Thursday, July 10, 2008

Big Furniture

Sometimes while being introduced by friends, they'll refer to me as a carpenter and then rush to say craftsman etc...In truth, the reason that I bristle at being called a carpenter is because I am incapable of building a square, level structure using standard cut boards. It's a skill that I admire and have no claim to. So when I need to construct a shed or building, I immediately turn to timberframing to find myself in comfortable territory, after all, a timber frame is nothing but a large piece of furniture. This year I have set out to build a shed off of the side of my workshop for wood storage and more importantly firewood. The pain of chipping my firewood out of the ice in mid February for the last 8 years is enough to mobilize me on a 90 degree day!

Here are a few of my homemade (or handled) timber framing tools.

But to show once again that I am no luddite, here are the ones that I rely on to get the job done and get me back to my chairmaking. I told myself that I'd sell them as soon as I'd finished my workshop, but there are these little projects that keep popping up!

The real star of the show is the chain mortiser. It takes all of the pain out of hogging out mortises two inches wide and 7 inches deep. Every joint still gets finished off with the slick and corner chisel, but having built a small shed without it, I assure you, it's worth it. The most interesting part of the process is the layout of the joints, because none of the timbers are evenly sized. There is as much as 1/2 inch difference from one beam to the next. This is where an old way of working wood comes to offer a freedom that uniform lumber forgot we needed. I'll detail the process as I raise the building. It may not be chairmaking, but I bet the connections will be pretty clear.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Pete,
Looks like fun. What type of wood do you use for timber frame construction,cost and strength considered?