The general miserableness of August has been bearing down on me this month. Heat, humidity, everything in the newspapers and mosquitoes have driven me to stay inside. There is a stack of favorite books to reread and stacks more of new books. On the woodworking side, I’ve been dipping into Klaus Zwerger’s ‘Wood and Wood Joints-Building Traditions in Europe, Japan and China’ (available in German or English).
In a section discussing wood joints and aesthetic values he shows how the accomplished woodworker takes a functional element and adds ornamentation as a further display of skill. The log ends for exterior walls and interior partition walls of traditional log buildings offered the woodworkers a canvas for shaping and carving (or in Zwerger’s opinion some craziness). And so, we have the delightful Zierschrot (and Figurenschrot) found in the log buildings of Bavaria and parts of Austria.
The stag in the photo above (from Zwerger’s book) is a masterpiece on a partition wall. The body of the stag is the log end and the head, legs and tail are added inlay. Above and below the stag are the edges of other traditional shapes.
Here are some of some of the more common Zierschrot shapes:
This home has a full complement of traditional Zierschrot shapes.
One more example of the more common shapes.
There is no standard to follow for what combination of shapes to use, or a particular sequence. The same uniform shape was repeated, or the craftsman could produce a highly personal set of figures.The church was a very common shape for the log ends of partition walls.
The church could also be found on the wood joints of an exterior wall.
Zierschrot is not a lost art. This photo is from an Austrian site from about six years ago.
Another common shape seen in the log ends of partion walls is the cat and this one has a painted face (from Zwerger’s book).
Enjoy your Saturday, Samstag or Caturday, as the case may be.