As I said before though, glue laminte beams are available for all kinds of dimension, its like a structural plywood.
Paris instrument with 8,000 pipes and five keyboards will be cleaned and repaired
Work has begun to dismantle and repair the grand organ in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, which escaped serious damage after a devastating fire in April 2019.
The instrument, believed to be the biggest in France, was untouched by the flames that threatened to engulf the building and the gallons of water used by firefighters to extinguished the blaze.
Though largely spared, experts say it suffered heat damage and is coated in dust from the 460 tonnes of lead tiles from the cathedral roof and spire that went up in smoke. With the roof destroyed and the inside of the cathedral exposed, the grand organ also suffered from the heatwave last summer.
On Monday, workers were to start taking apart the instrument, which has 8,000 pipes, five keyboards and 109 stops and is situated under the rose-stained window to the west of the cathedral. The pipes will be individually cleaned and repaired
The aim is to have the organ, situated 16 metres above floor-level, playing again on 16 April 2024, exactly five years since the fire, a wish expressed by President Emmanuel Macron on the night of the conflagration.
Vincent Dubois, one of the cathedral’s three organists, said the instrument was “extraordinary”.
“The higher you go, the fuller and rounder the sound is. It’s a sound that is extremely warm over the 120 timbres of the instrument. If you add to this the acoustics of the place, it gives a sound that is absolutely unusual, that exists nowhere else. This is what makes the instrument so famous,” he told RFI.
Once the organ is repaired, it will take six months to tune and harmonise.
Last month, the Élysée Palace announced that the 12th-century cathedral would be rebuilt as it was before the fire. After the blaze Macron had suggested the monument could be renovated with a “contemporary architectural gesture” that led to all manner of wild suggestions, including a glass spire and a rooftop pool.
However, after a meeting with the country’s National Heritage and Architectural Commission, the president said he had accepted the cathedral should be returned to its pre-fire design. This includes the spire, a 19th-century addition in Gothic style by the celebrated architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, whose plans have been kept.
“The president has confidence in the experts and has approved the outlines of the project presented by the chief architect, that includes rebuilding the spire exactly as it was,” the Elysée said in July.
The president’s office said holding an architectural competition to design a new spire would delay the renovations beyond the five-year period set by Macron.
“After consultations with major architects we concluded that the gamble on a contemporary spire is complicated and that maybe we can find another contemporary touch,” it added.
Work to remove the fused tangle of scaffolding around the spire – that was undergoing renovations at the time of the fire – that collapsed on to the cathedral’s stone structure should be finished “by the end of September at the latest”, Gen Jean-Louis Georgelin, who is overseeing the repairs, said.
Restoring the 96-metre spire, destroyed by fire in 2019, will need up to 1,000 trees between 150 and 200 years old
French experts are combing the country’s forests for centuries-old oaks to rebuild the Notre Dame spire that was destroyed by fire.
The ferocious blaze in April 2019 brought the cathedral’s 96-metre (315ft) lead and wood spire, a landmark of the Paris skyline, crashing on to the stone roof-vaults.
Immediately afterwards, Emmanuel Macron said the 850-year-old cathedral would be rebuilt by 2024, but there were questions over whether the spire, added in 1859 by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, would be reproduced with a “contemporary gesture” as the president had hinted.
Last July, Macron announced the spire will be reconstructed exactly as it was. This is expected to require up to 1,000 oaks aged between 150 and 200 years old. The trees must be straight, 50-90cm (20-36in) in diameter and between 8 and 14 metres tall. They must be chopped down by the end of March before the sap rises, otherwise the wood will be too humid. Before being cut into beams, the trunks will be allowed to dry for up to 18 months.
Dominique de Villebonne, deputy director of the National Forests Office (ONF) told Le Parisien: “This is about ancient forestry heritage, not 20-year-old trees, but those that are very old, including plantations ordered by former kings to build ships and ensure the grandeur of the French fleet.”
She added: “At the same time as leaving other trees to stand for a long time, we are also planting new ones so future generations can create their own exceptional works.”
A number of private forest owners have offered to donate trees to the reconstruction project.
“It will be a matter of pride if some of our trees are used for Notre Dame,” said Jean-Paul Mével, who owns a 250-hectare (620-acre) forest in Brittany.
“It also shows how our forests are well maintained and are an asset for the country.”
Philippe Gourmain, of the forestry professionals group France Bois Forêt, who is coordinating the search for suitable oaks, said: “We will be using a little of France’s history to remake this historic wooden structure.”
Work to restore the cathedral is not expected to begin until the beginning of 2022. Carpentry experts say rebuilding Notre Dame as it was will take 2,000 metres squared of wood, requiringabout 1,500 oaks to be cut down. The cathedral’s roof contained so many wooden beams it was called la forêt (the forest). The roof’s support included 25 triangular structures 10 metres high and 14 metres across at the base, placed over the stone vaults of the nave.
Since 2019, work has concentrated on stabilising the structure and removing the scaffolding around the spire – which was undergoing renovation at the time of the fire – that collapsed and fused on to the stone structure below.
French oaks that have been standing for hundreds of years in a once-royal forest now have a sacred destiny. Felled on Tuesday in the Loire region’s Forest of Bercé, they have been selected to reconstruct Notre Dame Cathedral’s fallen spire.
The 93-metre spire, made of wood and clad in lead, became the most potent symbol of the April 2019 blaze when it was seen engulfed in flames, collapsing dramatically into the inferno.
Last July amid a public outcry, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, ended speculation that the 19th century peak designed by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc could be rebuilt in a modern style. He announced it would be rebuilt exactly as it was before. And that began a nationwide tree hunt, culminating in a painstaking selection in January and February of this year.
About 1,000 oaks in more than 200 French forests, both private and public, were chosen to make the frame of the cathedral transept and spire – destined to be admired on the Paris skyline for potentially hundreds of years.
“Given the place occupied by the cathedral in the hearts of the French, in the history of France and the world … we are happy [that] the entire industry – from foresters to sawyers – is mobilised to meet this challenge,” said Michel Druilhe, president of France Bois Forêt, a national interprofessional forestry network.
Reconstruction of a 12th-century cathedral such as Notre Dame in wood is a daunting prospect. The inside was such a lattice of beams and supports that it was affectionately called the “forest”. Calls to reinforce it with fireproof concrete were dismissed, even after such material helped limit the fallout from a blaze in Nantes Cathedral last year.
Understandably, the dimensions required for Notre Dame’s anointed timbers are clinically precise: many trunks have to measure more than 1 metre (more than 3ft) wide and 18 meters (60ft) long. Eight of the trees – destined for the most monumental part of the spire – were found in the Forest of Bercé that once belonged to the kings of France.
On Tuesday, chainsaw-wielding tree surgeons in Bercé scaled the special oaks to fell them in a race against the clock. All 1,000 must be “harvested” by the end of March, otherwise harmful tree sap and moisture could enter the wood fibres.
“We have just measured one, it fits the required criteria in length and diameter. The only thing left to do is make the beam for Notre Dame,” Anthony Jeanneau, a forestry technician, told AP as trees fell noisily around him.
There is in fact one other requirement: patience. The trunks must be left out to dry for up to 18 months.
That fact alone shows why Macron’s pledge to rebuild the cathedral within five years – by 2024 – has been widely dismissed as unrealistic.
Two years after the devastating fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, reconstruction plans are causing a stir, as centuries-old oak trees are being felled.
Despite protests sparked by the restoration plans for Notre Dame de Paris, a recent ceremony to fell trees for the reconstruction of the cathedral was remarkably solemn.
For the event early March, both Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie and Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot had traveled to the forest of Bercé, 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of Paris. Accompanied by several crews of TV reporters, they hammered tags onto the oak trees that were to be chopped down.
Some 2,000 such trees will be used to reconstruct the cathedral's roof framework and spire.
"I think that Notre Dame as a symbol of our past shows to what extent our forests are regularly writing history," Denormandie declared.
Minister Bachelot added: "We need this wood, as we have decided to reconstruct the cathedral the same way it had been just before the fire," that is, as conceived by architect Eugene Viollet-Le Duc from 1843 on.
Yet the promise to fully reconstruct the monument within five years seems increasingly unrealistic.
Shortly after the fire, donors from around the world pledged almost €1 billion to finance the reconstruction. By now, €833 million ($991 million) coming from 340,000 contributors in 150 countries have since been collected, according to Notre Dame's administrative body.
Trees 'part of regular felling scheme'
Half of the oaks needed for the building's reconstruction will come from public forests, the other half from private ones, all located in France. The wood will be stored for 12 to 18 months to reduce its moisture level.
The centuries-old trees were in any case going to be chopped down, according to Guillaume Larriere, a spokesman at ONF, the public agency that manages France's forests. "We regularly fell huge, old trees — to provide the market with timber but also to make space for younger trees, which need a lot of light," he told DW.
He added that France had one of the strictest forest guidelines in the world.
"It was the right decision to gather all that wood in French forests — that way, we have full transparency as to how it's being felled," he said.
Environmental group opposes reconstruction plans
Jacky Bonnemains, director at the environmental group Robin des Bois, disagrees.
"We are amputating the forests and wresting oaks from them which are crucial for our woods' regeneration, as they are a habitat for many insects and birds," he told DW.
Bonnemains calls the decision to reconstruct Notre Dame in line with Viollet-Le Duc's plans "anachronistic."
"I'd never have thought they'd again opt for the infernal duo of wood and lead, which made the fire possible and caused considerable lead pollution," he added.
France's public institute for industrial environment and pollution Ineris indeed found the area of Notre Dame and some of its surroundings to be highly lead-polluted after the fire.
In 2019, Robin des Bois had sued authorities for endangering human life by failing to take immediate measures to limit the population's exposure to the toxic lead released in Notre Dame Cathedral's fire. The case was however dismissed a few months ago.
For the environmentalist, other building materials would have been more contemporary and secure: "Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul Cathedral in Nantes for example has a roof framework made of concrete — a fire there last year only caused very limited damage."
Combination of wood and lead 'ideal choice'
But concrete is not an option for Notre Dame de Paris, a spokesman for the cathedral told DW.
"The monument's roof structure needs a very specific weight for the building to be stable — a combination of wood and lead is the ideal mix," he said, adding that the authorities were taking possible health considerations very seriously.
"And the wood and lead structure wasn't the problem — the fire took hold due to human error. We simply need more security personnel at certain key locations. And the future design will include fire protection doors," he said.
According to the spokesperson, the wood — and its storage delays — was also perfectly adapted to the reconstruction schedule. Works to secure the building will go on until July, with public tenders to be launched in the summer. The actual reconstruction works should start by the end of this or early next year.
"That's how Notre Dame will indeed, according to the President's wishes, re-open for mass in 2024," he claimed.
But other insiders doubt that the monument's reconstruction will be completed by then.
"Securing the monument has taken a lot of time and we'll probably have to continue certain restoration works for example at the arch-buttresses outside after 2024," Yann de Carne told DW. He's the head of industry association GMH, which represents 80% of the country's companies carrying out restoration works at national monuments.
"However, opening the building for church services or parts of it for visitors should be possible in three year's time," he added.
Judicial procedure to be relaunched
Bonnemains is less optimistic.
"The reconstruction of Notre-Dame will take many more years — that'll give us the time to challenge the way they want to go about it," he stated.
The group is now relaunching its lead pollution lawsuit, as arguments which have emerged following their 2019 case show that the health issues remain relevant.