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How Carpenters Can Help Rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral

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The devastating fire in Notre Dame Cathedral resulted in the mixed feelings of despair over lost features and hope for a more eco-friendly addition to the cityscape of Paris. Experienced carpenters and stonemasons added their opinions to the consensus of what needs to happen to restore the elegant Gothic edifice to its purpose. The inspiring upward thrust of the building that lasted through centuries begs the utmost effort of designers and skilled labour to ensure its continued glory.

What challenges does the medieval style present to carpenters?

Skilled labour typically caters to the most up to date architectural designs, which use top of the line current materials and techniques. Restoring Notre Dame requires respect due the medieval style by considering the type of wood and carpentry methods of centuries ago blended with the safest practices of today. For instance, the time honored saying, “Water is the enemy of wood,” rings as true now as it did in AD 1160. Up to date methods of sealing wood provide superior protection from the weather than in medieval times.

Are there alternatives to hardwood in the reconstruction?

The French oak trees used originally served with distinction for centuries and many consider replacing the burned sections with new wood for the sake of tradition. However, PVC lends strength and rot cannot occur in PVC, which is a concern for the future of the venerable cathedral. PVC also imparts a modern appearance that clashes with the medieval look. Judging on whether to use wood or PVC remains a serious decision, although PVC may be painted to resemble wood in order to maintain a traditional style. Skilled carpenters realise how to accomplish both methods and await a decision on the material.

How will Notre Dame’s reconstruction differ from the original?

Despite the world’s grief over the destruction, everyone wants and needs a safe, artistic, and viable Notre Dame that completes its purpose to uplift. The need remains for extensive scaffolding, skilled stone cutters, masons, carpenters and roofers whether wood or another material replaces the damaged sections. Current construction methods eliminate the use of lead and other contaminants in a roof, which the artisans of AD 1160 used freely. The new Notre Dame will stand as France’s testament to renewal while carpenters the world over prove ready to advise and work towards the goal of a restored World Heritage Site.

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