Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Barter System

I am not a brick layer. I can't believe I even considered laying the brick on this shop but I found a way out. Bill's friend Larry King (not the old one with suspenders) is a very experienced and talented brick layer. Larry is also having a baby in December and needed a rocking chair for the baby room. I make chairs, Larry lays brick. Problem solved. Bill and Larry layed all 1500 brick on Sunday while I was finishing up the Craft show in Nashville. I hated to miss the fun but the two of them looked as if they had just climbed Everest. It was a long day and Larry had to drive back to Indiana to be at work the next morning by 6 am. My hats off to both of those guys who did a fantastic job. I hope Larry will like the rocking chair.

The brick is called "Jefferson Wade Tudor". It's a tumbled brick made to look old. The mortor is a buff color which gives a period look to the brick. They didn't have gray mortor in this area back in the 18th century so this should fit the decor of this shop.

I have many things to do in the next few weeks that will keep any work from being done on the shop. I have many chairs to make as well as other pieces. Soon I will return to Elberfeld with Bill to cut more timber. We have an awesome white oak to take down that died last spring as well as other logs to saw for the new shop walls and loft. I will post on this later.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Time Lapse

Here is the short video that Shawn Lance did of the barn raising. He is still editing the complete barn raising program. Thanks once again to all who helped.

I will be headed to the TACA fall craft fair in Nashville this weekend to show my chairs and talk to interested woodworkers. It's a long 3 days but I always enjoy the connection with the people. Looks like rain will be a part of this outdoor show so wish us all luck.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Closing In

Well the roof is finally done and in good time. The rains have set in thanks to a stubborn low pressure system stuck in Texas pumping moisture right into middle Tennessee. I still have the "Snorkel" machine which allows me to take some good pictures of the roof from 50 feet in the air. I started closing in the eaves with the same system of rough sawn planks, black felt paper, rigid insulation, and OSB. I rough framed for the window which is kind of a guess right now. My windows were donated from Carl Kowalski from Northern Indiana. These windows are from the late 20's and are beautiful leaded paned glass. I will have to build the frames for each window which is why the framing is a guess. More on the windows later.

I am trying to get all the things done up high while I still have the lift machine. It goes back on Saturday. I could use it another week but it's too expensive.

Shawn is still working on the video program on the barn raising. It will air on local channel 3 after he completes all the editing. Shawn is very talented at what he does and I am so grateful for his interest in documenting this process.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


The Snorkle is a 4-wheel drive machine that lifts 50' in the air with a basket where you operate it. After a while I got comfortable navigating the snorkle around the new shop trying to beat the rain finishing the roof. By Sunday night I had one side complete except the shingles. Here are some photos of the 2'' rigid insulation and OSB sheathing going on. The insulation is taped together and wraps the roof like a thermos for a very tight structure. No rafters will interupt the insulation like conventional stick framing.

The dining room table is coming along great. It's so nice to get back to doing what I really enjoy. Don't get me wrong, I have loved every minute working on this shop but I could not keep up that pace full time.

After sanding the curly maple top I sharpened my card scrapers and put the final finish on. The photos show how slick the surface is after scraping.I pull the scraper toward me at a skewed angle which leaves these curled up shavings. The scraper is tuned pretty good but I re-sharpen often. The curl really stands out after scraping away all the scratches left by the sandpaper. This is important because the water based dye will show every scratch but will also make the curl pop.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Much Needed Space

Many people have asked why I'm building a new shop. Well as you can see in the photo of the table base I am at my limit of space. Also the concrete floor is cold and hard to stand on all day. The windows and lighting are insufficient. But most of all it just ain't cool working in a space made for a car. I joke with people sometimes and ask them why they park their car in their woodshop. Most people have at least a two bay woodshop attached to their home and don't use it.

Speaking of space, I just returned from Illinois with a maxed out load of 2'' rigid foam insulation to insulate the timber frame shop. I found this place in Sullivan, Illinois on the internet that sells factory seconds for 1/3 the cost of new. I saved about $1200 so yes, it was worth the 8 hour drive round trip. If you need insulation for a pole barn or whatever his web site can be found here http://www.insulationfactoryseconds.com/ .

Next week I am going to rent a 50' knuckle boom lift to safely get this roof done on the shop. I still lack some rough sawn boards on the back side then roofing paper to hide the silver insulation froim being seen from the inside. Then I'll add the 2'' rigid foam insulation topped off with 7/16 OSB. At that point I'll be ready for the roof shingles. I'll post on this later. Wish me luck.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Barn Raising Part 2

I thought I would add some more photos from the barn raising day to show some of the process we used to get this thing together. Everything seemed to go right up with ease. Everyone was in sync and performed as if they had been to many barn raisings. So much for worrying about the weight of red oak timbers. These guys could have done anything that day and I haven't even fed them yet.

I like this picture of us moving the gyn pole into position. It reminds me of the Marines at Iwo Jima. The gyn pole was 18' tall with a fork at the top to hold the block and tackle. We used it to raise the top plates on to the bents. It worked very well and the price was right too. Who needs a crane?

This was the point when setting the top plates that I was sure something would not go together but it did. With 44 mortise and tenon joints that were cut weeks apart from each other I must have been lucky.

On the last top plate we had to pull the rope through the door of the pole barn. Something just seemed very funny about this but it worked.
Overall it was a great day with perfect weather, great food, and the best volunteers. Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard. I have been truly blessed.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wrap it Up Tight

How do you finish the outside of a timber frame structure? I hate to cover the beautiful timbers but the weather says I must. If I used 2x4 studs framed between the post I would lose sight of the interior timbers to interior walls. The best way to insulate a timber frame is by adding all the layers outside of the frame itself. I will start by nailing 4/4 rough sawn oak to the roof and exterior walls. Then a layer of black roofing felt followed by 2" rigid foam insulation. Then a layer of plywood sheathing followed by siding and roof shingles. The interior of the timber frame remains fully exposed and the insulation is not broken up by 2x4 studed walls which gives a better R-value. So all I will see inside is oak walls and timbers. The exterior will have lapp siding with a brick base. With the windows and shutters it will look like an old colonial house.

O.K. maybe I am getting too far ahead here. I purchased a Woodmizer sawmill back in 2006 after a tornado devastated my area. I had access to lots of timber that the city would have piled and burned. I cut lots of 4/4 oak and stickered it away in the pole barn. I have thousands of board feet of this stuff and finally have a use for it. It took a little over a thousand board feet to cover the roof. I still have to do the walls but I am still working on the placement of windows and doors. I have to add some 4x4 posts where the windows and doors will be then I will add the horizontal 4/4 boards. Sounds like a lot of work because it is. I am having the time of my life building this shop but it's nice to get back to furniture making. The rest of the week will be devoted to a curly maple dining table.