Category Archives: traditional building

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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