Last weekend I took a road trip with a couple of friends down to Leesburg, Virginia for the Timber Framer's Guild Eastern Conference. This is an annual event that brings together hundreds of timber framers, enthusiasts, and businesses for a weekend of learning and socializing. This was my first conference, and I was not disappointed. Not only was the venue very good, thought a bit confusing, but the entire event was everything that it is reported to be. Most importantly, incredibly fun and educational. I understand that in years past, this event has attracted upwards of 800 participants. This year's event was a relatively modest 200+ participants, but it still felt like quite the gathering to me.
I attended a number of lectures including Vicco Von Voss's presentations on joining natural edged timbers and theory of craftsmanship in furniture and timber frames. I also attended John Libby's presentation on the history of his company and some key pointers for running any business, but naturally geared toward timber frame companies.
|Mez Welch demonstrating hewing in the front yard of the conference center.|
Equally important and engaging were all of the hundreds of informal encounters I had at meals and in the halls, discussing anything from philosophy to the best joint under tension.
An entertaining aspect of the weekend was Fire Tower Engineering's joint buster, in which they tested several joints joining two pieces of wood orthogonally under tension. It was interesting to see, in real time, how much force it took to break various joints from butted and screwed timbers to finely cut mortise and tenons.
All in all, it was a really great weekend. Well worth the admission price and the 9 hour drive each way.
In other news, here's a before and after of the deck that I've been working on. This one is wrapped up and we're moving on to the next job.