Mistik Askiwin Dendrochronology Laboratory

MAD Lab Equipment

The MAD Lab is Atlantic Canada's first all-purpose dendrochronology laboratory, with many standard and specialized pieces of equipment. The PC-based lab has various sanders (hand and table), saws (hand and powered) and drying ovens in its equipment list.  As well, it boasts specialized tree-ring measuring equipment and software.

Velmex Stage System - The MAD Lab is equipped with a 24 inch movable Velmex Stage hooked up to a Quick Check digital encoder.  The system is capable of measuring ringwidths to an accuracy of a thousandth of a millimetre. Raw data is captured by J2X software and put into standard tree-ring formats. To view the rings, we use a Nikon SMZ800 continous zoom 63 power microscope hooked up to a monitor by a Nikon Coolpix 4500 digital camera.

Velmex Stage System - The combination of the camera and microscope is able to deliver high-resolution 4 megapixel still images as well as offering the user the option to display real-time images under the microscope on a large monitor. This latter option is particularly useful for teaching and demonstration purposes.

Image Analyzing System - The MAD Lab also uses a state-of-the-art WinDendro image analyzing system. This semi-automated equipment comprises a high-resolution, large-area scanner, along with software able to recognize and measure the parameters of rings on prepared samples.

Image Analyzing System - Along with the tree-ring component of the WinDendro system, the MAD Lab also has semi-automated leaf (Winfolio) and needle (Winseedle) analyzing software aquired from Regent Instruments.

Band Saw- We have a nice band saw with a 17 inch throat to cut most sized detrital and subfossil wood we encounter.  The bandsaw is indispensable with this type of material as we can make a flat, smooth finish before even sanding when we utilize some of the high tooth per inch blades available.

Sanders- We have some hand-held belt and orbital palm sanders, but by far, we mostly use our 4 x 24  belt sanding units.  We have three units vented through our exhaust ports to quickly and effeciently sand boards, cores and discs samples.

Buffing Wheel - After sanding, and particularily important with hardwood samples, we usually buff fine particles out of the wood samples with our buffing wheel.  The attachment is connected to a standard drill press and it is very effective to quickly remove dust and apply a fine polish to the samples to enhance our ability to distinguish ring features.

Ported Vent System - As safety is always paramount within the lab, we have a large capacity vacuum unit to help eliminate all dust and wood from each of our saws, and sanding units.  The large unit is surprisingly quiet and effectively eliminates most dust in the dirty lab.

Fine Particle Vent System- Adding to the individual port ventilation system for each piece of equipment, we have installed a ceiling mounted fine particle dust extraction system that eliminates airborne particulates down to five microns.  We believe that this is particularly important to our respiratory systems when we are using fine sanding papers from 320-1000 grit. 

Our Fridge - The MAD Lab has also received as a gracious gift from the visiting Australian swim team, a fridge.  We use the fridge a lot and as it is the only fridge on our floor, we have hosted countless lunch meetings.  We use our fridge to hold our lunches and to keep our pop cold.  

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2014 Mistik Askiwin Dendrochronology Lab

Maintained by Colin P. Laroque
April  13, 2014