May 18, 2017

Dan's Workshop: Timber Joints

It's been awhile since I did an update on Dan's workshop, but it always seems to rain on weekends, so progress has been slow. Last time I told you about our piers versus footer debate and what Dan decided to do.  His next step was to begin fashioning the joints to hold the posts, beams, and girders in place.

Joinery is basically joining two pieces of wood together, and there are any ways to do this. Modern "joints" often use metal fasteners, traditional ones use cuts in the wood and wooden pegs. Techniques vary as well, from traditional to quick and easy, and anything in between. Here are a scattering of photos I took while Dan worked on them.

Mortise and Tenon

Tenons first for mortise and tenon joints

This tenon is at the top of a post.

The end of the tenon was measured and drawn on the underside of the beam.

Making the mortise.



For the first one he used the tools he had. It was extremely slow going, so we decided to invest in some proper timber chisels. He made the maul (mallet).


The process was much quicker and more efficient after that.


Corner chisel


Kneebraces

The kneebraces are completely non-traditional. Dan saw them on Youtube, utilized by someone in Europe who renovates old homes. They are simpler and quicker, which counts for a lot when time is at a premium.




Lap Joints

Made with the circular saw and chisel method.



I believe this one is a half-lap scarf joint. Scarf joints
connect lengths of lumber (in this case girders) lengthwise.

The last thing was to make the pegs to secure the joints.


Of course there has been an interested observer.

"Big Duck"

The next step is to start to put it all together. Upcoming weather forecasts are for hot, dry, and sunny, so that should mean good progress. I hope to have more to show you soon!

24 comments:

  1. Lovely craftsmanship, on Dan's behalf. It's great to see how you've turned a natural resource on the landscape, into a useful structure. Learning these new skills though, takes time - plus you have to work within the seasons.

    A challenge for certain, but worth pursuing nonetheless. Because the alternative is having to work with stock and trade materials, which you've already noted - aren't worth their stock and trade.

    When I do similar work at home, turning the natural resources into something useful, it feels liberating. Even with all the challenges. Because you experience the life cycle of those resources, and they add to your own story, happening on the landscape.

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    1. Well put, Chris! There is definitely something deeply satisfying about harvesting and crafting your own materials as well as building with them.

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  2. Lovely and hard craftsmanship. Good chisels I would imagine are a must because even fast, isn't really fast and time is after all the most precious of commodities.
    Love the non-traditional knee braces.

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    1. Theresa, the chisels were an excellent investment! The correct tools make a huge difference in both the work load and the outcome.

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  3. My other half will be so jealous when he sees this! But don't worry about slow progress... I've been waiting 7 years for our kitchen floor to be finished ;) I'm thinking that's got to be some sort of record somewhere!

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    1. 7 years for a kitchen floor! Yup, you've topped us on that one. :) But it seems most things take way longer than we hope they will.

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  4. Very Impressive! Tell Dan that he's definitely a craftsman & a darn good one at that.

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    1. I think so too, but he's more modest. :)

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  5. wow, so beautiful! he is very focused on precision and it looks good.

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    1. Thanks (on Dan's behalf :) A lot of time was spent in the research and planning. Once he got going it went along pretty quickly.

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  6. That Knee Brace is crazy smart! I am building a tractor shed this summer. It might help with the stability. I am interested to see what the weather will let you do!

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    1. Most knee braces seem to be mortise and tenon, although Dan says it also depends on time period. This one was quicker to make but still structurally sound, and that's the main thing.

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  7. Love to see true craftsmanship. Reminds me of my grandfathers work. Just watched a film on true log home construction in the 1830s. They were doing the same cuts and braces. In this crazy hectic messed-up world it is comforting to see true personal skills at work.

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    1. The skills have almost been lost and the pride in craftsmanship has certainly been lost. Modern manufacturing certainly doesn't create much to be proud of.

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  8. I always learn something new when I read your blog Leigh. New term , new technique, something. Time and lack of it, is the most frustrating deficit to a homesteader isn't it? Anyway, my kudos to Dan for the wood working. A fabulous job. Keith will be starting his new workshop this summer as well.

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    1. Time and lack of it, is indeed the most frustrating deficit in homesteading! I was just thinking that yesterday as I tried to prioritize my long to-do list.

      Will be glad to get the outbuildings done, and I'm sure you will too! Necessary "detours" that make things so much better in the long run.

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  9. Will be checking in to see what progress comes after this. I love to see projects of this nature come together. All the gates must of been closed or Big Duck most certainly would have been by a goat with zoning regs in hand. Good work Dan on the wood working!

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    1. Ha ha, critters always have an opinion. Usually they approve of anything that has to do with food. Otherwise they're just nosy. :)

      I've got two more workshop blog posts almost ready to go. I have to say this building project is the most exciting, especially since we're using mostly homestead lumber.

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  10. Love the photos and the "old fashioned" joinery. At one time, I thought I wanted to build a timber framed house using those techniques. I since switched my thoughts to another technique but I won't ever fall out of love of good old fashioned wood joints.

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    1. The techniques make lovely results, but they take a lot of time, which is something most folks don't have a lot of. Kind of sad to think the skills might eventually be lost, but it seems enough folks are interested to keep the techniques alive.

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  11. Hi Leigh! :) The progress looks great! Dan is so talented, I wish I had those skills myself. The way he's building seems so traditional to me, and I just love it. Thanks for sharing the photos, it gave me a gift idea for Alex. His grandpa was a carpenter and left him his set of beautiful chisels when he passed away. I think I'll buy him a corner chisel to go with the set, I'd never even heard of that but how handy are they? PS, wanted to belatedly thank you for the solar oven webinar, it was interesting! :)

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    1. Rain, glad you enjoyed the solar cooking webinar! I learned a lot too.

      How nice that Alex has his grandfather's chisels, that's a treasure. The corner chisel has really come in handy for Dan. Good tools are a good investment. :)

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