Thursday, February 27, 2014

A flattering angle

Those in the know are aware that The Boss is a photographer. If you are not in the know you should go check out her site RIGHT NOW because my handsome mug is plastered all over her most recent post.

We were raising some principle rafters on a timber frame that we have been working on this winter so I called Amanda to get some professional documentation. She puts my pictures to shame...but that really isn't saying much seeing as I use my cell phone with a scratched up lens.

Here are some more pictures she took while visiting me for lunch at work when I was hewing the purlins for the aforementioned timber frame; she is very talented.

That is Steve's broad axe in the foreground, with his authentic pack basket

Tools of the trade

Peeling off the bark helps snap and keep a more precise line.

Using a plumbet, old school style

Here is one from me in my work duds looking like a certified bad ass.

Usually I don't get any pictures of me actually doing work, because I don't use a tripod, so it is nice when she stops by to take some candids of me getting my woodwright on.

PS. My blog recently went over 10,000 views...crazy, and I wasn't even there to see it tick over. Looks like I will have to be more vigilant when it hits 28,008, and then stand on my head (you'll get it if you are a math nerd).

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wood, the element

Ever wonder the Janka hardness of Sapele? 6,280 N
How about the modulus of rapture of Blue Ash? 95.2 MPa
Maybe the radial shrinkage of Mango? 3.6%
Perhaps the scientific name of Dogwood? Cornus florida

You are probably thinking that I am some kind of Idiot Savant, or have waaaay too much time to do research on the internet. The real truth is that I found a fantastic website, The Wood Database, that catalogs all the properties of all species of wood, or at least all the wood that I can think of. This information is then put into a periodic table-esque collection of physical properties that is easily searchable.

Strength, weight, shrinkage, rot resistance, workability, odor, common uses, allergies, price, color, etc, etc, etc. This site literally lists every fact about most woods, even information that you might not need to know, and there are pictures to boot!

Ever seen the end grain of Lilac?

Lilac end grain magnified 10x

Want to know what sealed Sissoo looks like? This site has it!

I don't know what Sissoo is, but here it is sealed.

Just don't let your significant other catch you drooling over the pictures on your computer screen, they might get the wrong impression.

PS. You're welcome.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Coarse, Medium, and Fine

While hewing some perlins, I noticed the (or at least my) three stages of hewing; coarse, medium, and fine. Pretty cool.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

On second thought, maybe I'll move to Finland

In a previous post I said that if my current job didn't work out I was going to move to Germany and become a Bavarian logger. But after perusing the internet I came up with another great video. (Link for phone and tablet users)

I want to join this crew of Finnish carpenters so bad it hurts.I could go on and on about the things I found fantastic about this video, but I will stick to the high notes.

1. Hewing an entire gable end wall before I die MUST happen.
2. I need to start cutting joints with nothing but a hatchet.
3. How cool are pegged floating floors?
4. I am going to Finland to get me one of those sweet axes!

P.S. Seeing as I have crazy O.C.D., I couldn't stop thinking about those great Finnish axes. So I did some research and found that there are pretty much two ways to get your hands on one. The first way - find a friend in Finland and have them go to any flea market and pick up a great vintage Billnas for almost nothing...and then pay a fortune in shipping costs to send it over state-side. The second way is to figure out a way to buy one from John Neeman Tools (see blog post here). It might be easier finding a friend in Finland, and I have a feeling that it would be a lot cheaper too.

P.P.S. I think it is poor blogging etiquette to have the P.S. longer than the blog.

P.P.P.S. Or having three post scripts.

P.P.P.P.S The End

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Sweet Smell of Success

After many broken spoons, and plenty of...explicit words, I finally finished my first spoon. The proportions are a little off, the whole thing twisted like a corkscrew when it dried, and the bowl is a tad bit lop sided, but I feel like the proud parent of an ugly baby.

I chickened out from adding chip carving to the handle.

This spoon is made from a piece of apple wood that was gifted to me from a visitor to the museum. Apple is wonderful to work with as long as it is wet. I treated the spoon with some Walnut Oil which really made the heartwood pop.

I left the knife marks on, I think it gives more character.

I learned a few key things in my quest for a wooden spoon:
1. These little buggers are WAY more complex than they first appear.
2. Don't try for perfection, that is what factories are for.
3. Wood selection is paramount. Fruit and Nut woods are preferred, any sort of ring porous wood is abismal.
4. Consider me addicted.

I really like the side profile.

Onwards and Upwards!

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Dregs of Society

A lot of change is happening at work recently and as a result we are cleaning out spaces and finding fun toys...I mean play...I mean work...with. On top of that, our tractor is currently out of service, but work must go on. Luckily we found (what we thought was) a Dreg in one of the storage sheds.

A modern Dreg with spindly wheels.

Flash forward a week and we needed to move a log from the hewing bocking to the saw pit. The log was a wet piece of white oak 10"x10" 13 feet long, so it was waaaaay heavier than four men wanted to lift, what a great time to try out our new set of wheels.

Rope makes pulling and steering a lot easier.

What an easy job it was! If it wasn't for pulling the log up an icy hill we could have easily handled this thing with two men. Looks like a 17th century Dreg just topped the project list. It will make timber handling a fantastic exhibit rather than a dirty little secret we do before visitors arrive.

I get the easy job of taking pictures.