Once the tree had been felled, the timber had to be prepared in the desired shape and size.
Braces were designed to join the timbers that formed the roof.
The braces had a clear functional purpose: to fix the roof in place and support the structure of the choir.
They also constituted an aesthetic element. The shape acquired by this system of joining the timbers embellished the space.
To join the panels that formed the front of the choir, a technique known by the name of tongue and groove joint was used and which was very widely used in wooden buildings. Not a single metal nail was needed. This technique is used to this day.
The secrets of carpentry
The carpenters carefully selected the trees that had to be felled. They sought maximum quality.
The oaks provided strong beams more than 10 m long.
The quality of the timber not only depended on the tree but also on the moment it was felled.
The idea that the time of year and the moon phase influenced the quality of the timber prevailed among carpenters.
To obtain quality timber, when the trunk was felled it had to contain the minimum possible amount of sap, in other words, that little liquid should be circulating.
When the timber contained little liquid inside it, this caused the fibres to be more tightly packed, thus preventing a beam from cracking in the future.
Furthermore, the less liquid the timber had, the less likely it was to be attacked by fungi and insects that regard the sap as a succulent food.
The amount of sap circulating through the trunk is not always the same, it depends on the solar energy it receives and the phase of the moon.
The carpenters used to observe the cycle of the tree to obtain long-lasting timber. It was the secret of carpentry.
A dragon inside the church
Many corners of Santa Maria display the art of a past era.
Feminine faces and geometric figures were carved on the wood.
There was also space for painting: A winged dragon, a dog, a pig or bull, and a person holding a hunting horn were drawn although remained unfinished.
This decorative art belonged to a period of transition between the Romanesque and Gothic periods.