Wednesday, September 13, 2006


timber framing is going splendidly. we've cut about seventeen pieces of the frame, mostly braces. three posts are complete, one of them the most complicated in the frame. it took me a full day to cut it.

more or less, except for tuesdays, i will be at destiny for the next month. so, reports here may come in only once a week.

it's wonderful living and working on the land. dhammiboo has prepared fantastic lunches and dinners, though he claims no expertise! we gather in the morning over breakfast, talk about the day's tasks, plan trips into town when we need to, and then get to work. under our large work tent we've got three sets of sawhorses supporting three workstations. we keep collective tools on the stack of 2x4s drying next to the workstations. each person usually has a piece that's theirs to finish. everyone works at their own pace and we help each other out when it's needed. most days include teaching someone new how to work a chisel.

the magic of timberframing, for me anyway, is the joinery. i've said a couple times to folks when showing them chiselwork: "you're not just whittling away here, you're creating a relationship!" you spend the day, sometimes longer, chipping away at a timber, working your way down to some lines that don't necessarily make any sense to you. you do your best to create the smoothest most accurate work you can, often betrayed by eagerness and impatience. the wood works with you sometimes, against you others. each cut is a new challenge asking you to be present and attentive. at times the workplace is silent except for the sound of tools. at others it's raucous with jokes, laughter and stories. and, eventually, when you're all done and your back is a bit sore and your palms are calloused from the thousand whacks of the chisel that you put into your piece, you stand back and you see you've created a beauty despite all your "learning." then, my favorite moment happens. you try your piece with its companion. there's nothing like the look of wonder and accomplishment when people first see how the piece they've worked fits with its mate. without fail it's a moment of clarity that induces exlamations of "i get it!" and waxings about the simple profundity of the work they've done.


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