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Re: Crossbar Question

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  • Tim
    Hi guys, Thanks for all that feedback. It sounds like there might be an advantage in one piece construction in that it s easier to make. The reason I asked the
    Message 1 of 15 , Mar 2, 2011
      Hi guys,

      Thanks for all that feedback. It sounds like there might be an advantage in one piece construction in that it's easier to make. The reason I asked the question was because I was wondering which construction method was traditional and which one was a more recent innovation. I have to say that it's pretty hard to find examples of lyres from the ancient world that are made from one piece, and so I actually suspect that it's the one-piece design that's the innovation, something that is probably easier to do for Germanic lyres than many others because of how narrow they are. The curve of the crossbar is also a rather unusual feature, and no doubt adds some strength to the design, although ironically it's the Trossingen lyre with it's one-piece construction that seems to have the straightest crossbar of all the extant Germanic lyres.

      There seems to be disagreement about how much danger there is in crossbars cracking due to changes in humidity. Simon, I don't think any of the one-piece German lyres show signs of having this problem, but Graeme Lawson believes that the rivets in the crossbar of the Prittlewell lyre were probably a repair that was made after some cracking occured, so it might well have been a serious problem, especially given that the metal mounts seen in the x-rays suggests a two-piece construction for the lyre, which emphasises how serious the problem might actually have been.




      > Hi, one if the things that interests me about the English lyre necks
      > is that they are often made from a curved piece of timber, i.e. with
      > the grain of the wood following or semi-following the curve of the
      > yoke. Graeme Lawson includes a great sketch of this, for Bergh Apton,
      > Sutton hoo, and Taplow, in p.95 of East Anglian Archaeology report 7,
      > 1978.


      Yes, it sounds very much like strength was regarded as a serious concern, enough so that it was worth the extra trouble of finding a special piece of timber with the appropriate shape and grain. Michael made my lyre that way, so hopefully that will protect it against the regular extremes of temperature and humidity that my lyre experiences.



      > Its way easier to make the lyre body and yoke in one piece. As are all the mainland European lyres so far..


      Michael, I'm not absolutely sure that that's the case. When I looked at the photo of the Oberflacht lyre from grave 84 in a link you posted a while ago, it looks to me like it might have a separate crossbar with wooden pegs pinning it to the arms, but I'm not absolutely sure. Here's your link again:

      http://www.orfeo.co.uk/My_Homepage_Files/Page23.html


      If it is indeed made from two pieces, then that would tend to support the idea that this was the more traditional method of construction, since the one-piece lyres would then be the most geographically restricted, found only in southern Germany. But with so few Germanic lyres discovered so far, it's hard to be sure.

      Cheers,
      Tim
    • Kazimierz Verkmastare
      You know, I don t think it is the natural environmental issues that cause the problems. �We tend to take for granted that we keep our instruments reasonably
      Message 2 of 15 , Mar 2, 2011
        You know, I don't think it is the natural environmental issues that cause the problems.  We tend to take for granted that we keep our instruments reasonably well protected, transporting them is done in a 'soft' manner (protect mostly in a bag or box in a car, on a plane, etc.   A person making his living in the early part of this millennium would have had far more extreme use of the instrument, and far more extreme treatment of it even with the best the period had to offer for a performer in most venues.
         
        I have seen many gusli broken at the bar, and have had a few lyres break at the pins (even a maple sutton hoo style) because they were heavily used at SCA functions and performed with regularly and it was simply hard use that caused the pins to wedge the wood apart.  So now I recess the front and back of my lyres (most of the time, except when I am building for absolute authenticity) at the crossbar about 1/8 inch on the front and back, and lay in 1/8 inch planks running cross grain to the main body.  Putting the cross grain reinforcements at the points of highest stress (the ends of the holes) creates 3 layers that have to split, and I have yet to see one show signs of failure.
         
        I think also that a few of the instruments with mortised pegbars might have been repairs.  Once an instrument splits at a peghole, there is little you can do except scab on wood front and back or replace the part.  An enterprising craftsman would have known how to make the strongest joint in this situation, and so the idea of this being a professional repair to a broken instrument with some value isn't beyond question.  It is what I would have (and in at least one case, have) done.  And while I am not a professional, I can't believe I thought of fixing one this way and nobody during the hundreds of years of the lyre's heyday ever did.
         
        Just a few things to consider.  After all, not everything has to be approached as if it were the original design of an item - in a time when things were far less disposable, objects probably went through a whole lot more repair / recycle / repurpose than we currently consider worthwhile for return on investment.
         
        Chris

        >
        >
        > Hi guys,
        >
        > Thanks for all that feedback. It sounds like there might be an
        > advantage in one piece construction in that it's easier to make.
        > The reason I asked the question was because I was wondering which
        > construction method was traditional and which one was a more recent
        > innovation. I have to say that it's pretty hard to find examples of
        > lyres from the ancient world that are made from one piece, and so I
        > actually suspect that it's the one-piece design that's the
        > innovation, something that is probably easier to do for Germanic
        > lyres than many others because of how narrow they are. The curve of
        > the crossbar is also a rather unusual feature, and no doubt adds
        > some strength to the design, although ironically it's the
        > Trossingen lyre with it's one-piece construction that seems to have
        > the straightest crossbar of all the extant Germanic lyres.
        >
        > There seems to be disagreement about how much danger there is in
        > crossbars cracking due to changes in humidity. Simon, I don't think
        > any of the one-piece German lyres show signs of having this
        > problem, but Graeme Lawson believes that the rivets in the crossbar
        > of the Prittlewell lyre were probably a repair that was made after
        > some cracking occured, so it might well have been a serious
        > problem, especially given that the metal mounts seen in the x-rays
        > suggests a two-piece construction for the lyre, which emphasises
        > how serious the problem might actually have been.
        >
        >> Hi, one if the things that interests me about the English lyre
        >> necks is that they are often made from a curved piece of timber,
        >> i.e. with the grain of the wood following or semi-following the
        >> curve of the yoke. Graeme Lawson includes a great sketch of this,
        >> for Bergh Apton, Sutton hoo, and Taplow, in p.95 of East Anglian
        >> Archaeology report 7, 1978.
        >>
        >
        > Yes, it sounds very much like strength was regarded as a serious
        > concern, enough so that it was worth the extra trouble of finding a
        > special piece of timber with the appropriate shape and grain.
        > Michael made my lyre that way, so hopefully that will protect it
        > against the regular extremes of temperature and humidity that my
        > lyre experiences.
        >
        >> Its way easier to make the lyre body and yoke in one piece.  As
        >> are all the mainland European lyres so far..
        >>
        > Michael, I'm not absolutely sure that that's the case. When I
        > looked at the photo of the Oberflacht lyre from grave 84 in a link
        > you posted a while ago, it looks to me like it might have a
        > separate crossbar with wooden pegs pinning it to the arms, but I'm
        > not absolutely sure. Here's your link again:
        >
        >
        > If it is indeed made from two pieces, then that would tend to
        > support the idea that this was the more traditional method of
        > construction, since the one-piece lyres would then be the most
        > geographically restricted, found only in southern Germany. But with
        > so few Germanic lyres discovered so far, it's hard to be sure.
        >
        > Cheers,
        > Tim
        >
        >
        >
      • michael king
        I agree with you comments Chris about items being repaired...  the Trossingen, Prittlewell, and probably the Taplow lyre too show evidence of this.   good
        Message 3 of 15 , Mar 3, 2011
          I agree with you comments Chris about items being repaired...  the Trossingen, Prittlewell, and probably the Taplow lyre too show evidence of this.   good pointers too about making lyres for more rugged use!!

          Michael

          --- On Thu, 3/3/11, Kazimierz Verkmastare <kaz@...> wrote:

          From: Kazimierz Verkmastare <kaz@...>
          Subject: Re: [Anglo_Saxon_Lyres] Re: Crossbar Question
          To: Anglo_Saxon_Lyres@yahoogroups.com
          Date: Thursday, 3 March, 2011, 7:42

           

          You know, I don't think it is the natural environmental issues that cause the problems.  We tend to take for granted that we keep our instruments reasonably well protected, transporting them is done in a 'soft' manner (protect mostly in a bag or box in a car, on a plane, etc.   A person making his living in the early part of this millennium would have had far more extreme use of the instrument, and far more extreme treatment of it even with the best the period had to offer for a performer in most venues.
           
          I have seen many gusli broken at the bar, and have had a few lyres break at the pins (even a maple sutton hoo style) because they were heavily used at SCA functions and performed with regularly and it was simply hard use that caused the pins to wedge the wood apart.  So now I recess the front and back of my lyres (most of the time, except when I am building for absolute authenticity) at the crossbar about 1/8 inch on the front and back, and lay in 1/8 inch planks running cross grain to the main body.  Putting the cross grain reinforcements at the points of highest stress (the ends of the holes) creates 3 layers that have to split, and I have yet to see one show signs of failure.
           
          I think also that a few of the instruments with mortised pegbars might have been repairs.  Once an instrument splits at a peghole, there is little you can do except scab on wood front and back or replace the part.  An enterprising craftsman would have known how to make the strongest joint in this situation, and so the idea of this being a professional repair to a broken instrument with some value isn't beyond question.  It is what I would have (and in at least one case, have) done.  And while I am not a professional, I can't believe I thought of fixing one this way and nobody during the hundreds of years of the lyre's heyday ever did.
           
          Just a few things to consider.  After all, not everything has to be approached as if it were the original design of an item - in a time when things were far less disposable, objects probably went through a whole lot more repair / recycle / repurpose than we currently consider worthwhile for return on investment.
           
          Chris

          >
          >
          > Hi guys,
          >
          > Thanks for all that feedback. It sounds like there might be an
          > advantage in one piece construction in that it's easier to make.
          > The reason I asked the question was because I was wondering which
          > construction method was traditional and which one was a more recent
          > innovation. I have to say that it's pretty hard to find examples of
          > lyres from the ancient world that are made from one piece, and so I
          > actually suspect that it's the one-piece design that's the
          > innovation, something that is probably easier to do for Germanic
          > lyres than many others because of how narrow they are. The curve of
          > the crossbar is also a rather unusual feature, and no doubt adds
          > some strength to the design, although ironically it's the
          > Trossingen lyre with it's one-piece construction that seems to have
          > the straightest crossbar of all the extant Germanic lyres.
          >
          > There seems to be disagreement about how much danger there is in
          > crossbars cracking due to changes in humidity. Simon, I don't think
          > any of the one-piece German lyres show signs of having this
          > problem, but Graeme Lawson believes that the rivets in the crossbar
          > of the Prittlewell lyre were probably a repair that was made after
          > some cracking occured, so it might well have been a serious
          > problem, especially given that the metal mounts seen in the x-rays
          > suggests a two-piece construction for the lyre, which emphasises
          > how serious the problem might actually have been.
          >
          >> Hi, one if the things that interests me about the English lyre
          >> necks is that they are often made from a curved piece of timber,
          >> i.e. with the grain of the wood following or semi-following the
          >> curve of the yoke. Graeme Lawson includes a great sketch of this,
          >> for Bergh Apton, Sutton hoo, and Taplow, in p.95 of East Anglian
          >> Archaeology report 7, 1978.
          >>
          >
          > Yes, it sounds very much like strength was regarded as a serious
          > concern, enough so that it was worth the extra trouble of finding a
          > special piece of timber with the appropriate shape and grain.
          > Michael made my lyre that way, so hopefully that will protect it
          > against the regular extremes of temperature and humidity that my
          > lyre experiences.
          >
          >> Its way easier to make the lyre body and yoke in one piece.  As
          >> are all the mainland European lyres so far..
          >>
          > Michael, I'm not absolutely sure that that's the case. When I
          > looked at the photo of the Oberflacht lyre from grave 84 in a link
          > you posted a while ago, it looks to me like it might have a
          > separate crossbar with wooden pegs pinning it to the arms, but I'm
          > not absolutely sure. Here's your link again:
          >
          >
          > If it is indeed made from two pieces, then that would tend to
          > support the idea that this was the more traditional method of
          > construction, since the one-piece lyres would then be the most
          > geographically restricted, found only in southern Germany. But with
          > so few Germanic lyres discovered so far, it's hard to be sure.
          >
          > Cheers,
          > Tim
          >
          >
          >

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