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on 31 July 1999
In this book, originally published in 1961, John Fitchen describes and explains the falsework (i.e. scaffolding) that was used to build Gothic Cathedrals. The main focus is on the construction and use of the centering (which is the formwork used to build arcs and vaults). The chapters: 1. Sources of information - 2. Constructional means - 3. Medieval types of vaulting - 4. Gothic formwork - 5. Gothic centering - 6. Erection of rib vaulting without formwork. The text is clearly written and accompanied by excellent drawings, a very good glossary and an extensive bibliography. For everyone interested in medieval building techniques this book is a must.
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on 14 February 2012
I purchased this book as I am interested in how medieval people managed to build enormous cathedrals using very simple technology.

This book discusses the methods used to construct Gothic vaulting in cathedrals concentrating on the wooden structures, scaffolding, centering etc, used to support the vaulting while under construction. However there is very little written evidence on how these wooden structures were built and much of the book is supposition on how the structures were probably built. Lots of diagrams but only two photos so sometimes its hard to understand what the author is trying to describe.

Its rather heavy going too and I get the impression that the book was probably written either as a doctorial thesis or as a text book for Professor Fitchen's students. In particular he often refers to photos which are not in this book but in book referenced in the bibliography to which most of us don't have access.
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on 8 October 2013
This book will tell you all you need to know about vault erection. The problem is that the author uses highly technical language throught (presumably in the interests of accuracy), which makes it more suitable to the advanced reader than the layman.
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