Next up it’s time to hide the frame

I really like the look of a timber frame against the sky; a giant wooden skeleton, all pegged together.

finished frame
finished frame

Pret designed this one with asymmetrical braces – often braces are at 45-degrees, but these are laid out two feet out from the vertical post, and three feet from the horizontal (either the tie-beam or the plate). He’s right, they look very nice, now that all the mind-crushing & teeth-gnashing is over and the joints all pegged.

It’s been fun this past week having the frame in our view. But this ain’t the old world, with its half-timbered framing tradition, wattle & daub and brick infill.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
mythical or not – an attractive look

Here in New England the tradition is to cover the frame with sheathing – the frame only showing inside the building. Not as romantic, not as attractive; but I rarely mess with tradition. Thus, it’s time to cover that thing up.

Yesterday, Nathan Goodwin, a regular at some Plymouth CRAFT events, kindly hauled me in his truck and trailer down to East Freetown Massachusetts, to Gurney’s Sawmill to pick up our order of white pine sheathing/siding and floor boards.

gurney's
I didn’t see Paul at the mill, looks like he’s posing for the sign

I usually buy wood as a log – thus one piece, or a few boards at a time. But this framed building is the largest thing I eve made…so I need more boards than usual.

wow that's a load
wow – that’s a lot of boards for me…

I stacked and stickered the boards, and our next move will be to sheath around the corners of the building, to tie the frame to the sills. Then tackle sheathing the roof, which will then be covered with wooden shingles. And no, I am not making the shingles. There’s only so many hours in the day.

stack 1
stack one of two

If you’re around this area, try Gurney’s – they’re the nicest folks. It’s like stepping back in time… http://www.gurneyssawmill.com/

Did this one go twice?

Yesterday was the day we’ve been waiting for – frame-raising day. Pret & I laid out & cut joinery a little more than part-time for almost 3 months. So many friends gathered on Saturday here by the river, neighbors came to watch (& got roped into driving pins) – and we had a great time assembling & raising the frame.

Back when I did a lot of research into 17th century woodworking, I read M. Halsey Thomas, editor, The Diary of Samuel Sewall 1674-1729 2 volumes, (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1973). On page 11 I found: “Saturday, May 15. (1675) Brother’s house was raised, at the raising of which I was. Two Pins lower Summer. [footnote: Throughout the Diary, Sewall records driving nails or wooden pins in buildings under construction. This gesture of good will and voluntary association with the enterprise is traced by H. W. Haynes to Roman and Old Testament sources…]

I tried to include as many of the visitors as would be willingly led to the deck to drive pins. When else are they going to get a chance to do that? The first timber-frame raising I took part in was at Drew Langsner’s in the mid-1980s. Daniel O’Hagan was the instructor for that class…back in 1959 Daniel wrote a letter to the Catholic Worker newspaper which included this snippet:

“I went to a neighbor’s barn raising last week, and after the heavy beams had gone up and were pinned together, we stopped for a bite to eat. Most of the men were Mennonites, and most came by horse-drawn vehicles.

What an eye-opener and lesson in cooperation, to see 20 men walk over to an enormous oak timber and, after placing stout sticks under it, how gently, how quietly and easily, the great beam rose off the ground and was carried and laid at its destination! No shouting, no profanity, not rattling engines or gears grinding, not even an order to start heaving!

If only co-operation would be ingrained in us as competition has been!”

Yesterday, Maureen, the kids & I were delighted to be hosts to a large group of friends and neighbors, all working together and sharing a great experience. No nail guns or compressors could hold a candle to it!   

I’ll write more about it this week, here’s a gallery of photos, no particular order:

Upcoming classes

wb nuthatch good light
white breasted nuthatch

the winter is gradually letting go around here; my workshop is almost all-cut & ready for raising. (Then the real work begins of finishing it off so I can use it!) – and soon I’ll be travelling out & about to teach classes. Here’s a reminder of the upcoming classes –

frame & panel

April 1-3  I’ll be at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, the project is making a carved frame & panel in oak. We’ll work with riven oak, planing it to size, cutting the joinery, and carving the panel (& frame if time allows) and then bevelling the panel and fitting it in the frame. All the basics of 17th-century joiner’s work, wrapped into five pieces of wood. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes/29-speciality-weekend-classes/510-build-and-carve-this-frame-panel-with-peter-follansbee.html

nov spoons blog post photo
On May 7 & 8, I’ll be back at Lie-Nielsen, with two days of spoon carving. May is my favorite time to be in Maine. Spoon carving is, as you might know, sweeping the world. Come see what it’s all about, or if you’ve already carved a lot of spoons, come & we’ll explore some of the finer points of spoon design. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/126

carved box

June is mostly taken up with Greenwood Fest, but right after it, I’ll pack up again for Warren, Maine. This time at Lie-Nielsen we’re making a carved box. Last year we developed a short version of this course; jumping right to learning the carvings, then designing the box’s patterns. We’ll assemble the box with wooden pins securing rabbet joints, then nail the bottom on, following 17th-century practice. A wooden hinge engages cleats under the lid. Come join us and eventually your house will be as full of boxes as mine. https://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshop/USA/129

In the “classes that ain’t mine” department, I want to bring your attention to two at Plymouth CRAFT –

 

drawknife work 2

Tim's spoon 1

Tim Manney’s coming down from Maine to Plymouth to show a different take on spoon carving – he will show you how to steam-bend a straight-grained piece of green wood to a shape that is perfect for a well-designed spoon. Don’t be mystified by the steam-bending – it’s a simple process that will take you in new directions with spoon carving, and other woodworking too. Tim is part of the Greenwood Fest this spring in Plymouth, but here’s a chance to spend some concentrated time in a small group exploring spoon design, tool use and more.

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=steam-bent-spoon-work-with-tim-manney

IMG_6113

One offering from later in the season – After Greenwood Fest, Dave Fisher is coming back to Plymouth to lead 12 students through the process of bowl-carving. If you’ve seen his work – (you have, haven’t you?), you know Dave’s a master at this. He puts a lot of thought into his bowls, and will show you how to really advance your visions in this engrossing workshop. I’ll be peering in the windows for this one for sure, unless he sings some Barry Manilow songs… 

http://www.plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=bowl-carving-with-dave-fisher

It’s only Tuesday & I already had the highlight of the week

We have lived on the Jones River here in Kingston for 15 years now. We’ve seen lots of things/creatures from our yard. I have kept pretty good track of the birds, (I think 101 species) we’ve only occasionally seen deer (although they’re abundant), coyote, raccoon, skunk, etc. While Pret & I have been working on the frame, we’ve seen an otter several times, Maureen & I found a muskrat on the ice this winter – but today was something altogether unexpected. Here’s the view from the workshop’s site:

what is that

It’s a seal. My assumption is a harbor seal, I think that’s the most common one in eastern Massachusetts. The tide was quite high this morning, and there seemed to be a lot of fish activity, so the presumption is that this seal followed the fish up here.

seal

seal 2

seal face

seal 3

seal nostrils

seal & hump

It’s a pretty short jaunt from here to the bay, unless you go by river – then it winds a bit. But if you’re letting the tide take you, and your following fish, I guess it’s not that big a deal. We’re right near the bottom of this screen shot, just above where the river runs under the road in yellow (3A) –

Screenshot 2016-03-08 16.47.23

Next thing you know, the great white sharks will follow the seal.

Some spoons etc for sale, March 6, 2016

spoons

In between framing the workshop & working on some wainscot chairs, I have been carving some spoons…

I posted a few for sale, the page is here, or at the header of the blog there’s a link. https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-etc-for-sale-march-6-2016/ 

If you’d like to order something, just leave a comment or send an email. Paypal is easiest, or you can send a check. Thanks as always.
Warm weather coming, time to finish up that timber frame!

more timber framing

I worked a lot today on the shop frame. And took a lot of photos. Finishing up some leftover joinery; then some detail stuff. We’re using a method called “square-rule” joinery, where each timber is cut down right at the joints to a common thickness. In this case, 5 3/4″. That means each mortise gets a housing cut beside it. Here’s some of how I cut this detail.

I make a series of saw kerfs to break up the material to be removed. Angle the saw to cut down to the depth at the front shoulder; the saw is tilted so I don’t cut into the back of the timber, behind the joint.

sawing

Then sneak in there with the toe of the saw to even out these kerfs.

sawing pt 2

Here’s what it looks like after these steps.

saw kerfs

Then, using the chisel bevel down, knock these bits out.

chop

Then pare them down to the required depth.

paring

Sometimes I do this paring with the timber’s face held vertically, it’s easier to see the line I’m paring to that way.

When I’m done paring, I want this shoulder to be less than 90-degrees. That way nothing interferes with the joint closing at assembly.

under square

Then I chop a bit of a bevel at the mortise’s bottom end. A corresponding bevel will be on the tenoned piece.

bevel

The posts and one tie-beam have chamfers on their inside corners. After marking out the width, I start by shaving with a drawknife.

drawknife

Here you can see that I just blocked the timber up so the corner is easy to get at:

chamfer pt 1

Then I dress it a bit with a smooth plane.  plane

The chamfer on the tie-beam has a “stop” I marked it out with a square & awl, then sawed down to the chamfer’s depth. Clean up with a chisel.

chamfer

Then using a chisel bevel down, I cut a curve into the section behind the stop.

bevel down chisel

End result:

stopped chamfer

Then I got out the carving tools to finish off this timber – the first one I worked on, finished it last!