Thursday, August 15, 2013

Timber Framing

At the end of June I took a class at Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts, in Massachusetts.  It was a fabulous week.  Timber framing is a really elegant way of working with wood, and this school focuses on only working with hand tools.  Our class was a group of 26 people from various backgrounds, ages, and locations from across the country.  I highly recommend the experience.

My first tenon!  Love that hand forged Barr chisel.  Note the antique boring machine (for making mortises) behind me.

I'm working on a mortise here--sideways is not recommended but my partner was working on another joint on the end so I did this anyway.
Putting up the timber frame on Heartwood School's deck

Assembling the timberframe--one of the corner posts is mine :)

Working with green pine (wood that has not been kiln dried) smelled so good!  I'll never smell fresh pine again without being transported to Heartwood's shade dappled driveway where we worked outdoors all day.

Except for the last day, when our teachers had to pull out power tools to finish on time, there was just the sound of friendly conversations, hand saws, chisels, and mallets.

We built two small structures which had been ordered by clients.  The beauty of timber framing is that you can put the structure together first, to check that everything fits.  Then you can pull the pegs out, take the pieces apart, and load them onto a truck to be assembled at the client's property.

Working with a quality, well sharpened chisel was a revelation.  I can't wait to get my smaller chisels sharpened so I can make furniture sized mortises and tenons.