Rebuilding Notre Dame: Role of Oak Wood

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Old wooden wall cladding

Old oak wall cladding

Barnwood wall covering

Reclaimed wood beams

Reclaimed mooring posts

Reclaimed elm beams

Reclaimed Oregon pine beams

Reclaimed oak beams

Reclaimed pine beams

Old oak child beams

Old purlins

Old wooden pedestal

Reclaimed wood planks

Old harbor shelves

Oak railway sleepers

Reclaimed oak winepress planks

Reclaimed pine planks

Oak Reims planks

French oak planks

Reclaimed oak planks

Old oak planks

Barnwood planks

Live edge oak planks

Reclaimed wagon boards

Reclaimed hardwood wagonboards

Reclaimed pine wagonboards

Reclaimed oak wagonboards planed

Reclaimed oak wagonboards brushed

Air dried oak beams

Long oak beams

Oak beams air dried

Oak purlins wind-dried

Long oak planks

Oak slats air dried

Wood flooring

Reclaimed oak flooring

French oak flooring

Reclaimed oregon pine flooring

Old pine floor

Wood ceiling

Old oak roof boarding

Old roof boarding boards

French oak roof boarding

Wood cladding

Oak cladding

Oak table

Reclaimed oak table

Wagon plank table

Oak monastery table

Oak tree trunk table

Old oak outdoor table

Architectural collection

Antique French oak beams

18th century oak beams

Majestic antique oak beams

Silver seasoned oak beams

19th century elm beams

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The Reconstruction of the Famous Notre Dame

After the devastating fire at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on April 15, 2019, a major restoration effort has been launched to restore this iconic monument to its former glory. An important part of this restoration is the reconstruction of the centuries-old wooden framework of the cathedral’s roof. In our world of (oak) wood, this is an interesting renovation project that we are following closely, and therefore we are excited to share more about it.

The source of oak timbers?

After the fire, oak wood from French soil, specifically from French production forests, was quickly chosen. These oak trees must meet several criteria: they must have a straight trunk, a certain diameter, and be of high quality. This is essential for the complex wooden structures needed for the reconstruction of Notre-Dame. Because an initial large quantity of high-quality oak with exceptional dimensions was required, it was decided to designate existing centuries-old French oak trees for felling. Shortly after the fire, various forest owners, both private and public, came forward to donate oak trees. Approximately half of the oaks used to restore Notre-Dame were donated by state forests. The other half came from private forests..

Harvesting Date?

The oak trees intended for the reconstruction of the spire were selected and felled between January and March 2021, and delivered to the carpenters in the spring of 2022. We chose to fell the trees in winter because the sap flows in the oak are in their dormant state, which enhances the wood quality. Ideally, a few days of frost firm up the forest floor, preventing damage from the machinery required to extract the entire tree from the forest.

Watch the video in a French oak forest where several trees have been selected for Notre-Dame

Where do the Oak Trees originate from?

The map shows where the oak trees for Notre-Dame originate from. The trees come from nearly all of France, but the majority are from central France below Paris, northwest of Reims, and above Poitiers. The growth conditions for oak trees in these areas are highly favorable, with an optimal amount of rain, suitable altitude, and excellent soil quality.

Have the oak beams dried sufficiently?

As a timber dealership, we transport centuries-old trees from the forest to a specialized sawmill capable of cutting such large logs. The sawn wood is then stored outdoors in the wind for about 12 to 18 months, ensuring it naturally air-dries under optimal conditions.

The Perspective on Oak Wood

The 1000 required oak trees represent only 0.1% of the annual harvest of French oak for use in construction or furniture. The average annual harvest of French oak of this quality is 2 million cubic meters per year. Initially, this might seem like a vast quantity, but it’s important to put this into perspective. France is the largest country by area in Europe, with extensive oak forests.