Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral
#11
  
I guess you've all heard about the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris?  The whole wooden roof and spire, much of which dated to the Middle Ages, is gone.  Thank heaven that the surrounding stone structure remains intact, and that the fire didn't get any father!  It's still a massive blow to such a building.  

Now as people start to talk about reconstruction, I'm very interested to watch the process--from the perspective of a woodworker.  It has me wondering all sorts of things--will they try to reconstruct using the same medieval techniques, or will they adapt modern materials and methods?  Who even has the skills to rebuild something like this anymore? 

What got me thinking about this was this article, which explains that the kinds of old-growth timber used in the original construction is just no longer available anymore. It seems that some of the oaks used in the original construction might have been 300-400 years old at the time.  Then I got to thinking--wait a second, old-growth oak tends to be more brittle than second-growth stuff, since the growth rings are much closer together in old-growth.  Why not use the stronger, plantation-grown oak instead?  The article quotes some experts, but they seem to be experts in forest preservation, not necessarily the working properties of different woods.  Regardless, I'm really curious about where and how they will source their timber.  Then there's the question of who will do the reconstruction.  It can't be easy to find enough people with the skills to take on a project of this scale.

All that to say, as the reconstruction on Notre Dame begins, I hope we woodworkers some insights into architectural woodworking.  It's not every day that you get to see the roof and spire of a medieval cathedral completely rebuilt.
Steve S.
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#12
  Re: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Bibliophile 13 (I guess you've all h...)
I think there are plenty of craftsman in Europe that have the skillset, many of their construction methods go back centuries.

Very different than our country where everything is "new".

Materials sourcing will be a different issue.

Ed
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#13
  Re: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Bibliophile 13 (I guess you've all h...)
I would imagine that something like the Smithsonian or such, will follow and document the construction. Will be interesting to see.
I wonder how the stained glass faired?
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#14
  Re: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Bibliophile 13 (I guess you've all h...)
I think for fire safety reasons they are going to go with main beams of steel as it will be lighter and safer. Trick is how to mate it with the possibly fire damaged masonry. Somehow, I can't see them using timber; perhaps engineered wood. They will figure it out. Lots of restoration expertise and craftsman in France. I used to go to Paris for business a lot (6-7 times a year for several years), and watched a number of reconstruction of old buildings. Guys worked like snails (lots of trade union rules), I'd leave and be back in a month and would note not that much progress, but they did it right and when it was done it looked great.
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#15
  Re: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Bibliophile 13 (I guess you've all h...)
Steve, I've wondered the same things. There will have to be a lot of decisions made as reconstructions begins. Modernize or not? Use traditional materials and methods or not? Upgrade physical security with modern equipment or not (Given what happened, that one should be a no-brainer). I wonder who will be in charge of the reconstruction; the French Government? The Vatican? Glad I don't have to decide these things. It will be interesting to watch, for sure. It sounds like the fire, while terribly devastating, could have been much worse. A good thing. I read somewhere this week that it took an astounding number of trees to build the superstructure - like in the thousands. Amazing!
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#16
  Re: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Bibliophile 13 (I guess you've all h...)
Since the wooden structure was never visible above the brick and stone arches I'd hope they would go with a steel structure.. Bar joists or red iron.  Much stronger and lighter.  Roofing on the original was lead sheets which I would think they would want to match with something as long lasting.
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#17
  Re: RE: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Splinter Puller (Since the wooden str...)
(04-17-2019, 02:14 PM)Splinter Puller Wrote: Since the wooden structure was never visible above the brick and stone arches I'd hope they would go with a steel structure.. Bar joists or red iron.  Much stronger and lighter.  Roofing on the original was lead sheets which I would think they would want to match with something as long lasting.

A funny thing about steel structures...

If you have a kitchen fire in wood studded home and the fire department douses the flames fairly quickly, rehab consists of ripping off the old drywall panels and putting up fresh ones.  Replacing a few badly burned studs, but ones that are lightly charred still retain their structure.  New paint, appliances and flooring and you are back in business.


If you have a kitchen fire in steel studded home and the fire department douses the flames fairly quickly, rehab consists of tearing down the entire kitchen structure as the heat will have compromised the structure of even pristine looking studs.  

There is FRT wood (fire retardent treated wood).  Someone will have to do a lot of evaluating before deciding on steel, or wood.
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#18
  Re: RE: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Splinter Puller (Since the wooden str...)
I'm an engineer and appreciate new methods and materials, but I hope they rebuild it exactly like the original.  It stood for more or less 800 years with the materials and methods they used.   To my way of thinking iconic structures should be maintained as originally built if at all possible.  Past generations with good intentions have irreparably harmed many old masterpieces.  

John
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#19
  Re: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Bibliophile 13 (I guess you've all h...)
(04-17-2019, 03:22 PM)jteneyck Wrote: I'm an engineer and appreciate new methods and materials, but I hope they rebuild it exactly like the original.  It stood for more or less 800 years with the materials and methods they used.   To my way of thinking iconic structures should be maintained as originally built if at all possible.  Past generations with good intentions have irreparably harmed many old masterpieces.  

John

John, I'm with you in that I would love to see them honor the original craftsmen and craftsmanship by putting it back exactly as it was. Probably, what you will see is reconstruction favoring more modern materials and methods. This would be for the sake of expedience, cost, safety, etc. It remains to be seen if it turns out to benefit longevity as well. It is so very sad that the possibility of this catastrophe was not foreseen and that sprinkler systems, firebreaks, etc. were not retrofitted to prevent it.
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#20
  Re: Rebuilding Notre Dame Cathedral by Bibliophile 13 (I guess you've all h...)
i read today that there has been over a billion dollars tentatively raised to rebuild it
and some one has said it may take 5 years to do others saying many many years even with more modern building tools
originally it had to have been a monumental project
can anyone of us alive today see that being built without numerous cranes and untold other large equipment ?
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