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Monday, July 20, 2009

School Daze School Daze

2007 was gone, we had no road, but lots of ambition and ideas. We'd seen several houses that were built around a timber frame, so our next step was to learn more about timber frames. Picture enormous, square "Lincoln Logs" (if you are of a certain age and played with these iconic toys in childhood) and you get the idea: big pieces of lumber, carved by hand to fit precisely together into a frame that supports the roof and walls. North House to the rescue again! We signed up for the June 2008 North House class, "Basic Timber Framing" taught by Tom Healy (and his dogs) and Peter Hendricksen, both extraordinarily talented teachers with complimentary styles.

A timber frame for a bread oven

Our class of 17 students, one intern and 2 teachers carved and built a small frame in less than a week, using very sharp chisels, circular saws, band saws, miniature chain saws that drill the mortices (the grooves where the tongues, or "tenons" fit) and expensive Japanese tools. Turns out the Japanese (and Chinese) are the world's finest timber framers. There are wood timber frames standing from the Tang Dynasty (that's 1000 years ago, kids...) No fingers were
sacrificed in the process.

Hard at work in class, trying not to lose digits...

The plans for our class frame

The exciting day of raising the completed frame!

We were hooked. This was going to be it for us! Whatever else we would get, we knew we wanted a cabin made of a timber frame. The rest would fall into place somehow. After one breakfast at the Wild Onion with Healy we started plotting our future in earnest.

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