Monday, September 26, 2011

TFG NE Gathering

 This past weekend was the Timber Frame Guild's North East Gathering.  It was hosted by Garland Mill in Lancaster, NH.  The venue was terrific, featuring a fully functioning water powered, belt driven mill that had saws for milling boards, milling the edges, and cutting to length.  The scenery was also incredibly beautiful, as you can see in the pictures.

Because my car is dead right now, I took a train into Boston and met up with my friend Emma and her dad, and we all drove up to Lancaster.  Saturday morning we were treated to a wonderful breakfast, including bagels cut on the shop's bandsaw.  The main events of the day were a talk presenting load considerations when designing a timber frame structure, followed by either scribing a small trailside shelter or a guided tour or a historic barn nearby.  I decided to stick around for the scribing workshop, which began with mapping out a scribing floor.

At the Chester bridge project that I worked on, we did not use a scribing floor or any other similar locating techniques, instead measuring diagonals and pulling off of reference points to locate our timbers in the lay-ups.  In this case, however, we had the luxury of a scribing floor built before hand.  This floor is level and flat, and has the full scale blue print for the East bent drawn onto it using points and chalk lines.  Using this floor, putting the timbers into position is quick and easy.  All that needs to be done is line the timbers up over the lines on the floor using plumb lines, no math or checking diagonals or anything else necessary. 

Another bent was laid-up in the workshop at the mill, with a map drawn on the floor in there.

 Because I was traveling by train, I had to keep my toolkit fairly small and light, as well as innocuous.  I assembled what I believe to be a fairly comprehensive but compact kit.  It all fits in a zipped bag that came with a Craftsman reciprocating saw.

I'm missing a couple of tools in my kit.  I still need a good plumb.  This past weekend I ended up using a rock tied to a string.  It worked, but it wasn't ideal.  I would also like to get a pair of trammel points, as it could make scribing a small amount faster.  It would be nice to have a chalk line or two in addition to my ink line.

With very few additions to this tool kit, I could build anything from a dovetailed box with a frame and panel lid to a house, given some time.  The biggest trick would be working out solid holding methods for working smaller pieces without a workbench (as is necessary if traveling with a toolkit).  Toshio Odate's book on Japanese Tools and Their Use helps to solve this issue.

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