Showing posts from August, 2018

Great Designs in Wood (42) - The LCT1

It's beginning to get really fun watching the increasing action in tall wood buildings. Austria now boasts the LifeCycle Tower, or LCT1, in Dornbirn. This structure is architecturally designed around  passive house energy technology, and it wooden structural members of engineered spruce and silver fir are externally visible inside the building, creating that warm, outdoorsy feeling so uncommon in modern office towers.

Here's a short video of  Hubert Rhomberg, the CEO of the company that built the tower, explaining the motivation behind the tower.

And here is a great video showing time-lapse photography of the construction of the tower, built in only eight days by five construction workers, after all the components were pre-fabricated. Even the foundations were pre-built, and the second half of the video shows it all happening in the factory.

It is invigorating to watch, almost in real time, the advances in construction science, and how wood is playing an integral and primary r…

America's Last Totally Steam-Powered Mill

All of you who enjoyed the post "Woodworking in the 1940's" will love this one. The Phillips Brothers Mill and Box Factory of Oak Run, California, operates much the same as it did when newly built in 1897. What millions used to do on a daily basis, for pennies a day, now is performed by just a few gifted folks who are creating wooden products that are truly unique. And while it may look romantic, I'd bet they'd tell you there are days....

The mill has a website that provides historical detail. Here's a sample paragraph that I love...
"A disastrous accident occurred on their chute where a curve had been made on a steep part of the hillside.  The horses strained and stumbled over rocks with their burden snagging and catching as the chute made the turn.  Suddenly, a log jumped the trough and plunged downward entangling the frightened horses with chains and crashing logs.  Seven horses were killed, including Ed's favorite, Big Vick (a large black horse) th…

Don't Fence Me In

Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above  Don't fence me in  Let me ride through the wide open country that I love  Don't fence me in  Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze  And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees  Send me off forever but I ask you please  Don't fence me in.
And so begins a new chapter of Go Wood.

I imagine everyone out there has run into a situation where you felt like someone was trying to fence you in, trying to make you conform to some nebulous standard which is clear only to them. It can be frustrating...but hey, that's life. It happens to us all sooner or later.

And when it does, and we jump the fence and break into the clear, it can be invigorating. Fresh wind at our back, new companions to ride with, new places to see and conquer.  A chance to listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees just for the pleasure of it. Without the constraints that hobbled us in the past...

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commence…

Those Wacky Brazil Nuts

Working on the Penn State Xylarium recently, I stumbled across a specimen of Bertholletia excelsa, which is more commonly known as the Brazil nut tree. This is another one of those examples where you see the product all the time, without really thinking about where it comes from. To me, it's just a large white nut that I knock out of the way while I'm searching out the pecans and almonds.

But now that I know all this, I'll have a little more respect for the Brazil nut.

Interesting factoid from the video...that the Brazil nut is the only commercial nut in the world that is harvested from the wild. Those are also some nice tall, straight stems. I can see why the locals are trying to optimize the combination of harvesting timber and nuts. It is also listed on the IUCN Red List as a Vulnerable species, which is why there is research going on to help conserve the habitat. From what we learn in the video, the research looks well-thought out and practical, with the research team …