Monthly Archives: August 2011

The Wa of Hand Tools

“The Japanese word wa is a single kanji meaning ‘harmony; peace; peaceful.’ In common usage wa means ‘harmony’ as in being in harmony with one’s environment and it means “peaceful” as in being in a peaceful state of mind or feeling at peace.” ~Eri Takase

People keep asking me why would I use hand tools to cut this timber bed? It takes longer, involves more physical endurance, and the amount of precision necessary is astonishing.

My simple answer is the Japanese feeling of wa, or harmony, that I feel while working with hand tools. Continue reading The Wa of Hand Tools

Japanese Wedged Through Tenon

I really enjoyed this bed project, as I was able to take some of the aspects of Japanese timber joinery and adapt them to the smaller scale bed frame. Since training with Dale Brotherton, I’ve fallen in love with Japanese timber architecture, so it was a pleasure to craft a bed with this style as the inspiration.

The wedged through tenon shown here is part of the headboard of the bed. The “posts” of the headboard have tenons at the top that slot all the way through the mortises of the “beams”. Continue reading Japanese Wedged Through Tenon

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant hydronic floor heat is a heating system that runs hot water through tubing that is embedded in an earthen floor or a poured concrete floor. The heat from a hydronic floor radiates up into the furniture and the feet of the occupants, so the room feels comfortable even at lower operating temperatures. This photo shows a coloured concrete floor being poured.

In the book “Prescriptions For A Healthy House”, Paula Baker-Laporte, Erica Elliott, and John Banta recommend not using copper tubing, as was previously common, because it can conduct electromagnetic fields through the structure if it becomes charged anywhere along its route. Instead they list two types of odorless polyethylene tubing for use with hydronic floor heating systems. Continue reading Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant Floor Heat Tubing

Savings on utility bills and better indoor air quality are just two of the benefits of radiant floor heat systems. The heat from a radiant floor creates warmth that “radiates” into everything it touches – including furniture and your feet – making everything feel warm and cozy.

The radiant heat tubing for this project was laid 9″ apart, which will accommodate several heat source systems, including a heat pump for geo thermal or a boiler (electric or gas). You can also use the water jacket on a wood stove to heat the water in the tubing. The other advantage to having the tubing a little closer together is that there are no pronounced hot or cold spots in the floor. Continue reading Radiant Floor Heat Tubing

Exterior Clay Slip

After the baling was done, we shaped the walls using a large weed whacker for rough shaping and the Lancelot for fine detail shaping. Having the bale walls fairly smooth and plumb will make the plastering much easier later on.

It’s possible to achieve beautiful finish plaster on top of undulating bale walls, but it is a lot more work and uses a lot more plaster, which involves extra labour and cost. No one wants that. It’s much better to take the time to even out rough spots on the wall at this stage. Continue reading Exterior Clay Slip