In Tunisia, handicrafts based on local wood are mostly from olive wood. Due to its physical, mechanical and aesthetic qualities, olive wood is highly sought and appreciated by artisans and buyers. In front of the growing demand for this wood, local people do not hesitate to resort to illicit cuts to satisfy the needs of the market. The objective of this study is to search for forest species offering wood qualities that rival those of olive wood and that can be valorized for artisanal use.
The measurements of the physico-mechanical properties of wood samples from stem and roots (lignotuber) of E. loxophleba are carried out according to Tunisian standards:
- The measured physical properties: Moisture content, density, and shrinkage.
- The determined mechanical properties: static bending, axial compression, and Brinell hardness.
- In order to evaluate the craft behavior, the roots were sculpted by a professional craftsman.
Wood samples were taken from 3 representative trees from the El Hanya arboretum (Sousse) d’El Hanya (Sousse).
Physical characterization : The wood of the magnifying glass of Eucalyptus loxophleba is remarkably dense. Its Infra density is close to that of the stem (0.860g /cm3). The wood of the magnifying glass of E.loxophleba is characterized by a significant axial shrinkage (2.4 %) but the anisotropy of shrinkage remains close to that of the stem (of the order of 1.4 %), which allows it to have good dimensional stability. Although the wood of the stem and that of the magnifying glass belong to the same species, they both possess different shrinkability. The latter is higher in the stem than in the magnifying glass. The difference in shrinkage between the two types of wood is estimated at around 3.2 % for tangential shrinkage, 2.3 % for radial shrinkage and 4.8 % for total shrinkage. Such a difference may be due to the collapse phenomenon that is characteristic of eucalyptus wood during its drying. The wood of the E. loxophleba magnifying glass is denser and with a slightly higher shrinkage compared to that of the Moroccan magnifying glass cedar.
The transformation tests into handicraft products have shown that the wood of the magnifying glass of Eucalyptus loxophleba lends itself well to such use. It presents a speckled wood more aesthetic than the olive wood, however, it should be noted that the sawing of such wood is more difficult compared to that of the olive tree or the Thuya. (Figure 2)
Due to its physico-mechanical properties and its artisanal quality, E.loxophleba wood lends itself perfectly to an artisanal transformation and can join the species (olive tree, thuya) commonly known for their uses in the artisanal field.
The transformation tests into handicraft products have shown that the wood of the magnifying glass of Eucalyptus loxophleba lends itself well to such use. It presents a spekled wood more aesthetic than the olive :
- Due to its physico-mechanical properties and its artisanal quality, E.loxophleba wood lends itself perfectly to an artisanal transformation and can join the species (olive tree, thuya) commonly known for their uses in the artisanal field.
- Eucalyptus loxophleba is a species introduced only into the arboretum. We must think about planting this species in an intensive way to meet the needs of local craftsmen
- There is about 36 species of Eucalyptus lignotuber introduced in Tunisia, other magnifiers lignotubers can also be used for similar studies.
- Ecological impact of the introduction of Eucalyptus loxophleba must be assessed in anticipation of larger plantation.
- There is a need of work on the magnifying glass among several craftsmen to better verify the artisanal behavior of the magnifying glass and thus rationalize the use of this new raw material.
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