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A Most Ancient of Modern Crafts

I read about a team from China finding what may be Noah’s Ark, which is another way of saying, “box”.  Probably it was a large rectangular box, very much like a two by four with a hollow center!  That is a very large two by four.

Initial carbon dating puts the wood found at the site around 4800 years ago.  For a point of discussion, let’s accept that this discovery is a fact.

This means woodworking has been around for a few years (input laughter here for the “captain obvious” understatement).  Think about this, such workmanship by Noah whose name should be remembered for this reason alone, is worth noting.

This ancient craftsman’s planning (well, he may have followed plans given by a celestial architecture but that is a different point of discussion), gathering materials, cutting, layout, joining, and finishing are still part of wood craft today!

Unless you are into CNC everything Noah did – woodworkers do today.  Joining wood in box and boat building as Noah did remains now as then.

Whether done with all hand tools or robotic machinery the results endure; a skilled builder makes a wooden structure or artwork that spans the ages (4800 years is quite good).  Think what Noah could have accomplished had he had access to ToolsToday!  His family would have had their own suites and the animals boarded in stables only Kentucky thoroughbreds enjoy.

Here is a list of possible tool choices Noah might have used:

  1. CAD

  2. Portable lumber mill

  3. Contractor table saw

  4. Scaffolding

The list could go on and on, you get the point; the biblical account says it took him 120 years to complete the ark, with all the tools above imagine the finished project. Something along the lines of a modern day cruise ship with the beauty and smell of wood (although the ancient story says he finished the outside with pitch.  Pitch tends to overwhelm the smell of wood.  If you have ever put pitch on a roof you will know what I speak.  Noah, however, did not have spar urethane for a waterproof finish).

What he crafted amazes anyone who works with wood.  Wood breaks down in many ways, cracks, warps, cups, curls, rot, splinters, as well as deteriorates due to sun and water. Contrasted to metal objects as gold, bronze, silver, even iron,  all found in ancient sites dating as far back as Noah’s ark, very few wooden items have endured.  If all the facts prove to be accurate, this wooden vessel is still here!

This fact alone pushes woodworkers across the globe to dream, plan, build, and finish the project started.  The completed  end is still better than a stumbled start.  The start will be remembered, but only because it endured to the finish.

By Larry Beck.

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