Remembering Endo Exo exhibition in the Parsons Building

091-trinity-addition

My most recent post about the Parsons building brings to the fore the ongoing interest I have had in the parsons building since 2013 when I began visiting David Taylor there to discuss the overlaps of interest in both of our practices.

The notion that it consisted of two different buildings abutting and melting into each other was fascinating for me. In actual fact bricks from the original 19th Century building were deliberately preserved and are on display in the main corridor.  See image below.

architectureparsons6

In 2015 David Taylor and I exhibited a selection of art and scientific pieces in the liminal space between the two buildings. See to follow a slide show of images form that exhibition and an extract from the exhibition press release outlining some of the notions of interest to both David and I.

21

It is interesting that the architectural themes of this liminal space and the exoskeleton notions of interest to David and I are still relevant in the work being created for the upcoming exhibition. More to follow on this in a later blog post….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“ Endo Exo: Opening event: Monday 21st September 12.30pm – 1.30pm. Hassett will respond performatively to various sculptural elements in the exhibition during the opening on September 21st. The exhibition will continue until the 2nd of October in the Mechanical Engineering Building, Trinity College Dublin and will be on view from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Images from Olivia Hassett solo performance part of Endo Exo

The hybrid nature of the Parsons Building in Trinity College Dublin with its recent award winning modern build attached to the original building has fascinated Hassett since she began visiting and working with David Taylor in 2013. endo/exo is sited in the reception area at the point where the exterior of the old building negotiates with the new addition and becomes an internal wall.

endo/exo acts like a bookmark in the ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration between artist Olivia Hassett and engineer David Taylor. Where Hassett’s work deals mainly with the internal visceral human body and the skin threshold that surrounds it, Taylor’s research focuses on the mechanical characteristics of bones in both exoskeletons (e.g. insects) and endoskeletons (e.g. humans). Both practitioners share an interest in interfaces, the liminal threshold between inside and outside and it is at this point where most of their discussions and outcomes have derived.

To date outcomes include the development of a hypothetical human exoskeleton prototype of the knee joint by Taylor and various hybrid art/science works created by Hassett incorporating and responding to Taylor’s design and notions surrounding the existence of a hard external skin.

Occupying a liminal space between animation and inanimate objecthood, various elements of endo/exo will go through transformative processes mediated by environmental factors and the artist’s performing body. The nature of these elements will shift back and forth across the tenuous boundary separating active, embodiment and the alleged passivity, of an acquiescent, inanimate, state and are reminiscent of the ongoing transformations that occur within the human body.

Kindly supported by Trinity College Dublin and South Dublin County Council

Building Extension incorporates Oregon Maple

architectureparsons2

Designed by Grafton Architects, the modern extensions to the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (Parsons Building), Trinity College Dublin, completed in 1996 and 2005 are additions to the original 19th century building and have won a number of architectural awards (2005, 2006 Architectural Association of Ireland, Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland).

The extension on the Nassau Street side is of particular interest to us because not only does it layer and abut a modern addition to the existing 19th century building but part of the remit for the extension was to consider, protect and incorporate the existing Oregon Maple tree into the architectural concepts and plans.

architectureparsons6

Image: interior of the extension abuts the 19th Century building, bricks can be seen on the right.

20180919_122216

Image first floor, Oregon Maple growing through grating.

It is unusual and wonderful to see trees get such consideration. Great attention to detail in the plans and material used around this tree take into consideration it’s need to for space to grow. The Oregon Maple is surrounded by grating that can be recut to reflect a change in tree girth size, while also ensuring that any rain water that falls on the first floor is allowed to filter through and water the trees roots beneath.

To follow please find an extract compiled by Grafton Architects describing some of the concepts and features of this build.

gra0505po02
“This is the second extension we have completed to this Department, the first being in 1996, which addresses the campus and is attached to the existing Parsons building which houses the Department of Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering.

This particular site was a space wedged between an urban block with all its extensions and accretions and the 19th Century Parsons Building. It is also a corner of the university site through which enormous primary service routes make their way from the city to the campus – gas,electricity,IT,water,sewers etc. An existing electricity substation and transformer pits located on this site had to be maintained and so we were tip toeing around to find a place for the additional accommodation required.

The site is at the junction of the brick urban block with the stone university buildings, both in terms of geometry and language. The brick gable of the Lincoln Place buildings, with the painted sign of Finns Hotel could not be interfered with because this sign signifies the hotel where, as every Dubliner knows, Nora Barnacle worked when she met James Joyce on Nassau Street. Also there was one important tree to be preserved.

The brief was to make sense of this confluence of disparate geometries and buildings and, in the process, to find a way of providing additional research and teaching spaces. There was also the requirement that the building had to be designed in such a way that it could be phased as funding became available.

The building extends the existing Department, forms a space between this Department and the rear of the repaired urban block and upgrades the existing pedestrian gateway to Nassau St. An external lift is housed in a new ‘gatehouse’ element. This provides disabled access from the raised level of Nassau Street to the campus below. A podium houses extended basement levels used for research laboratories. This podium forms ‘forecourt’ and ‘courtyard’ type spaces forward of and between buildings. It also provides escape routes from the rear of the previously ‘trapped’ spaces to the rear of the urban block. A drop of 2.5m between the street and the campus allowed us to run the podium up to the street edge with small storage and research spaces housed below.

The preserved tree is anchored in this podium space and engenders a sense of communal life.

The upper level accommodation consists of smaller teaching spaces. A gap of 600mm is left between old and new. New is kept separate from old, but connected with half levels, quarter levels, multiple lift stops, multiple stair landings, allowing easy movement between new and old spaces.

The podium level stretches, bends and folds to deal with the complex conditions of the site. It connects street with campus, forms new entrances and exits from existing departments, and forms a sunny communal space under the canopy of the preserved tree.

The small teaching block to the west cantilevers over the podium to form a new entrance to the Department. The granite wall is punctured by timber windows clad externally in stainless steel, finished flush with the granite. The granite cladding coursing is matched with the existing stone coursing of Parsons building and the stone is interlocked at the corners revealing a cladding condition as opposed to a solid form of construction. Two ‘mute’ brick elements, like chimneys, are attached to the Lincoln Place gable housings a new lift and toilets.

The exterior in its form and language, mediates between city and campus.

PROJECT INFO: Client Trinity College Dublin, Contractor Pierse Contracting
Size 850m2, Date 2002, Location Dublin, Ireland

COLLABORATORS: Structure and Civils Arup, M&E Homan O’Brien
Quantity Surveyor DLPKS, Photography Ros Kavanagh”

2018/19 Trinity College Trees Project

root-13-lo-res
root

Early in January of this year the Trinity College Trees team (Taylor, Hackett and Hassett) in conjunction with Colin Reid and Dr. Conor Buckley of TCD initiated an ambitious new study on the two large Oregon Maple trees in main College Square.  Both sibling trees were estimated to be over 170 years old and were reported to be suffering some difficulties with fungal infection and lack of adequate water to support their huge structure. 

This 2018 project proposed to build on the research and success of their 2017 project, while focusing on the conservation research and efforts to keep these trees healthy.

During the initial phase of the project the team took more scanning electron microscopic images of the Oregon Maples.  Their aim was to make visible fascinating microscopic elements of these two majestic trees. This allowed for an unique way of viewing and engaging with the trees and their conservation in a busy urban setting.  The team were pleased with the results and over the next few months Hassett devised a plan to create a series of site specific art works to install in both Oregon Maples.  The exhibition and series of performance art works were due to launch during September 2018.

Unfortunately in early June 2018 one of 170 year old majestic Oregon Maples collapsed, splitting into many pieces on the lawn of Main square.  The second sister Oregon Maple tree had to be felled two months later over rising public safety concerns.  It was a very emotional time for staff, students, past pupils and the general public as these two trees had been a very important part of the fabric of Trinity College life for such a long period of time.  

The sudden absence of the two trees left the team at a loss on how to proceed with the project.  Following on from the trees demise the team spent a few months investigating what happened all of a sudden that made the them become so unstable and finally leading one to collapse.  In fact tree surveys taken about a year before showed that the trees were in trouble but not critically so.

Various samples were taken from the remains of the two majestic but fragile Oregon Maple Trees in College Square.  The team sought to explore the structural integrity of the wood samples. After reviewing the scientific and conservations reports it was concluded that both trees just didn’t have enough water in their systems to keep them upright.  They had become so brittle and lacking in water that many of the bolts of the cable bracing system helping to support them had pulled through the thick limbs.  

After a thought provoking collaborative conversation with David Hackett we realised that the two children trees, descendant from the fallen trees and also sited on campus, were also suffering, although to a lesser extent, of drought.  The team decided to re-focus the direction of the project onto the two remaining Oregon Maples in Trinity College Dublin.  They have also narrowed their focus of exploration to the scientific and conservation research and possible future outcomes of the lack of sufficient water in the Oregon Maples of Trinity College Dublin.  

After successfully getting an extension to the project deadline they now plan to launch in Spring 2019.  Proposed artistic responses will include a months display of new artworks installed in both trees, a series of live performances and indoor exhibition on the TCD campus.

Current artistic inspirations include collaborative work on a bio-plastic art material with Conor Buckley and the development of a device that will be able to record the inner sounds of the Oregon Maples drinking water in conjunction with Jeffrey Roe. Other work in progress include the development of drawings on hand made paper using materials gathered from the fallen trees.

2016/17 Trinity College Trees Project

Trinity Trees Team 2 at PROBE at TCD

The 2016/17 Trinity College Trees Project, Making Visible the Invisible, celebrated scientific, conservation and artistic research into the physiology of eight trees situated on the main campus of Trinity College Dublin.

Over a period of eighteen months TCD staff  Professor David Taylor,  David Hackett,  Clodagh Dooley and Olivia Hassett meet regularly to collaborate on this ambitious project. Two sets of Scanning Electron microscopic sampling and imaging were undertaken to reflect the changing seasons and conditions during the project.

In response to the collaborative research and microscopic imagery collected the artist created a series of site specific innovative art works, which were installed in the eight trees throughout the campus. A series of performances by Hassett with the Oregon Maple in the main square formed part of PROBE European Researchers night event September 29th 2017 launching the exhibition to much acclaim.

The Trinity College Trees exhibition was supported by a series of guided walks while also offering a self guided walk and supporting audio piece detailing information on each tree and the inspiration behind the installed artworks.

This blog outlines the project background information, research and inspiration behind these works.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tree=home made paper

final push 3 lo resDuring the recent felling of the second large Oregon Maple in the main square the Trinity College staff and the tree cutting contractors were very careful to cut the bark segments as large as possible. All sections of wood were carried away to be dried and used by the staff in strictly controlled projects throughout the college. I was therefore delighted to be able to get a large bag full of twigs, leaves and seeds prior to being made into chipping.

20180919_104232.jpg

The team received a few small sections of wood for scientific and artistic investigations. Where David Taylor with the help of Peter O’Reilly started testing the wood’s compression capabilities parallel to the length of the branch (see image above, some samples post compression).  David will describe and discuss some of his findings in a later blog post.  Soon after I received the plant materials I began workshopping with them. 

woodworking

I started off by dusting off some of my wood carving tools and proceeded to chip off some of the bark off a small section of a branch (roughly 10 inches in diameter) to reveal the hard wood underneath, See image below.

I also sanded and wire brushed another section before applying etching ink to its surface and using is as a wood print. See image

After some research I became especially interested in trying to make some home made paper making using the plant materials that I had collected. There are many online resources describing in various levels of detail, using basic and/ or specialist equipment, how to go about this. Before I describe how I made the paper and show you some images of the final results, which I will do in the next blog post, I thought it would be interesting to include some information about the paper making process as described in http://www.paperslurry.com.

TCT 18 hand made Paper-1

If you ask someone what paper is made of, most would immediately say trees. However, with the hand paper making process, you can use other plant fibers to make an incredible range of handmade papers.

Some plants are grown specifically for the hand paper making process, others can be sustainably harvested from the wild, and even more can be made from leftover fibers from the garden, kitchen, or even agricultural waste. To make strong paper, choose plants with a high cellulose fiber content.

papermaking_plants_infographic-587x1024

To make paper, you’ll harvest your material, dry it, cut it into pieces for cooking, simmer it to break down the fibers, and then process it in a blender or by hand-beating until it disperses into water to form pulp.

But first, choose the type of plant fiber you’d like to use:

Not all plants make good pulp strong enough to hold together into a sheet of paper, and some plant fibers are usable but require many hours of beating by hand or with special machinery to break down the fibers. A good guideline for usable material: If the plant stands over 2 feet tall on its own, it most likely contains enough cellulose to make paper. To know for sure the practicality of processing any specific fiber into pulp, you’ll have to read other papermakers’ accounts or rely on your own trial and error.

IMG_3634

Collecting:

You’ll need to collect at least 2 pounds of dry plant material to make it worth your while. A pound of dry grass material makes about ten 8-1/2-by-11-inch sheets, and 1 pound of dry leaf material makes about 15 sheets.

Be sure to harvest responsibly. Take only small amounts, allowing the plant to recover, and be aware of the effects you might cause by taking plant material (disrupting insects, for example). Make sure you have permission to forage on others’ property or on public land.

You can experiment with how your harvest affects the resulting paper. Plant fiber and paper often appear different when plants are harvested in fall than when they’re harvested in spring.

Grass. Paper made from grass is usually a bit weaker and more brittle than from leaf fiber, but it can be interesting in texture, it’s easy to find, and you can harvest grass in any season. You’ll use the whole stalk — all but the roots. After harvesting, dry grass completely and then bundle to avoid leaf mold. Usually, long leaves are the best source of fiber. Tear leaves against the grain; the more difficult they are to tear, the more likely they’ll be to make good paper. Iris leaves and lily leaves make strong paper and are easy to process. Thicker leaves, such as yucca and hemp, are more time-consuming or not practical to process by hand. Spring and summer harvest: Only cut individual outer leaves near the base of the plant to ensure continued growth. Fall harvest: Collect leaves as they fall from the plant or when they’re able to release gently. Dry leaves completely and then bundle to store them.

Making and Preparing Pulp:

To turn your harvested plant material into paper, you must first cook it — literally, in pots — and beat it by hand, with a blender, or with another machine to break down the fibers into pulp. Keep in mind that these instructions are for grass fibers or leaf fibers.

You’ll cook the plant material in an alkaline solution. Washing soda is the most available alkali — you can find it in supermarkets. It’s not as pure as soda ash, which most papermakers use, so it might leave residue on paper or cause it to decay more quickly, but it’s less expensive and works for most plant fibers.

Supplies for cooking:

Scissors; the alkali (20 percent of the dry fiber weight; 3-1/2 ounces of washing soda and 8 quarts of water per pound of dry fiber); a large, nonfood, nonreactive pot (stainless steel, glass, or enamel-coated); a scale; pot holders; nonfood, nonreactive stirring utensils; a mesh strainer; a bucket; and rubber gloves. For beating fiber, you’ll need a nonfood blender.

Safety notes. Besides using nonreactive utensils and pots, use separate paper making pots and utensils, and, if possible, don’t work in the kitchen. You’ll want to work somewhere you can splash water and get water on the ground. Some plants might give off harmful vapors when cooking, so be sure you know the qualities of the plant you’re using, and cook outside — or under a hooded vent as a last resort. Very important: Add alkali to the water before it boils. Do not add boiling water to alkali or vice versa — it could splatter or explode and burn you.

Wear rubber gloves, goggles, or a face mask when working with an alkali.

download

Cooking the fiber:

First, weigh your dry fiber before wetting it. Remember, you’ll want at least 2 pounds to make enough paper to make this whole task worthwhile.

With scissors, cut the fiber into 1/2-inch to 1-inch strips (if you’re going to hand-beat fibers, cut them into 2-inch pieces) to reduce cooking time and prevent tangling in the blender. As you work, sort out twigs or other foreign material.

Then, soak fiber in plain water overnight to fully hydrate before cooking and processing.

When you’re ready to cook, fill a pot with water to cover the fiber, about 2 gallons per pound — you’ll want enough so the fiber can move around while cooking.

Wearing gloves, measure the washing soda or other alkali, 20 percent of your dry weight, or about 3-1/2 ounces per pound of dry fiber.

Heat the pot of water and add the washing soda before it boils. As the washing soda dissolves, add the soaked fiber and stir. Bring to a

boil, and then turn down the heat and simmer.

Every half-hour while simmering, stir the fiber and test it for doneness. Take a piece of fiber, rinse it, and pull it in the direction of the plant’s growth. If the fiber pulls apart easily, it’s ready.

Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove. Pour the cooked fiber through a strainer into a bucket (not down the drain yet), and rinse the fiber until the water runs clear. Make sure you remove all the washing soda at this point.

If you’re not dumping the water into a water-treatment system, or you plan to dump the water outside, mix the plant juices with vinegar to neutralize the solution, or you’ll introduce a toxin into the environment.

Beating the fiber. After the fiber is cooked, you’ll have to beat it to further break down the material into the soft pulp that you’ll use to make sheets of paper. Papermakers often hand-beat fibers, which generally results in the strongest paper. Others use large equipment specifically for papermaking. The easiest and quickest method at home is to use a nonfood blender.

Add a handful of your cooked fiber to a blender (make sure it’s fully hydrated; soak overnight if using stored fiber) and fill the blender about three-quarters full with water. Put the lid on, and then beat at a medium or high speed. If the blender sounds strained, check to make sure fiber isn’t wrapped around the blades (which is why you’ll want to cut it into smaller pieces before cooking). The blender also might strain if you’ve added too much fiber. It’s better to err on the side of less fiber (and more blender batches) because if the fiber isn’t beaten enough into uniform pulp, you’ll pull less-uniform, clumpy sheets of paper. The length of blending time depends on the fiber. Try about 20 seconds at first and then increase in 20-second increments. You’ll know you have pulp when the fibers don’t clump and look very fine, almost cloud-like dispersed in the water. If you still see strings of fibers and they’re clumpy, you’ll need to blend a bit longer.

See the next section to set up your paper making studio. You’ll add pulp directly to your vat or pour it into a bucket and transfer it to the vat as needed. Follow the step-by-step instructions in the photos above to learn how to pull sheets of paper.

Basic Equipment for the Paper making Process:

You probably already own most of the equipment you need, could improvise with what you have, or could find inexpensive items at a local thrift store. You’ll need a flat work surface that can get wet and can be easily dried and cleaned. Water will splash onto the floor and on surrounding surfaces, so setting up in a garage or outside is ideal.

download 2

Mould and deckle: This is the screen and frame that holds the sheet of paper you’ll pull out of the vat. Many professional ones are made from hardwood (which resists warping from water), but you can make your own out of cheaper wood, such as pine, or even staple a screen to an old picture frame. Instructions for making a mould and deckle are easily found online.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Vat: This is a tub larger than your mould and deckle. You’ll fill it with water and pulp and pull up sheets of paper from it. Use a large storage tub, dish tub, a freestanding plastic vat with a drain and plug on the bottom, or even an old secondhand sink.

Felts: Not actually felt, these materials are what you’ll lay, or couch, your wet, formed paper onto after you pull it from the vat. Any quality wool material would work — old blankets, nonfusible pellon from a fabric store, or papermakers’ felts. These must be cut approximately 2 inches wider than all sides of your paper (or your mould and deckle).

Plastic buckets with handles: These will hold pulp and help in draining vats. Paper making uses a lot of water. Because you’ll be working with natural plant fibers and few other elements, you can set up a water-collection system to use the water for other purposes around your garden or homestead.

A press or sponges and brayer: You can use sponges to remove excess water from your pulled paper, or you can assemble a simple press to squeeze out much more water and reduce drying time. Search online for examples; people have found creative solutions. A brayer or similar rolling tool is helpful for smoothing paper and releasing more water.

Drying equipment: This could be sheets of Plexiglas or even a clothesline, depending on how you’d like to finish your paper and leave it to dry. You may want to experiment. Drying on Plexiglas will make one side of the paper very smooth; drying on a line will be easier to set up but could lead to more rippling in the paper, though this can be smoothed with a bit of water later. You could also dry between sheets of corrugated cardboard with a fan nearby. The corrugations in the cardboard will allow air to flow.

Storing pulp: Drain the vat through a mesh strainer lined with a fine mesh bag (such as a “brewer’s bag” used by homebrewers) into a bucket, squeezing out as much water as you can. Form pulp into a ball. The pulp will last in the refrigerator in a container until it begins to mold. You can also dry it completely and store it in a cupboard.

After you practice, experiment; try blending different plant fibers together, or add tea leaves, oatmeal, or other inclusions into the vat before you pull paper. As you watch plants transform from their original color to the hues and textures they’ll take on after cooking, then into pulp, and finally to the look and feel of the final paper, you’ll see your plants anew

For further reading:

  • Paper making with Garden Plants and Weeds by Helen Hiebert is a great studio guide for those interested in experimenting with botanical paper making.

  • Hand Paper making Magazine’s Beginner Articles has a wealth of articles from various authors about finding, harvesting, and processing different plant fibers.

  • A fantastic table of plant fibers that can be processed by hand, by artist and hand papermaker Catherine Nash.

Anatomy and reproduction of the Bigleaf Maple

Anatomy of the Bigleaf Maple:

This tree is made up of many different parts, including:

bark1

The bark: When the tree is young, the bark is a brownish color with a smooth layer. As the tree matures, it becomes a darker brown, and furrows and ridges begin to appear on the outer layer of the bark.

acma547

The twig: The twig is smooth, round, and commonly a pale green in color. In the fall, it turns a bright green red, and finally grayish brown. There are two buds on opposite sides of a main bud, which are bigger than the other two, and these buds have 3 or 4 scales.

The roots: The roots of the tree are often shallow but widespread; this type of root system make it easier for the plant to grow shallow or saturated soils.

The leaf: The leaf is a simple, deciduous leaf, and it is between 6 to 12 inches in diameter, but sometimes much larger. It is also palmately lobed, which means the leaf has five “arms.” The leaf is dark green on the top, and light green on the bottom. When crushed or cut, the petiole discharges a white sap.

BigleafMapleReproduction

The flower: The flowers are monoecious. The flowers are a small, and are often yellow. They bloom in long racemes.

bigleaf-maple-seeds

The fruit: The fruit are double samaras. The wings on the samaras are 1.5 to 2 inches long, and occur at acute angles. The head of the seed appears to be hairy. When the seed is mature, it turns a tan color.

Reproduction

Reproductive parts of a bigleaf maple.

The Bigleaf maple’s main form of reproduction is sexually, but it can also reproduce vegetatively. Maple is polygamous, bearing both male flowers and perfect flowers in one cylindrical raceme. The flowers appear before the leaves in early spring. The greenish-yellow flowers are pollinated by insects within 2 to 4 weeks after bud-burst. The flowers on the bigleaf maple start to show up when the tree is about 10 years old, but trees growing in an open area start to produce flowers earlier and also produce more flowers. These flowers are pollinated by insects, and small animals may also help disperse the seeds. The seed can only germinate for a couple months. If they do not, they will start to decay near the end of the winter months. Even indoors, the seed will not last for more than a few months at low to room temperature. Another factor that reduces germination rates is the consumption of the seeds by rodents. One year old seedlings in Oregon were about 2.3-3 inches in height. This plant grows more slowly when it is grown in the shade of another tree, especially Douglas-firs. This tree can also regrow from the root if it is cut down or killed.

big leaf maple seeds image

Seed:

Bigleaf maple seeds are borne in pubescent, double samaras with wings from 1.4 to 2 inches long. Seeds are triangular or oval in shape and 0.16 to 0.47 in. long. There are from 2700 to 4000 seeds/lb. Seeds ripen early in September and October, and are dispersed by the wind from October through January. Many seeds may remain on trees during this period.

The Oregon Maple – general facts

Acer macrophyllum, the bigleaf maple or Oregon maple, is a large deciduous tree in the genus Acer.

It can grow up to 157.80 feet (48.10 m) tall, but more commonly reaches 15–20m (50–65ft) tall. It is native to western North America, mostly near the Pacific coast, from southernmost Alaska to southern California. Some stands are also found inland in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California, and a tiny population occurs in central Idaho.

Description

It has the largest leaves of any maple, typically 15–30cm (5.9–11.8in) across, with five deeply incised palmate lobes, with the largest running to 61 centimetres (24in). In the fall, the leaves turn to gold and yellow, often to spectacular effect against the backdrop of evergreen conifers.

The flowers are produced in spring in pendulous racemes 10–15cm (4–6in) long, greenish-yellow with inconspicuous petals. The fruit is a paired winged samara, each seed 1–1.5 centimetres (3⁄8–5⁄8in) in diameter with a 4–5-centimetre (1 5⁄8–2-inch) wing.

Habitat

Bigleaf maple can form pure stands on moist soils in proximity to streams, but are generally found within raparian hardwood forests or dispersed, (under or within), relatively open canopies of conifers, mixed evergreens or oaks. In cool and moist temperate mixed woods they are one of the dominant species.

ms_164457_1024x1024

Uses

Bigleaf maple has been used for creating syrup but it is not common. This is because the sugar maple has a higher sugar content. Nevertheless, syrup production has become a localized industry in bigleaf maple groves where weather conditions (including sub-freezing winters) are especially suitable, such as near sea-level in British Columbia and at higher elevations along the West Coast from Washington through Northern California.

Food

Maple syrup has been made from the sap of bigleaf maple trees. While the sugar concentration is about the same as in Acer saccharum (sugar maple), the flavor is somewhat different. Interest in commercially producing syrup from bigleaf maple sap has been limited. Although not traditionally used for syrup production, it takes about 40 volumes of sap to produce 1 volume of maple syrup.

big_leaf_maple_title

Lumber

Bigleaf maple is the only commercially important maple of the Pacific Coast region.

The wood is used for applications as diverse as furniture, piano frames and salad bowls. Highly figured wood is not uncommon and is used for veneer, stringed instruments, guitar bodies, and gun stocks.

The wood is primarily used in veneer production for furniture, but is also used in musical instrument production, interior paneling, and other hardwood products; the heartwood is light, reddish-brown, fine-grained, moderately heavy, and moderately hard and strong. In California, land managers do not highly value bigleaf maple, and it is often intentionally knocked over and left un-harvested during harvest of Douglas fir and redwood stands.

20180628_120630

Big Tree

The Oregon Maples, which grew in front square, Trinity College Dublin, until this year were 4.96 and 4.11 meters in girth and both reached about 16 meters high.