Volume 6, Number 1, Jan. 1984, pp.2-3

Wood Seminar Review


"Wood in Art Conservation", a seminar for practicing art conservators, was sponsored by WAAC and the University of California, Forest Products Laboratory and Cooperative Extension and was held October 3-5, 1983 at the Forest Products Laboratory, Richmond Field Station, Richmond, California. Eighteen WAAC members attended and nine instructors headed by Dr. Arno Schniewind, program director, and Dr. Donald Arganbright, director of the FPL, participated. The seminar was organized by Teri Oikawa-Picante, WAAC president 1982-1983. This was the first seminar sponsored by WAAC and the first given by the FPL for persons outside of the forest product industry. The FPL scientists visited the de Young Museum labs in order to acquaint themselves with problems peculiar to conservation. Each seminar participant submitted questions which were used by the teaching staff to prepare their lectures. Due to the "experimental" nature of the seminar, participation was restricted to conservators with considerable prior experience and knowledge of wood behavior. The first day was spent reviewing the basic physical and mechanical properties of wood, and the theory and practice of wood identification using a hand lens. On subsequent days subjects covered were:

The final afternoon was given to a question and answer session with the entire staff and a number of graduate students. Much time was spent further discussing the history and manufacture of wood based panel products and their possible effects on artworks. Also covered were: studies of aged woods; a deteriorated American Indian canoe; basketry; the possibility of wood identification using chemicals; electronic moisture measuring techniques; and a warning against the use of certain solvents which swell wood more than water.

Having had the opportunity to get to know the FPL staff, the attendants will hopefully find it easier to approach these specialists with future problems. DR. ARGANBRIGHT remarked that he had never encountered such enthusiasm from faculty or participants at one of their seminars. He hoped that this seminar would be a prototype for others in the future.

Further information about the "Wood in Art Conservation" seminar, or possible future WAAC seminars may be obtained from SCOTT HASKINS, WAAC president, or from the director of the Forest Products Laboratory:

Forest Products Laboratory University of California Richmond Field Station 47th Street and Hoffman Blvd. Richmond, CA 94804 (415) 231-9450

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