|Raised and raftered|
Over two weeks, 12 people joined me in Crenver grove, to saw, slice, chisel and bore through a pile of lovely, fresh Sweet Chestnut timbers we had felled and milled earlier in the year. These kinds of projects dont really come round very often, and the opportunity to build a traditional cruck frame on site, in a beautiful woodland, with a great bunch of folk was most enjoyable
|Pat cutting a housing|
|Oooh lovely tools|
We were really lucky to have some great weather for both courses, so much of the time we were working with sunshine and bird song. I dont want to get too romantic about this but with the mix of weather, lovely people, woodsmoke, plenty of tea, wonderful materials and the sounds of hand tools being worked on green wood, the whole thing really did feel pretty special.
|Plenty of tea|
Most of the work we did would have been very familiar to a carpenter of medieval times, with the use of plumb bob scribing being used throughout. This allows for very accurate jointing of timbers, despite the wood being rough sawn and out of square.
We also used the adze alot to clean up the inside radius on the crucks and wind braces, which seemed pretty popular. It is suprising how quickly you can get good at this. One of my favorite tools.
|Adam the adze|
|Ollie in action|
|Scribed and ready to cut|
|Crosscutting a shoulder|
Most of the jointing is done with large mortice and tenons, with a wooden pin or peg holding it tightly together.
|Carpenters marks with timber scribe and temporary steel pin|
|Heavy mortice chisel and a well cut tenon|
I think much of the appeal of these green wood crafts lies not only in the aesthetic beauty of the objects being made (and the tools used), but also in a kind of honesty in the process. Its physical and no thrills kind of process, but the combination of care, skill and knowledge of material, and tradition passed down the centuries, results in something maybe difficult to define, but is immediately appealing to many people.
|Cleaning out a mortice|
I felt by the end of each five day course we had managed to get to a pretty good level of understanding the fundamentals of trad timber framing. Actually these courses are always a bit of an experiment, because a balance must be struck between learning and simply getting stuff done, so I was really pleased that we managed so much. This has loads to do with the enthusiasm and drive of the participants and I was really fortunate in that respect. A big thankyou to all who sawed and chiselled and adzed..
|Dylan chopping out and Jess on the boring machine|
All the pictures on this post were taken by Rach weaver one of our course goers, so a massive thankyou to her for letting me use her brilliant images.
|Trusty shave horse for peg and shingle making|