What would life be like without wood and woodworking? We can trace our earliest known accomplishments with wood all the way back to 8th century Anglo-Saxon monasteries, where wooden benches were a common sight.
From then, until now, woodworking has been an integral part of our lives. All sorts of furniture pieces, toys, textiles and so much more are made with the help of wood working. Even today, the most experienced millworkers and architectural drawing professionals are still being surprised by some of the intricate and mysterious facts about such a seemingly simple craft.
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Woodworking is even responsible for that table you may have purchased for your toddler’s birthday! As we journey further on into history, it’s clear that humans have truly evolved alongside this astounding craft.
- Ebony is a dark and mysterious wood that has a deep history entangled with human civilization. For instance, it was used in Ancient India for sculptures, statues and sceptres by artisans for its durability, finish and for its distinct black color. Even today, artists are fond of this sturdy wood due to its ability to take high polish. Being so compact, ebony sinks rather than floats in water which makes it ideal for making anchors and other naval items as well as necks and fingerboards for stringed instruments. It is believed that the demand of ebony had pushed some species of woods to near extinction resulting in many restrictions on its trading throughout the centuries while making it one of the unique and valuable resources amongst wood craftsmen.
- The Egyptians were notoriously brilliant at engineering and craftsmanship, so it comes as no surprise that they are credited with being the first to add a protective finish on items made of wood. It has been noted in many archaeological studies that ancient Egyptian furniture was often much more well-preserved than items found from other civilizations of the period. Unfortunately, after all this time, the ingredients of their finish remain largely unknown to us. Still, we can be sure that the Assyrians, Greeks and Romans made use of similar techniques which have enabled us to still admire woodwork crafted thousands of years ago.
- IKEA is a giant in the furniture industry, and their appetite for lumber is equally as large. The company uses an enormous 1% of the world’s commercial wood every year! If you think that doesn’t sound like all that much, consider this: that equates to 17.8 million cubic yards of timber, which converts into 13.6 million cubic meters. That’s an unfathomable amount of wood – the equivalent of more than five times the volume of Mount Rushmore! Even more astounding is that IKEA buys more wood each year than all other furniture companies combined. It just goes to show how powerful one organization can be when it comes to shaping global markets of resources such as wood.