The project was created in cooperation with the Upper Franconian Chamber of Crafts, the State Apprenticeship School of Bayreuth, the University of Coburg and the town of Cheb, represented by the Historical Cheb Foundation, which invited the Jaroměř Secondary School of Crafts to participate in the project.
The town of Cheb was approached by representatives of the Oberfranken Chamber of Crafts from Bayreuth with an offer to participate as a partner in a project to create a virtual tour of a selected historic truss in Cheb. The resulting video and 3D model will serve as instructional material for teaching carpentry apprentices, will be part of training for other trades such as carpentry or masonry, and can also be used to teach the use of the 3D scanner.
Another aim of the cross-border project, which brought together future carpenters from the Czech Republic and Germany in Cheb, was to learn about the work of the old master carpenters, and to provide an insight into how the construction of wooden trusses has changed over time. The pupils worked together to design a method of repairing damaged parts of historical structures using traditional carpentry methods. They were guided by construction historian Michal Panáček and master carpenter Petr Růžička.
The project had several phases. In the first one, it was necessary to find the truss that would best serve the purpose.
"We chose an authentically preserved roof truss from the early 17th century, which has serious damage to the tie beams and needs to be repaired in the future. Then our partners from Germany came and, in cooperation with the University of Coburg, scanned the entire truss with a special camera. In the next step, a virtual 3D model was created using modern imaging methods. Together with Petr Růžička, we made about ten short videos. In them, we describe how old the truss is, what its structural layout is, what carpentry details we can see on it and also the damage that needs to be repaired in the future," described historian Michal Panáček, who is intensively involved in the phenomenon of the Cheb trusses.
The finished material was made available to apprentices from Bayreuth and young carpenters from the Jaroměř Secondary School of Crafts. Both groups got to know the truss remotely and proposed solutions for the repairs that the structure needs.
"And this spring, the young Czechs and Germans met in Cheb. Directly under the selected truss, they touched what they had seen virtually in real life. They informed each other what repair options they had come up with and whether their solutions were feasible. Together, they also performed various tasks at ten stations that we had prepared for them. But first they got acquainted with professional carpentry terms in both languages so that they could establish a common communication, explain and measure everything together and discuss the carpentry issues they saw with their own eyes," described Michal Panáček.
According to him, the aim of the project is to bring the young generation closer to the work of the ancestors, their methods and procedures so that future carpenters will be able to decipher and analyse the traces of historical woodworking. They will also be able to recognise the tools used at that time.
"These are very important details, especially when it comes to repairing historic trusses. In addition, it has been shown time and again that our predecessors of that time had very sophisticated and well thought-out processes. Our current ones can replace them, but with all the negatives that such a solution brings. It turns out that, in many cases, it is better to revive tradition and go back to the way things were done before. This will preserve the integrity of the work and the execution of the work. This is what we wanted to show the young carpenters in Cheb," added Panáček.