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Work in progress...

Every now and then I get to do some carpentry.

As I have been lead to understand, a joiner joins bits of wood together to make functional, everyday things like cupboards, window frames, doors - that sort of thing. A cabinet maker does finer work - beautiful cabinets and fine furniture in more exotic woods and veneers. But a carpenter is a wood worker who builds large structures, like houses. The last few weeks I have been trying a bit of carpentry.

Timber framers need a big hammer - mine is called The Commander. 10 kilos of solid oak on a pick-axe handle!

The timber frame is for my neighbours - it will support a temporary house they can live in while they spend the next few years converting the barn they have bought next door to my house. Progress on the frame has been reasonably quick (the first half of the frame took around 9 days to build from scratch), but it seems that carpentry is reliant on good weather, so this last weeks pouring rain as brought things to a halt somewhat!

The first half of the frame coming together

The timber is Scot's Pine, because it is a temporary building, and because that's what there was a lot of that we could mill for this project. The construction is traditional - no screws or bolts hold it together. Just a lot (and I mean a lot!) of hand cut mortice and tenon joints. We have a fancy chain morticing machine to help cut the mortices, but all the tenons are still cut by hand, so its pretty labour intensive, but very satisfying too. The joints are all pegged with hand cut ash pegs which are also made on site. A few more weeks of fine weather should see the main frame finished, although we have decided to try and incorporate a special feature into one end of the frame.... I'll maybe write a bit more about this in a future blog.

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