessel, were the subject of a detailed analysis during the European Research Council (ERC) research project TIMBER at the University of Copenhagen. The unexpected depth of the results of this examination led to the feasibility study presented in this paper, which evaluates the meaning of macroscopic growth features in ship archaeological analyses. In the past, the perception of wood in ship-archaeological analyses often seems to be either ignored or strongly idealised causing macroscopic growth features to be missing in many cases as decisive analytical features. The idea of a shipwright, who personally chooses only the best material, was likely born out of an idealised image of the past and influenced by recent shipbuilding practices. Detailed advice on the choice of high-quality timber for shipbuilding only appeared during the 20th century, long after wood was superseded by steel for most vessels, and the competition for shipbuilding timber on the market had ceased. In some cases, this has produced a somewhat distorted interpretation of ships and shipbuilding. As a holistic approach to features of growth can provide information beyond timber quality, such as environmental influences and human impacts on this resource. In certain cases, such an approach can draw conclusions on economic and social circumstances. The information gathered from building timber can alter the interpretation of boats and ships. This paper discusses the demand for shipbuilding timber and its quality in northwest Europe, and aims to reflect on possible social, economic, or environmental reasons for the shipwright’s choices.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture

Abstract

Over the last 30 years, more than 70 pieces of furniture from the Rijksmuseum collection (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) have been dated using dendrochronology. Furniture from the northern Netherlands was seldom dated by the maker and never signed, and only a few documents indicating who and when it was made have survived. Here, we present an overview of the research carried out on 17th-century furniture objects from the Rijksmuseum, with a special focus on the results pertaining to marquetry cabinets produced around the 1700s. We outline the general approach followed to conduct dendrochronological research on cabinets — from the selection of elements to the interpretation of the results. On average, a cabinet consists of fifty to 100 wooden elements. In many of these elements, the end grain is not accessible, and partial dismantling may be required to access the surface and the tree-ring pattern; hence, conscious choices must be made. Seven pieces of furniture are discussed in this paper, including the first cabinet dated by dendrochronology at the Rijksmuseum (the dolls’ house commissioned by Petronella Oortman), a cabinet with inlaid Japanese lacquer panels, and furniture by Jan van Mekeren with intricate marquetry depicting large bouquets of flowers. The results of the dendrochronological research show that the oak used in these cabinets was predominantly sourced in Germany and, to a lesser extent, eastern France. The dates and provenance of the wood were cross-checked with existing art historical dates, which were then refined. The results highlight the added value of dendrochronological analyses of furniture and the contribution of this scientific method to understanding developments in cabinetmaking by chronologically arranging objects made by the same manufacturer. They also point to the need to continue developing and improving regional and local reference tree-ring chronologies to produce more accurate inferences regarding wood provenance.

Open Access
In: International Journal of Wood Culture