This is what I’m currently working on. It’s the first of several images James neglected to mention appear in the second appendix of the book. I just got them last Friday and started this that afternoon. I’ve put quite a few hours into it already, and I’m probably only about half done (if I’m lucky). It’s pretty difficult to wrap my head around how to make this look realistic, and not like it’s modeled in 3d on a computer.
The finished version won’t have all the dark colours (those are just because I was playing), and will hopefully look perfect when it’s scaled down to fit the text. It’s supposed to look like the image below, and give people an idea of what wood looks like on a cellular level.
I should be done it later tonight, but right now I’m being lazy and watching Enterprise. I was supposed to be getting wood, but it looks like I’ll have to do that another night. I’ve tried calling the person I’m supposed to meet about 30 times today, and now I’m giving up.
Once I finish all these images, there is just a few corrections to make to one drawing, then some minor layout adjustments, followed by some photo spreads and finally a revised cover. Ir’s getting closer and closer, but when I break it all down like that it sounds like a lot to do.
The other day I got excited when I saw an envelope sticking out of the mailbox on my way back from walking over to get a coffee. I have been expecting a package for a few days from my friend Ryan. I had lent him my PS3 headset while our PS3 was broken, then after repeatedly forgetting to grab it from him while in Toronto, he offered to mail it to me at Holly’s. I was really looking forward to killing some zombies with Jeff and not having to hold the phone at the same time, but I was mistaken – it was an envelope from the Timber Framer’s Guild. Equally exciting, but for different reasons.
I had spoken with the guild administrator a short time ago and then forgot I was now going to be receiving regular guild publications. When I saw what it was, I was thrilled to have a reason to sit outside and read in the sun. I opened it up and was pleased to see the two latest issues of Timber Framing and Scantlings, as well as this nice little note from someone important at the guild.
I look forward to reading all the stuff I’ve missed, and I hope once I have money I can check out some of the guild conferences. Or maybe James will spring for me to attend and promote the book and school!
My new collection of old chisels!
After our incredibly long day Friday, we came home and Mary and Brandie came by to hang out. Mary came by with presents (as she often does) in the form of antique chisels. Some are pretty beat up, but I figure that gives me a great chance to practice sharpening. Some of them are completely homemade (one is clearly an old triangular file someone took a grinder to) which makes me want to find out how well they work, and possibly make some myself.
I really want to get some wood and build something. I’d love to get building that shed I designed for my dad (that he hated) now that I have all these tools. I think I will take another look at the plans I made and create a materials list and estimate cost of materials.
I don’t think it would take me long to build, but it could cost quite a bit for the lumber. I also need to find out about permits, and figure out a way of avoiding having to get one.
The other day Mary came by and brought me some new tools (new to me) she found in her parent’s antique shop. I had asked her to put aside anything she might come across that looked like it could be in that book she gave me, and said I mostly wanted axes, drawknives, chisels, slicks and most of all a boring machine.
She asked her dad about the machine and he said he had the chassis for one, but no handle assembly. Luckily for me, he was mistaken. Mary found the complete machine, and it works awesome. It’s missing auger bits, but I might have a few I can use. I really wish I had something to make right now so I could use it, or even a scrap timber so I could practice with it.
Mary also found me some other highly useful antique tools, including: a hollow shave, a chamfer knife, and a drawknife. All of them need some work before I can use them, but I look forward to sharpening and oiling them and seeing how well of a job I do, and then how well of a job they do.
I wish I lived in the woods. I’d go chop a tree right now and start building. Maybe instead I’ll go steal something already chopped at the Gorge later.
The other day my friend Mary came by and brought me a book she found. Her parents own an antique store and she helps them sell stuff on ebay. Sometimes she finds things she knows I’ll love, so she brings them to me. I have been carrying this book with me ever since she brought it over, spending any spare moments looking at the images and reading it over and over.
It’s not a very long book (110 pages), but there is tons of great information on historical tools, their uses, and their creators. It also talks a lot about the connection between a craftsman and his tools (and more specifically their handles), and how these days most tools and their handles are made from plastic and cheap metals, designed to get jobs done quickly – not well.
It also talks about how timber and log building styles are superior methods to modern stick framing (balloon or platform), not only because of the lasting craftsmanship but also because of the pride and effort that went into them.
Here’s one of my favourite quotes from the text regarding the difference between framing methods:
“A building pinned together with hand whittled wooden pegs? We don’t have to do that sort of thing today! But if we built for lastingness and for handing down to future generations we would do so, for wooden pins work much better than nails: they hold tighter, they don’t rust or rot the beams.”
The book also illustrates some different methods of making log notches, some of which I have never seen but would like to try.
The main focus of the book seems to be attempting to convince craftsmen to revert back to the ways of their forefathers, blaming modern society and mass production (as well as the laziness of man) for shifting the goal of most trades from creating beautiful, long lasting things, to making money as easy as possible.
“How poor and dishonest and ugly and temporary are the results of so many modern workers whose constant aim is more to make the most money from their profession instead of producing the most honest and beautiful and lasting things.”
I couldn’t agree more.
I find it weird that I share a lot of the same opinions at 29 – in 2010, as this 70 year old man had in 1963. I guess no one listened to him, because I feel everything has gotten worse than what he describes in the text, and craftsmen are getting further and further removed from their creations.
I wonder what episodes of Antique Roadshow will be like in the year 3000.
The book is titled A Museum of Early American Tools by Eric Sloane. There is a sample of it here on google books.
I got zero drawings complete today, but I did get a ton of work done on about three or four different ones simultaneously. The ones I’m on now are all the harder ones. Some aren’t that hard, but they are a lot of work, and are usually pretty hard on my machine, which slows the whole process and frustrates me. I normally prefer to work on one drawing at a time, but since James has limited time for me it’s better to do one to the point where I can’t proceed without talking to him, then moving on to another one (or two) until I have time at either lunch or the end of the day to ask him questions regarding all of them.
It worked out okay today since I had to model a bunch of little random things that are included in the remaining drawings. Mostly just stupid things like kickers, strong backs, and a spreader bar (funny story – I did a google image search to find out what spreader bars commonly look like, and I got a bunch of images of people using wheelchair hoists to get on the toilet… I kind of wanted to model one for a joke and put it in the drawing and show James then act like I didn’t realize that wasn’t what he meant), but I also modeled a sweet come-along.
You’re probably thinking “Are you serious? that’s sweet?”, and the answer is yes. It’s DEADLY. I showed it to Zack and he said “Oh my god, that thing is awesome!” Then I showed it to James tonight because we were discussing the drawing the come-alongs appear in, and his reaction was “You made that!? Wow!”. So there you go. Both a 58 year old man, and an 18 year old kid agree I’m “the shit” when it comes to modeling come-alongs, which will appear about the size of a fingernail clipping in the actual drawing.
I also did some rough drawings for a shirt for the school. People were asking for log shirts, which does make sense considering a lot of people take just one of the courses, and would ideally want to buy a shirt with a frame they built on it. So James and I were talking about it tonight, and he asked me to try a couple things, if it wasn’t too much work. I didn’t really feel like getting back to work after we talked, so I just made a few quick designs. I prefer the colour one, but I imagine it will only be one colour on a shirt.
Tomorrow is James’ birthday, so maybe I’ll print these off for him and write happy birthday on them.
I setup the new router today too, and it’s working sweet. I’m going to try and finish getting Deadwood finally. I’m tired of everything I have here, and when I’m eating I like watch something. I’m killing It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Tomorrow is Holly’s busy day, so we won’t get to talk much until later on. I hate days like that. I want nothing more than to be back there and hanging out with her, waking up beside her, doing fun things with her. I was going to talk to James about booking a flight today, but I think I might continue to wait. I don’t know how he’s going to react at all. Maybe I’ll wait until we’ve had a few beers one night. Maybe I’ll get him beers for his birthday, then ask him…
This morning I chatted with Holly for a moment before heading down to the yard to play cameraman, while the new log jig got erected. It went up pretty easily, and it looks awesome (aside from the colour scheme). This model has a ton of improvements from the original prototype, but I doubt all work as good as they should in theory. We won’t find out until the students go to use it next week, although I have been suggesting to James that we try it tomorrow just for fun.
After it was all setup and we shared a few celebratory smokes, I came back up here and talked to Holly until it was time for her to leave work. I made pizza, and then got to work on a drawing. I managed to get two done today, and then I finally got a chance to sit down with James and look over these elevation drawings I did for his house. First thing in the morning (second thing technically, rolling a joint is usually first thing) I will spend a few minutes getting those elevations labeled and converted, then I need to print some drawings for James (I haven’t printed him anything since a few days before I left for Ontario) and clean my room.
I think I’m going to go to bed now (or try to at least) and hopefully feel well rested in the morning.
I need to finish this fucking book, because I’m missing out on all kinds of time I could be spending next to this piece of perfection. I have sufficient motivation, I just need to find a way to work faster. I wish I could just come back to her now, and finish the book from there, but I know it will go faster and easier if I’m here. I thought I’d want to stay here as long as I could, but all I want is to get some Holly time.
Today was Canada Day, and all kinds of people were partying all over the island. When I got up this morning, I went to the school to see James, and touch base with him since I’d been off the island and without Internet for a week. After touring around with him and getting a new assignment that is going to be a bitch to figure out, I came back to David’s and hung out with Holly for a bit.
We got hungry and went for lunch at Harvest Thyme again, then we drove down to Brickyard Beach to watch all kinds of people shoot homemade potato cannons into the ocean. It was pretty impressive how many people were there partying. Every time the cannons fired – whether it flew 5 feet, or five hundred – the entire crowd clapped and cheered like it was the most amazing thing they had ever seen. It’s funny to me that a bunch of fairly rich people gather together to shoot potatoes into the ocean using PVC pipe and a BBQ lighter.
We stuck around for maybe a half hour, and then I met a nice dog who had the coolest looking eyes. His name was Kita. His owner was nice, and let me take a couple pictures of him. I keep wanting a dog. After hanging out with Honey so much in the last little while, I keep thinking how nice it would be to have a pooch to hang out with me all day.
Especially one with eyes like this!
Later on, Holly and I went and toured the school. I showed her the building we just made, and the ones that other guys had made over the years, then we wandered over to James’ new lot. Everyone was there enjoying a celebratory beer after a long day of stacking stones. I introduced Holly to everyone, then showed her the huge waterfall James had dug while he was excavating. We headed back to the school, stopped a moment to pick some cherries, then toured the classroom. Eventually James came back from his new lot and gave Holly and I a walk through his current home. I love it, and I’m pretty sure Holly did too, so now all I have to do is design and build one similar. Should be simple.
It’s now 4:20 am, so I think I’ll go hit my joint a couple times and then try and sleep a bit.
Friday night, after we finished erecting our log house, we all went home and got cleaned up, then went back to James’ house for dinner and a tour. Naomi made focaccia bread, lasagna, caesar salad, and a couple apple rhubarb pies. It was the first home cooked meal I’d had in a while, and I ate more than I ever thought I could. I also surprised myself and drank 3 glasses of wine. It wasn’t very good, but it was free.
James’ house was amazing. We got the full tour, and it gave me a million ideas for a home I’d like to build. I asked James if he’d mind me bringing Holly to show her the house, so she can see what I like about it, and I can see what her reaction is to it. Hopefully she loves it, and then tells me to build her one.
After the tour, we all sat and listened while James said some nice words about us as a group, and then he said a little something about each person individually as he handed out the course completion certificates. Out of all 9 of us who were there, I was the only guy who didn’t get any sort of ovation. Everyone else got clapping, and nice comments (even the Croatian who made everyone’s life a little harder the whole month, and who wasn’t even there because he left earlier in the day). I got nothing, but that’s ok. I get to be James’ personal draftsman while I’m here, and that makes me proud, even if it doesn’t earn me any cheers from the others.
After dinner, we all gathered around the new pool table James bought for the student residence, and watched as he cleaned house. After winning a half dozen games in a row, he passed his cue to Alex, and then just disappeared. I attempted to play my first game of pool in years (we had a table for years when I was a kid, and I was actually fairly decent at pool once) against Ryan, and lost by scratching on the 8-ball. Shortly after that I took everyone out to smoke a joint and then we all headed home.
My plan for Saturday was to get to Nanaimo to meet Dave, then come hang out in Victoria with him for a few days. After a whole lot of confusion and a couple missed ferries by each of us, we finally got to Victoria late Saturday night. We went to see the latest person Dave’s sister is living with, that he wants to kill (seems like there’s always at least one), and pick up Honey. Then I got some Sarpino’s!!!Â I love their pizza, and I love the old Italian people who run that place.
So now the plan is to move Dave back to the mainland on Wednesday or Thursday. Until then, he and I both have a shit load of work to get done. I need to finish these first two sections of James’ book, and then the patent application drawings for the jig I’m helping them design, and Dave has a ton of aerial photographs he has to interpret before he goes out in the field next month.
It should be a good time, but all I’m really looking forward to right now, is getting to hang out with Holly all next week. Come on Saturday!