By our customer and Victoria High Teacher, Stewart Wheeler
Victoria High School’s woodworking and construction program starts at the grade 9 level and gives student’s the opportunity to take up to 7 different courses by the time they graduate. In grade 9 students do a simple table -600mm long by 285mm wide by 440mm high out of pine or another inexpensive wood. They will also build a giftbox using a choice of different woods. In grade 10, students will do a detailed display table that introduces a variety of wood joints and techniques – biscuited mitres, mortise and tenon, pocket holes, dados, rabbets, cross laps. They will also be introduced to turning on the wood lathes by producing a simple bowl. The last required project is a box of their selection out of a “Box by Box” book from Lee Valley which has a range of boxes that vary in difficulty.
This wood is my absolute favourite of favourites. Quite simply, it has a richness that speaks to my senses like a fine cognac long-aged in French oak barrels, or perhaps your preference is Grand Marnier. My kitchen cabinets are made from yew, as are many of our doors here at West Wind Hardwood, and upon returning from time away, I am always struck by how extraordinary this richly coloured, unique wood is.
There are many, many species of yew; one of the more common is English yew. The name “Yew” comes from the Proto-Germanic “īwa-“and with a possible origination from the Gaulish “ivos” referring to the colour brown. Our local species is known as Pacific yew, western yew, American yew, Oregon yew, bow-plant, mountain mahogany.
Long associated with magic, death and rebirth/eternal life; attributed with magical and psychic abilities, yew was one of the ‘nine sacred woods’ used in the ritual fires of the Celts, and as a ‘totem’ tree by Celtic tribes. Reincarnation has always held a fascination for me; multiple lives and such. I hold the concept lightly having had no first-hand experiences but I was recently informed that I have lived three previous lives; my first as a female warrior in Pre-Roman Britain which I find curious considering the importance the yew tree held in these times. Perhaps some heed should be given to Hamlet’s words: ‘…There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’
A Norweigan housing cooperative (BOB) has revealed plans to build what is said to be the world’s largest apartment block.
Totalling 14 stories and overlooking the cities famous Fjords, BOB hopes to promote sustainable materials while boosting the county’s forestry industry.
“The biggest challenge in building a 14-storey wooden building is preventing big swings amid strong winds,” Commented BOB.
When completed the building will contain a rooftop terrace, a Japanese garden, an indoor patio, a glass façade and views of the fjord. Hopefully ready for sale by early 2014.
To cut down construction time, the building will be made from prefabricated modules and stabilized by diagonal timber structures.
photo by:(Flickr: kalevkevad)
Better understanding of the full environmental impact of a building product/design comes through life cycle assessment. The life cycle assessment process is defined under ISO 14040/14044 (Environmental Management—Life Cycle Assessment—Principles and Framework / Environmental Management—Life Cycle Assessment—Requirements and Guidelines) is part of the internationally recognized series of standards that address environmental management. This process analyzes the total environmental impacts of all materials and energy flows, either as input or output, over the life of a product from raw material to end-of-life disposal or to rebirth as a new product.
photo credit: wikimedia commons