Valuable Wood

Big shrubs and small trees as valuable and sustainable resource of wood

Not a long time ago, almost all equipment and tools for daily routines were made out of wood especially in rural areas. Iron and other metals were a sign of prosperity. Different parts of equipment were differently stressed by their use. Therefore, the choice of wood species selection was manifold. Alexander Peez mentioned 1899, that at a carinthian farm house twelve different wood species were utilised. Josef Blau 1917 counted 27 species at a bohemian farm house. He mentioned that each wood species was selected due to its characteristics.
Nowadays, these wood species, big shrubs and small trees (like cornelian cherry, barberry, etc.), are no longer in use. In historical literature (back to the 17th century), these species are described in detail, but without usable figures of the characteristics.

Goal of this project was to collect wood from such shrubs and trees and test it according to modern standards. Figures of wood density, strength, swelling behavior etc. were determined. Other characteristics like the ability of lubrication were mentioned in historical literature. However, there are no modern possibilities to test them. On the one hand, students performed standard tests of such species, and on the other hand they tried to set up new methods of testing (like scratching).

During previous projects carried out in different Austrian museums, the wood species of various goods have been determined together with the description of the loads on these wooden parts. These results, together with the analyses of historical literature and modern figures of characteristics were combined. A detailed description of the characteristics and the utilisation acted as basis to set up new, sustainable applications.

This project has been completed.