Gin Poles

“A gin pole is a simple and traditional method for raising a timber frame by hand, and straightforward solution to a site with little crane access. It’s constructed from a long, straight pole with a block and tackle hanging from the top, and two guy lines (in our case, come-alongs) that help to counter the weight of the pole and the timbers, and locate the posts in their mortises.”

“Sometimes the oldest technologies provide the best solution for the job at hand. From wedges and ramps to pulleys, I am surprised at how right my physics teachers were about the ubiquity of simple machines. When applied purposefully, with careful consideration, these approaches can be safer, simpler and cheaper. While I appreciate the romance associated with historic contraptions, ultimately, romance is not the reason we employ them.”

Read more: I’ll take a gin pole, straight up, Preservation Timber Farming.

21st Century Craftsmen: Winne Clement, Flutemaker

winne clement

The fujara is a long 3-holed fipple flute played in standing position with the flute held close to the body. It’s played using the natural harmonics system, which means the different tones are played by controlling the strength of inblown air. Using only three holes, the diatonic major scale can be reached playing two and a half octaves. Due to the natural harmonics the tuning will always be a compromise, but Belgian flutemaker and musician Winne Clement puts a great deal of effort in tuning and balancing the tones, in such a way that playing together with Western tuned instruments is possible.

All his flutes are made of harvested branches of local inland wood such as ash, elder, maple, hazle, etc. The wood is carefully chosen and cut in winter time – with respect for the environment, not damaging the donating trees – and put to dry for a long period of time. When making the flute the wood is never split in half to hollow it out, but hand-drilled with special old forged drills, leaving the main structure of the wood intact, benefiting the sound, and following the natural curves of the wood. No Tech Magazine visits Winne Clement in his studio in Ghent, where he explains us his tools and methods. [Read more…]

Let’s Grow Some Furniture: Botanical Manufacturing

Botanical Manufacturing

“An ingenious British designer has come up with the ultimate environmentally-friendly way to create stunning household furniture – by letting Mother Nature do all the hard work. Gavin Munro grows young trees into specially-designed plastic moulds, pruning and guiding the branches into shape before grafting them together to form ultra-tough joints. Using this method he’s already created several prototype pieces and has a field in Derbyshire where he’s currently tending a crop of 400 tables, chairs and lampshades which he hopes to harvest next year.”

botanical manufacturing 4“You start by training and pruning young tree branches as they grow over specially made formers. At certain points we then graft them together so that the object grows in to one solid piece – I’m interested in the way this is like a kind of organic 3D printing that uses air, soil and sunshine as its source material. After it’s grown into the shape we want, we continue to care and nurture the tree as it thickens and matures before harvesting it in the Winter and then letting it season and dry.”

“Each of the pieces have grown from one tree, planted specifically for that reason, its limbs guided in an exact shape and later grafted together to produce the unique pieces of furniture, which he hopes are the pioneers of a new method of sustainable, efficient and ecologically aware production.”

See & Read more:

Via Unconsumption.

Japanese Joinery

japanese joinery“Japanese carpentry group Kobayashi Kenkou carefully demonstrates the fascinating way in which highly durable buildings are constructed with traditional methods of joining the wood with intricate cuts and interlocking plugs instead of metal nails. The fine planing and perfect fit of each interlocking piece of wood is a testament to the craftsmanship of the carpenters.”

See them in action. Via The Shelter Blog.

 

Smoke House for Fish

smoke house for fishsmoke house for fish 2

This traditional smoke house for fish, photographed in the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia, is made from a scrapped boat hull. Pictures by No Tech Magazine.

The Elegant Simplicity of Wood Repair

They could have replaced the full beam. They didn’t. Sound wood repair on a pontoon in Helsinki, Finland.
More pictures below the fold.

elegant wood repair 1

[Read more…]

The Making of a Foot Powered Treadle Lathe

chris builds lathe

“Hi everybody my name is Chris. I choose my woodworking projects based on whatever happens to inspire me”.

In this video, Chris builds a foot powered treadle lathe. Great project, great video.

Via Old Engineering.

Previously:

Solar Wood Drying Kiln

“Lumber is usually dried to a specific moisture content prior to further manufacturing or use. While lumber can be air-dried, the humidity in most localities prevents the lumber from reaching the moisture content required for the stability needed for interior use. The kiln discussed is designed to be inexpensive to construct and be simple to operate.”

solar wood drying kiln“The solar kiln described was designed, constructed, and tested at Virginia Tech. This design is based on 25 years of research and development on the solar drying of lumber in the United States and foreign countries. Drawings for two versions of this kiln are available; one for 800-1,000 bd ft and the other for 1,500-2,000 board feet of lumber. Both kilns will dry a load of lumber in approximately one month of moderately sunny weather at its location in Blacksburg, VA.”

“Drying lumber can be a complex process where accelerating drying without having quality loss often requires extensive knowledge and experience. The design of the Virginia Tech solar kiln is such that extensive knowledge, experience and control are not required. The size of the collector keeps the kiln from over-heating and causing checking and splitting of the wood. The kiln is simple to construct and utilizes a passive solar collector, four insulated walls and an insulated floor. The roof is made of clear, greenhouse rated, corrugated polyethylene.”

Virginia Tech Solar Kiln. Via Build It Solar.

Wooden Bicycle Rims

wooden bicycle rims

“They are hard to build with, they require regular maintenance, they are expensive and they flex a lot. However, if you want a traditional looking wheel, avoiding metal altogether is a marvellous move, something that we’re lucky to still be able to do today.”

Cerchio Ghisallo has been producing wooden rims since 1946, and in this video father and son show how they do it. Inside Cerchio Ghisallo part 1, part 2, part 3.

More about wood rims: Building with Wooden Rims / Cycling before Lycra / Wheel Fanatyk / Is Wood the Goods? / Wood Sprints /Cerchio Ghisallo / Sacro Bosco Bicycle works / CB Italia.

Picture: d’Annata by Sartoria Cicli.

Robin Wood, Bowlturner

robin wood bowlturner“The bowls created by Robin Wood’s reconstructed lathe have an unique finish, which is only found in bowls cut with a traditional pole lathe. The sharp tools leave a distinctive mark much like the lines found on thrown earthen ware or glass. The clean cut with the sharpened tools means that the objects are practical for everyday use. They can be washed with warm soapy water and will not fuzz up, unlike a bowl cut
on a machine lathe and later sanded smooth. Robin’s bowls and plates only improve with use and ware.”

“Of course making wooden table ware for a living means making thousands of items every year, which seems rather a tall order when you consider the technology being used, but Rob insists that his pole lathe can turn out wooden ware as quickly as the mechanised equivalent. This theory has been put to the test and proven correct. As Robin explains in the
film, when he’s powered up, so is his lathe and he can get results quickly. When he stops the lathe turning he can adjust the wood instantaneously, whereas when you power down a mechanical lathe you have to wait for the machine to slow down and stop turning in it’s own time.”

Any fool can make something more complex but it takes real genius to make things simple again“. A new video by Artisan Media. Robin Wood’s blog.

Via Toolemera. Previously: Make your own treadle lathe.