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New World woods brought to Europe?

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  • Crazy Cat Lady
    About when would New World woods have started showing up in Europe? I have found references in the V&A to ebony (Africa), teak (East Indies), and rosewood
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 29, 2010
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      About when would New World woods have started showing up in Europe? I have found references in the V&A to ebony (Africa), teak (East Indies), and rosewood (hmmmmm). Given the wide distribution of Dalbergia species, and a bunch of others (even Bubinga is sometimes called African Rosewood)- are there any New-World-exclusive woods that show up in period? And are they ever solid, not just veneers?

      I have an idea of making a needlecase out of something highly figured like Cocobolo, with the thought that it would be a small luxury item for an upper-middle-class/lower-upper-class Elizabethan lady.

      Thank you,
      Kat Ferneley
    • Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
      I could imagine small quantitites of some new world woods making it to Europe early on... But it would probably be as an oddity not as a commodity. As long as
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 29, 2010
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        I could imagine small quantitites of some new world woods
        making it to Europe early on...

        But it would probably be as an oddity not as a commodity.


        As long as there is a 'more profit per square inch' item to be 
        brought back from the newworld I'd think that would be what
        you would see being 'imported'......


        But at the same time I'm kinda in the camp of if you use the wood
        like a medieval craftsman would have used it I have no real issues
        with not using European woods. Think about what qualities the 
        item requires from the wood and find one that fits.

        It's just as hard for US woodworkers to get European woods as
        it is for Europeans to get new world wood.  If the 'scope' of
        the item makes you think it is worth the effort go for it!
         
        Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

        Aude Aliquid Dignum
        ' Dare Something Worthy '



        From: Crazy Cat Lady <brockenspectre@...>
        To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thu, July 29, 2010 4:00:00 PM
        Subject: [MedievalSawdust] New World woods brought to Europe?

         

        About when would New World woods have started showing up in Europe? I have found references in the V&A to ebony (Africa), teak (East Indies), and rosewood (hmmmmm). Given the wide distribution of Dalbergia species, and a bunch of others (even Bubinga is sometimes called African Rosewood)- are there any New-World-exclusive woods that show up in period? And are they ever solid, not just veneers?

        I have an idea of making a needlecase out of something highly figured like Cocobolo, with the thought that it would be a small luxury item for an upper-middle-class/lower-upper-class Elizabethan lady.

        Thank you,
        Kat Ferneley


      • leaking pen
        Also remember that a highly figured wood wouldn t have been prized as a luxury item, more than likely. On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 1:45 PM, Conal O hAirt Jim Hart
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 29, 2010
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          Also remember that a highly figured wood wouldn't have been prized as a luxury item, more than likely.

          On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 1:45 PM, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart <baronconal@...> wrote:
           

          I could imagine small quantitites of some new world woods
          making it to Europe early on...

          But it would probably be as an oddity not as a commodity.


          As long as there is a 'more profit per square inch' item to be 
          brought back from the newworld I'd think that would be what
          you would see being 'imported'......


          But at the same time I'm kinda in the camp of if you use the wood
          like a medieval craftsman would have used it I have no real issues
          with not using European woods. Think about what qualities the 
          item requires from the wood and find one that fits.

          It's just as hard for US woodworkers to get European woods as
          it is for Europeans to get new world wood.  If the 'scope' of
          the item makes you think it is worth the effort go for it!
           
          Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart

          Aude Aliquid Dignum
          ' Dare Something Worthy '



          From: Crazy Cat Lady <brockenspectre@...>
          To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Thu, July 29, 2010 4:00:00 PM
          Subject: [MedievalSawdust] New World woods brought to Europe?

           

          About when would New World woods have started showing up in Europe? I have found references in the V&A to ebony (Africa), teak (East Indies), and rosewood (hmmmmm). Given the wide distribution of Dalbergia species, and a bunch of others (even Bubinga is sometimes called African Rosewood)- are there any New-World-exclusive woods that show up in period? And are they ever solid, not just veneers?

          I have an idea of making a needlecase out of something highly figured like Cocobolo, with the thought that it would be a small luxury item for an upper-middle-class/lower-upper-class Elizabethan lady.

          Thank you,
          Kat Ferneley



        • Beth and Bob Matney
          Large quantities of certain woods from the Americas were imported into Europe shortly after Columbus... but for the textile dye trade. By the 16th century
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 29, 2010
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            Large quantities of certain woods from the Americas were imported
            into Europe shortly after Columbus... but for the textile dye trade.
            By the 16th century 'natural curiosities' were also very popular. The
            mahoganies from the West Indies were the first imports to be
            significantly used as timber for the construction of furniture, but
            other exotics were used for decorative accents, marquetry and
            specialty purposes such as musical instruments. Note that Honduras
            mahogany has a nice grain.. this is not the luan and others that are
            normally sold today as 'mahogany'.

            But it is all relative. Among the Oseburg finds were walnut cups.
            Boxwood was also imported long distances and used for combs in Novgorod.

            Beth

            At 04:07 PM 7/29/2010, you wrote:

            >Also remember that a highly figured wood wouldn't have been prized
            >as a luxury item, more than likely.
            >
            >On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 1:45 PM, Conal O'hAirt Jim Hart
            ><<mailto:baronconal@...>baronconal@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >I could imagine small quantitites of some new world woods
            >making it to Europe early on...
            >
            >But it would probably be as an oddity not as a commodity.
            >
            >
            >As long as there is a 'more profit per square inch' item to be
            >brought back from the newworld I'd think that would be what
            >you would see being 'imported'......
            >
            >
            >But at the same time I'm kinda in the camp of if you use the wood
            >like a medieval craftsman would have used it I have no real issues
            >with not using European woods. Think about what qualities the
            >item requires from the wood and find one that fits.
            >
            >It's just as hard for US woodworkers to get European woods as
            >it is for Europeans to get new world wood. If the 'scope' of
            >the item makes you think it is worth the effort go for it!
            >
            >Baron Conal O'hAirt / Jim Hart
          • kirkdrago
            Kat, I do a lot of work in the exotics, and for me, it depends on what you re doing with it. If its a gift or a prize, I typically don t worry on whether
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 30, 2010
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              Kat,
              I do a lot of work in the exotics, and for me, it depends on what you're doing with it. If its a gift or a prize, I typically don't worry on whether what I'm using is truly period. If it's an A&S entry, then I'll dig out my documentation.

              Here's a link that should help.
              http://www.medievalwoodworking.com/articles/wood.htm

              KirkD
            • Robert Capozello
              Kirk:   Unfortunately, Master Ranulf s webpage has been down for a while now.   -- Marcellus ... From: kirkdrago Subject:
              Message 6 of 13 , Jul 30, 2010
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                Kirk:
                 
                Unfortunately, Master Ranulf's webpage has been down for a while now.
                 
                -- Marcellus

                --- On Fri, 7/30/10, kirkdrago <kith@...> wrote:

                From: kirkdrago <kith@...>
                Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: New World woods brought to Europe?
                To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Friday, July 30, 2010, 7:06 AM

                 

                Kat,
                I do a lot of work in the exotics, and for me, it depends on what you're doing with it. If its a gift or a prize, I typically don't worry on whether what I'm using is truly period. If it's an A&S entry, then I'll dig out my documentation.

                Here's a link that should help.
                http://www.medievalwoodworking.com/articles/wood.htm

                KirkD


              • Megan Shogren
                It is an A&S entry, which is why I m trying to document it.  And have been striking out, so far.  A lot of extant needlecases are bone or metal, neither of
                Message 7 of 13 , Jul 30, 2010
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                  It is an A&S entry, which is why I'm trying to document it.  And have been striking out, so far.  A lot of extant needlecases are bone or metal, neither of which I have the ability to work with like that.  And those are probably more prone to survive, as well.  I have found a handful of wooden ones, but generally they list the material as "wood".  The ones on the Mary Rose I think were local woods (ash, willow, etc.), but then again, that was a military ship.  It seemed like a plausible idea- someone taking an otherwise too-small-to-be-used scrap left over from sawing the exotic log into veneer, and making a needlecase out of it.  My first was made out of a pen blank, if that helps with scale.
                   
                  -Kat Ferneley


                  From: kirkdrago <kith@...>
                  To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                  Sent: Fri, July 30, 2010 7:06:00 AM
                  Subject: [MedievalSawdust] Re: New World woods brought to Europe?

                  Kat,
                  I do a lot of work in the exotics, and for me, it depends on what you're doing with it. If its a gift or a prize, I typically don't worry on whether what I'm using is truly period. If it's an A&S entry, then I'll dig out my documentation.

                  Here's a link that should help.
                  http://www.medievalwoodworking.com/articles/wood.htm

                  KirkD

                • Beth and Bob Matney
                  I would check the Novgorod reports... some of the best small wooden finds are from there.. and depending on time period, was either Viking or part of the
                  Message 8 of 13 , Jul 30, 2010
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                    I would check the Novgorod reports... some of the best small wooden
                    finds are from there.. and depending on time period, was either
                    Viking or part of the Hanseatic network and so give plausibility
                    elsewhere in Europe.

                    Ah, here it is. In Kolchin's 'Wooden Artifacts from Medieval
                    Novgorod' Vol 1 pg 137 carved rectangular boxes are mentioned for
                    storing needles and illustrations are given in Vol 2.

                    Sorry, but I've never seen good documentation on turned 'needle
                    cases' such as are so often seen in the SCA. I am not saying that
                    this doesn't exist.. just that I have not seen it. I would like to...

                    Beth

                    At 08:01 AM 7/30/2010, you wrote:

                    >It is an A&S entry, which is why I'm trying to document it. And
                    >have been striking out, so far. A lot of extant needlecases are
                    >bone or metal, neither of which I have the ability to work with like
                    >that. And those are probably more prone to survive, as well. I
                    >have found a handful of wooden ones, but generally they list the
                    >material as "wood". The ones on the Mary Rose I think were local
                    >woods (ash, willow, etc.), but then again, that was a military
                    >ship. It seemed like a plausible idea- someone taking an otherwise
                    >too-small-to-be-used scrap left over from sawing the exotic log into
                    >veneer, and making a needlecase out of it. My first was made out of
                    >a pen blank, if that helps with scale.
                    >
                    >-Kat Ferneley
                  • Gary R. Halstead
                    It s actually medievalwoodworking.org these days. Once life stops kicking me around the ears, I ll get back and start updating stuff, someday. Ranulf
                    Message 9 of 13 , Jul 30, 2010
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                      It's actually medievalwoodworking.org these days.  Once life stops kicking me around the ears, I'll get back and start updating stuff, someday.

                      Ranulf

                      On Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 7:06 AM, kirkdrago <kith@...> wrote:
                       


                      Kat,
                      I do a lot of work in the exotics, and for me, it depends on what you're doing with it. If its a gift or a prize, I typically don't worry on whether what I'm using is truly period. If it's an A&S entry, then I'll dig out my documentation.

                      Here's a link that should help.
                      http://www.medievalwoodworking.com/articles/wood.htm

                      KirkD


                    • conradh@efn.org
                      ... For that matter, New World larch wood (probably from Labrador or Newfoundland) has been found in Norse graves in their Greenland colony. Don t know if any
                      Message 10 of 13 , Jul 30, 2010
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                        On Thu, July 29, 2010 2:37 pm, Beth and Bob Matney wrote:
                        > Large quantities of certain woods from the Americas were imported
                        > into Europe shortly after Columbus... but for the textile dye trade. By the
                        > 16th century 'natural curiosities' were also very popular. The
                        > mahoganies from the West Indies were the first imports to be significantly
                        > used as timber for the construction of furniture, but other exotics were
                        > used for decorative accents, marquetry and specialty purposes such as
                        > musical instruments. Note that Honduras mahogany has a nice grain.. this
                        > is not the luan and others that are normally sold today as 'mahogany'.
                        >
                        > But it is all relative. Among the Oseburg finds were walnut cups.
                        > Boxwood was also imported long distances and used for combs in Novgorod.
                        >
                        For that matter, New World larch wood (probably from Labrador or
                        Newfoundland) has been found in Norse graves in their Greenland colony.
                        Don't know if any wood ever made it back to mainland Europe from there
                        (not likely, Greenland and Iceland had high demand for wood, and Norway
                        had plenty of its own!)

                        Wood could figure in medium-distance bulk trade in the Middle Ages, as you
                        have pointed out. The English import of Norwegian pine goes back to the
                        Hanseatic League. The Gulf Arabs have been bringing mangrove logs from
                        what's now Tanzania, and teak from western India, for at least two
                        thousand years. Luxury woods might go even farther, but didn't a lot of
                        that trade only get going after inlay and veneering became popular?

                        Ulfhedinn
                      • B Gr
                        sorry seem your site been infected with something. sets my  antivirus off  calls it Js/Dropper Betty Graham ... From: Gary R. Halstead
                        Message 11 of 13 , Jul 30, 2010
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                          sorry seem your site been infected with something. sets my  antivirus off  calls it Js/Dropper
                          Betty Graham
                          --- On Fri, 7/30/10, Gary R. Halstead <grhalstead@...> wrote:

                          From: Gary R. Halstead <grhalstead@...>
                          Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Re: New World woods brought to Europe?
                          To: medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com
                          Date: Friday, July 30, 2010, 10:07 AM

                           

                          It's actually medievalwoodworking .org these days.  Once life stops kicking me around the ears, I'll get back and start updating stuff, someday.

                          Ranulf

                          On Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 7:06 AM, kirkdrago <kith@bellsouth. net> wrote:
                           


                          Kat,
                          I do a lot of work in the exotics, and for me, it depends on what you're doing with it. If its a gift or a prize, I typically don't worry on whether what I'm using is truly period. If it's an A&S entry, then I'll dig out my documentation.

                          Here's a link that should help.
                          http://www.medieval woodworking. com/articles/ wood.htm

                          KirkD



                        • sdhunter3
                          Look in the files section of this group for my class notes Medieval Woods and North American Counterparts. These notes deal mainly with European woods, but
                          Message 12 of 13 , Jul 31, 2010
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                            Look in the files section of this group for my class notes "Medieval Woods and North American Counterparts." These notes deal mainly with European woods, but still might be usefull.

                            Sir Stanford

                            --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Crazy Cat Lady" <brockenspectre@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > About when would New World woods have started showing up in Europe? I have found references in the V&A to ebony (Africa), teak (East Indies), and rosewood (hmmmmm). Given the wide distribution of Dalbergia species, and a bunch of others (even Bubinga is sometimes called African Rosewood)- are there any New-World-exclusive woods that show up in period? And are they ever solid, not just veneers?
                            >
                            > I have an idea of making a needlecase out of something highly figured like Cocobolo, with the thought that it would be a small luxury item for an upper-middle-class/lower-upper-class Elizabethan lady.
                            >
                            > Thank you,
                            > Kat Ferneley
                            >
                          • Megan Shogren
                            Aha!  Well, almost.  Take a look at the stool- second picture from the bottom.  Rosewood and Brazilian Padoukwood, c. 1580   Now, if only they d been
                            Message 13 of 13 , Aug 2, 2010
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                              Aha!  Well, almost.  Take a look at the stool- second picture from the bottom.  "Rosewood and Brazilian Padoukwood, c. 1580"  Now, if only they'd been specific about its origin, whether it was colonial or European...  The article talks about the timber trade briefly, but I was looking for primary sources.
                               
                              The V&A also has an Italian box with mahogany inlay (16th century)
                               
                              There are a bunch of other inlaid items, but most are inlaid with ebony or rosewood or padouk, which can't be definitively pinned down as New World.  There's a German cabinet c.1600 that mentions an inlay of "tulip-wood"- intriguing in that two of three modern uses refer to American trees- tulip poplar and the Brazilian Dalbergia decipularis, and the third refers to an Australian tree (which I would imagine we could rule out).
                               
                              -Kat Ferneley

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