19 September 2012 by Dominic Lenton
The new issue of E&T includes several articles describing how wood is used in contemporary technology, and brings the story up to date with a look at the construction of the replica Globe on the south bank of the Thames in the 1990s.
It's part of a review of projects that are helping to preserve traditional woodworking skills. According to Peter McCurdy, owner of McCurdy & Co, who rebuilt the theatre, recreating the Globe represented "perhaps the most challenging, exciting and at times probably the most frustrating timber framed project on site in the UK."
For example, like the carpenters of 1599, modern-day craftsmen were working with unseasoned, green timber which was not square. "Carpenters have evolved systems for setting out their buildings and for marking joints which take account of the fact that they are working with material which is not square, this being one of the principal differences between timber framing and cabinet making," McCurdy explains. "Every scribed joint is unique, identified with a carpenter's numeral."
Despite being architecturally a polygonal building, the best known reference to the Globe in Shakespeare's own work probably comes at the start of Henry V, when the narrator Chorus asks the audience:
Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
I've always heard it pronounced 'oh', but at least one person on the internet disagrees. According to wiki.answers.com the irregular shape of the building means Shakespeare intended it as a punning and rhyming "nought".
"He's emphasising that compared to reality, a play is worth nothing." the anonymous wiki-er opines. At which point I start getting flashbacks to O-level English and wonder this is the sort of thing that would have bumped my exam result up a grade or two.
Read all about it...
Read 'Why do we no longer value woodcraft?' by Abi Grogan and Tony James in the October 2012 issue of Engineering & Technology.
Posted By: Dominic Lenton @ 19 September 2012 05:22 PM General
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