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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Mon 14 Nov, 2005 9:08 pm    Post subject: Historical wood use         Reply with quote

Is anyone familiar with any sources or research on different wood use in ancient and medieval europe? Seems like most everything I find is more based on examples from the 16th century forward. In most research and articles it just always seems to be "wood fragments" and that is about the best you get. So even when it does mention a specific wood used it is so scattered that it becomes hard to put it all together in a useful way.

At this point I think I'm going to just start looking for a good guide on native European woods, anyone know of a good one?

Shane
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Alexander Hinman




Location: washington, dc
Joined: 08 Oct 2005
Reading list: 50 books

Posts: 180

PostPosted: Tue 15 Nov, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well, looking through a book of an archaeological excavation of Novgorod, I can tell you one thing: The Russians used wood like mad. Heck, the book states that 'the Russian medieval period was an "Age of Wood"'.

Now, as for the types: Maple and ash were used in the manufacture of all kinds of eating vessels and plates. '1,000 carved spoons and ladles were found made exclusively out of maple'. Bark was used, both birch and pine, to line these containers.

Birch was used almost exclusively for its bark. The bark was used to wrap drainage pipes, write on, and wrap composite bows. Birch and Juniper wood were used for the bows.

Pine and ocassionally larch and oak were used for walls.

It's therefore safe to say that any of these woods could potentially be considered 'native' to Europe. As for a good guide on European wood, however, I have none. In any case, I hope I was of some help!

Oh, and the book is Novgorod the Great: Excavations at the Medieval City 1951-62 directed by A.V. Artshikhovsky & B. A. Kolchin Compiled and written by M.W. Thompson
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Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 1:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Early Anglo-Saxon Shield by Dickinson and Haerke lists the woods used in some detail. Linden, Poplar, Willow, Alder all show up in the boards.
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Eric McHugh
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Location: Crown Point, IN
Joined: 17 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 5:31 pm    Post subject: Some where...         Reply with quote

I found a University paper that was online that was a study of woods used on Viking items...like an idiot, I failed to download it. So, apparently some studies have been done. I do know that fruit woods were quite popular on many items including knives. One source list boxwood as a handle material. Some African woods found their way North on occasion.
Find me on Facebook, or check out my blog. Contact me at eric@crownforge.net or ericmycue374@comcast.net if you want to talk about a commission or discuss an available piece.
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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 9:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks guys....

I am looking more for woods to be used a hilt materials specifically. So much of the shield woods like poplar and linden wouldn't be that good. I do have Early Anglo Saxon Shields, good read.... For some reason in the context of shields and spears they mention wood types more than hilt woods.

Ok Eric that is just another thing added to your list of reasons to kick your butt. I'll see if I can turn it up though. Recall hearing the same about fruit woods and have been looking for some. Have some cherry, but really would like to get some apple and maybe pear. Good to hear that about Boxwood though, I have been planning on picking some up. Almost seems like it was boxwood that it mentioned was somewhat water resistant, something that might not be that bad for hilts. Maybe thinking of something else entirely though, way too much wood into lately. Probably also going to get some elm and chestnut as well.

Maple, ash (picked up a block already), oak, and walnut all seem to be pretty good bets as well. If I get my hands on some nice oak burl I might be using that at some point. I just mainly want to avoid going to all the work and then using something from South America or somewhere like that when there are plenty of good looking woods that I could be using.

I'll try to ILL the book you mentioned Alexander, and try to find the article you should have saved Eric.

Shane
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Felix Wang




Location: Fresno, CA
Joined: 23 Aug 2003
Reading list: 17 books

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Posts: 394

PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 8:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't have the book handy, but you might check if Dickinson and Haerke talk about the wood used in shield grips, along with the iron. That might be closer to the material type you are interested in.
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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll go back and check that out and see what they list for the grips, thanks Felix.

Shane
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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 4:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok, I think that I'm just going to start making a list. Nate suggested I check out an article by Stead and it has been very helpful.

Iron Age Burials From Eastern Yorkshire by I.M. Stead

Willow or Poplar (spear shafts, shield bodies, scabbards, and a possible knife case)
Birch (shield spine)
Alder (shield spine, shield body, spear shafts, and scabbards)
Ash (scabbard and spear shafts)
Hazel (scabbards and spear shafts)
Oak (sword hilt and possibly scabbard part)
Boxwood (hammer handle and file handle)
Apple, Pear, or Hawthorn ? (hammer handle)
Maple, Cherry, or Lime ? (shield and scabbard)


Early Anglo-Saxon Shields by Dickinson and Harke

Alder (shield body, possibly handle)
Maple ? (shield body)
Oak (shield body)
Lime (shield body and handle)
Ash (shield body)
Willow or Poplar (shield body and handle)
Hazel ? (shield body)
Birch ? (handle)


Shane
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Geoff Wood




Location: UK
Joined: 31 Aug 2003

Posts: 634

PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 5:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr Allee
Not aware of it being found in the weapon uses your looking at, but Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) is/was used for tool functions, sometimes where we'd now use iron.
Geoff
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Shane Allee
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Location: South Bend, IN
Joined: 29 Aug 2003

Posts: 506

PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Shane is fine...

I'll look into Hornbeam and see what I can find out about it, thanks very much.

Shane
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