A Great Debate Wages: How to Repair Notre-Dame Cathedral


Notre-Dame Cathedral: Volunteer carpenters aim to settle reconstruction debate

Text by:FRANCE 24Follow


Video by:Sam BALL

A group of volunteer carpenters are hoping to settle the debate over how Paris’s fire-ravaged Notre-Dame Cathedral should be rebuilt by constructing a replica of part of the structure’s roof entirely by hand using traditional techniques and materials.

Armed with axes and hand saws, the team of 25 craftsmen and women, who belong to a collective called Carpenters Without Borders, managed to build one of the 25 trusses that made up the wooden roof of Notre-Dame that they say is identical to the original.

“It is a demonstration of traditional techniques on one of the trusses of the framework of the nave of Notre-Dame that serves to show how viable these techniques are from an economic point of view on the one hand and from a technical point of view on the other,” researcher Frédéric Epaud told AFP.

Known as ‘the forest’ and built out of vast oak beams, the 800-year-old intricate wooden lattice of Notre-Dame’s knave was completely destroyed in last year’s fire.

Since then debate has raged over how it should be rebuilt. Some have argued that reconstructing the original roof is impossible as sufficiently old and large enough oak trees no longer exist in France.

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  1. “Our Timber Frame CNC” video at


    This roof could have been repaired in 60 days, matching original style, with flame retardant timber, more micron Macron malfeasance. .

  2. UL approved tests by the American Wood Council, for the International Code Council show that thick, timber frame structures, and glue-lam constructed wood structures, do not fail from normal fires. Notre Dame was destroyed using accelerants and willful neglect in fire suppression. Consider this a case of demonic arson, planned monument destruction. Many 800 year old, virgins growth barns and churches survived fires with 1/4 inch charred surface protecting the thick timbers, and were reused intact.

    • I think that was shown with the Great fire of London too.
      Also it should be reconstructed in original style not in some modern new age style as had been suggested. Doing this would be an insult (by the French) to their ancestors who built it with blood sweat and tears.

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