Category Archives: carpentry

vernacular architecture

  VERNACULAR ARCHITECTURE & THE DESIGN OF HOUSES “If it is asserted that civilization is a real advance in the condition of man – and I think that it is, though only the wise improve their advantages – it must … Continue reading

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Ockham’s Eraser

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”   Albert Einstein Last week, I opened an e-mail from our public library, … Continue reading

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Tolerance and Precision

Lufkin…Starrett…Brown & Sharpe…The Holy Trinity Skeat:                                                                     … Continue reading

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Never and Always

Winding sticks on a board, preparing stock.  Mind the gap.  This is the first start-to-finish benchwork project for me in several years, salvaged Asian mahogany from a pallet.  After sorting out most of the embedded gravel, nails, and broken drywall … Continue reading

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Waterlogue

  Ars Longa Vita Brevis Tempus Fugit Carpe Diem

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$20k house redux

I don’t believe it’s fair to criticize unless you can offer a better idea.  If these four guys can actually build a complete house in three weeks, they are carpenters, not mere laborers. This crew is going to spend the next … Continue reading

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Reinbarnation

“Any jackass can kick down a barn.  It takes a good carpenter to build one.”  Sam Rayburn Last week, I had a disappointment.   The previous Friday, Alice and I had driven to Mountainburg (about 50 miles) and bought some … Continue reading

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$20k House Myth

I have been following (and believing in) Auburn University’s Rural Studio program since I saw Sam Mockbee speak here at the University of Arkansas School of Architecture in ’99 or 2000, shortly before he died.  Later, the filmmakers who produced Citizen … Continue reading

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Dublin Green

Some years ago…a friend of mine took up long-distance running.  After training for a summer, he and a group of fellow runners entered the Dublin Marathon.  During most of that time we had been building a timber frame, sharing my tools.  I had … Continue reading

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The Decline of Craft

Every one is different… As winter wears on, I spend more time scheming and planning than building.  My building ideas are just on the margin of convention, and we have implemented them freely in our own house.  Mostly, to be honest, … Continue reading

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How and Why

Actually (to clarify the last post a bit), this began much earlier, but the photos from that phase aren’t digital, and I’ll eventually have to dig them out and scan them.  For now, the brick part is original and we … Continue reading

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Roof Valleys

Trigonometry, once you understand the basics, is fairly easy to use.  The sine curve/cosine curve model works great for electrical engineering, but isn’t very useful for building math.  Really, just the ++ quadrant of a unit circle is sufficient for every … Continue reading

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Design and Workmanship

Before the “Maker Movement”, there was David Pye.  If you make things, or design things, and ever feel the need to communicate about making or designing, you should read these books. In 1964, David Pye published The Nature of Design, … Continue reading

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Piñata of Ideas

Ever have a really good idea, and when you float it out there, someone just can’t wait to knock the stuffing out of it.  Yeah!  Just think of it as a piñata, a little out of reach but interesting enough … Continue reading

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Learning Curves 11

Swamped Not exactly sitting pretty, I swamped and soaked myself.  Even worse, I lost my balance getting aboard, and slammed my foot so hard into the bottom that it split the hull.  This is the sort of thing that the … Continue reading

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Learning Curves 8

  To escape the rain, I moved the canoe into the painting studio, and proceeded with fiberglass and epoxy.  The sealer coat was a bit tacky, positioning the fiberglass cloth was tedious, and it was late Tuesday afternoon before I … Continue reading

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Learning Curves 7

  Back outside with a sealer coat of epoxy, ready for fiberglass.  Which I ended up sanding down to bare wood again Sunday morning.  The few drops of rain that hit the uncured epoxy left white streaks and spots, and … Continue reading

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Learning Curves 6

We finally stitched the bottom into the hull this afternoon, and all those pieces of spruce have become a singularity.  We might have cleverly taken apart a tree and made it into a boat, pieces of several trees more likely, at … Continue reading

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Learning Curves 4

Today, I went ’round the bend. Actually, there are several problems with the material I chose. Spruce is much stiffer that either Atlantic cedar or western red cedar, and I cut the strips 1/4″ x 15/16″. There are more scarf … Continue reading

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Learning Curves 3

  Once lost, the information on primitive watercraft cannot, as a rule, be recovered.  “It might be said fairly that those who had the best opportunities to observe, including many whose profession it was to record the culture of primitive … Continue reading

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