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Woodworking

60% of the territory occupied by the municipality of Luserna comprises woods with mixed vegetation. Among the most common specimens, we cite spruce (vaücht), beech (puach) and fir (tånn), while less common though consistent specimens include larch (lèrch), pine (vor) and ash (esch).

Spruce was used for the construction of windows and doors, furniture, roof beams and floor planks thanks to its resistance to rigid climates and its versatility. Larch cut in the direction of the ribs was used to make “scandole” (shingles), small boards which processed into one centimeter-thick strips were used to clad roofs, being held in place by large rocks. Almost all residential dwellings in Luserna featured this type of roofing, until a fire that broke out in 1911 devastated most of these constructions, leading to their replacement with galvanized sheets, rather than shingles.

Between the end of the nineteenth and the turn of the twentieth centuries, the construction of road networks for military purposes facilitated the transport of lumber to sale and processing areas, thus promoting its merchantability. Between 1942 and 1943, dwarf pines were used in the steelworks of Padua as a coal substitute, which required reliance on the Cimbrian workforce for wood cutting operations. The cutting of lumber and subsequent reforestation meant that the local community could rely on good sources of income. Young people and women, in addition, were employed to remove rafters and barks from woods. The supply of wood for home use was indispensable for Luserna’s households, since stoves needed to be fed to heat homes and cook meals. At this juncture, Luserna’s women played an important role, since it was them (men were away from the village for work) who had to procure wood for the winter. However, most of the forest was owned by the municipal administration, and a viable alternative to buying land was to gather branches (raisar), bark (roge), and logs (stokh), which were yielded by all woodcutting by-products left on the ground. All harvested wood was orderly stacked in attics or under balconies, and used sparingly. To this day, Luserna inhabitants ask the local municipality for use of a small section of the forest in order to procure wood, but the last word is for those who take care of the woods, namely, the Forest Service, which establishes the amount of cuts and type of seedlings to be planted.