Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Montreal.
 I spent this last weekend in Montreal with a couple of good friends, it's about a 6 hour drive north of here.  I saw a couple of interesting things woodworking-wise, and some plain old interesting things.  I was a bit surprised to see just how French the city and surrounding areas is.  Outside of restaurant menus in the touristy areas and some select safety messages, just about all of the signage etc is in French.  Everyone that we interacted with was very polite and helpful.  A funny thing was when you approach someone, they greet with "bonjour!", and depending on whether you reply in kind or in English they either speak to you in French or English.  At first we tried to play it cool and reply with "Bonjour", but then we just looked stupid shaking our heads and trying to politely express that we didn't know French.

Ah the Schtroumpfs, also known stateside as the Smurfs.  Interesting translation.

Interesting architecture.

The French Pirates, quite good.

Dovetails hidden by molding.
While there, we visited the archeological museum, which was interesting if a bit of propaganda for how great the city is.  The museum was built on the foundation of a historical building, maintaining the foundation in the basement.  Some interesting construction details, including the wood pillars buried in the ground beneath the tall tower, a technique apparently used effectively in Venice to stabilize buildings in unsound soil.  The wood rotted, though, and the tower had to come down.  In the basement, the wood pillars are exposed, in all their rotted glory.  On at least one of them I saw what appeared to be hewing marks, though the beams appeared to be extremely regular (perhaps more regular than I might expect from hand hewn timber).  I suppose a skilled axeman could efficiently produce a near-perfect timber, so it's not unlikely that these were entirely hand hewn.  In one corner there was also a kid's play area, which had a costume chest like a simple blanket chest or tool chest, with nice hand cut dovetails in the corners, and staggered glue joints.  There was also a cupboard sort of thing, with dovetails covered with moldings.

Drawbored mortise and tenon in a cabinet door.

Blanket chest (or tool chest?)


Hand hewn?
 Overall we had a great weekend and really enjoyed the city.  I could see myself enjoying getting to know it a bit better in the future, it would be nice to find some of the places off the beaten path.  We also didn't make it to the Mont Royal park, which is supposed to be very nice.  Next time I go, I'm definitely going to bring my bike.  Though the Metro was very simple and effective, I like the freedom of having wheels, and the city is very bike friendly besides.

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