The pro-Trump mob on January 6th damaged parts of the nation’s Capitol, some made of old growth mahogany wood, which is now impossible to buy.
Those responsible for repairing the damage turned to one of the people in the country most knowledgeable about wood and restoration work. They turned to Madison’s own Robert “Bob” Ross, of the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory, located right here in Madison.
The Lab was holding a bunch of century-old mahogany wood, first brought to Madison to study materials for airplane propellers during World War I. Now, that wood is finding a second purpose as it’s used to repair furnishings at the US Capitol. That work is expected to begin in June.
This is just one of many projects Ross has been a part of. He also consulted on the restoration of the USS Constitution, rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and even an ancient sarcophagus. Here in Madison, he also works with arborists at the Wisconsin Capitol to scan living trees for signs of decay.
Buzz host Jonathan Zarov to talk about the mahogany wood, and the many other projects going on at the Forest Products Laboratory.
Photo of experimental propellers produced from seven different species of wood. Courtesy of the Forest Products Lab archives.