Category Archives: traditional building

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

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building, woodworking | 1 Comment

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

Posted in architecture, carpentry, food for thought, traditional building, woodworking | 6 Comments

Tolerance and Precision

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

Posted in architecture, boatbuilding, carpentry, traditional building, woodworking | 3 Comments

blue sky

The Russian Bantry Bay Gig, Penetanguishene, 1994 If you can find a copy of Barns, Beams, and Boats online, it is the foundation story behind this boat.  Lance Lee, fresh out of the Marine Corps. in the 60’s, went to … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, boatbuilding, traditional building, woodworking | 2 Comments

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

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building, woodworking | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in boatbuilding, carpentry, education reform, food for thought, furniture, traditional building, woodworking | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building, woodworking | Leave a comment

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

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building, woodworking | 1 Comment

The Parthenon Enigma

“Thus, over the course of the fifth century, a new Athenian identity emerges, one carefully constructed to glorify Athens and incite fear in the hearts of its enemies.  The trappings (and overreach) of empire continued to bloat Athenian self-regard.  Still, … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, education reform, food for thought, metaphysical theology, traditional building, unscholastic achievement | Tagged | 3 Comments

Rhenish Helm

This old black & white is still one of the best images I’ve come across.  (pl. 15, Illustrated Glossary of Architecture 1966, Harris & Lever) There is precisely one Rhenish helm among all of England’s historic buildings, atop the tower of … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Restoring a wooden plane

The first planes I had were a Stanley 5 ½ and a #4, so I passed over the old-fashioned wooden planes because they didn’t have all the “advanced” adjustments.  I also made a few wooden planes early on, but it … Continue reading

Posted in carpentry, furniture, traditional building, woodworking | Leave a comment

kid’s workbench

Anyone who wants to involve children in woodworking should consider building a good sturdy low bench to accommodate their work height.  I made this workbench for the kid’s workshops I taught at the library this spring.  After cutting and fitting … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, furniture, traditional building, woodworking | Leave a comment

raising day

Near the end of March, 1845, I borrowed an axe and went down to the woods by Walden Pond, nearest to where I intended to build my house, and began to cut down some tall, arrowy white pines, still in … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building | 3 Comments

broadax

“He was a left-handed man.  Other workmen might be annoyed by apprentices or ignorant boys using their sharp axes; but you didn’t do that twice with George Cook’s axe–it was too dangerous a trick.”  George Sturt, The Wheelwright’s Shop Is … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building | Leave a comment

Sumitsubo

After the axe and adze have shaped the surface of a timber, the spear plane (yari kana) is used to achieve a smooth, slightly rippled surface, like calm water.  Reading the grain closely is essential; always following the contours, feeling the … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building | 1 Comment

tools…beyond price

The risers for our new stair: scantlings:  15– 3/4″ x 7,3/8″ x 37″ materials:  3–1x8x16′ + 1–1x4x16′ C-grade yellow pine, jointed, ripped, joined, glued, ripped (a nominal 1×8 is 7,1/4″ at best, by the time it’s jointed may be only 7″; … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building | 2 Comments

Vitruvius

“When the proportions are adjusted, and the dimensions found by calculation, then it is the part of a skilful architect to consider the nature of the place, the purpose of the building, and the beauty of it.”        … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building | 3 Comments

the wheelwright’s shop

The wood-worker who made barrels was going, if the tin-worker was coming.  From that industry, at any rate, old skill was “getting the push.”  And the wood-worker was going, or at any rate his ancient provincial skill was falling obsolete, … Continue reading

Posted in carpentry, traditional building | Leave a comment

The Anarchist’s Tool Chest

My first woodworking book was Audel’s Carpenter’s and Builder’s Guide 1922, volume 4, and it took me another thirty years to acquire the other three.  In high school shop class, the standard was Cabinetmaking and Millwork, Feirer and Hutchings, among the dullest books … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, furniture, traditional building | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Apprenticeship

I have just finished raising a timber frame on my own house, a second-story addition over an existing structure.  Part of the financing came through a grant from the Folklife Studies Program at ASU (Mike Luster), originating from the NEA. … Continue reading

Posted in architecture, carpentry, traditional building | Tagged , , | 1 Comment