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Rescued Axe Head

I’ve been looking around for older hand tools at antique stores and personal sales, hoping I’ll find some gems that I can use for planing or timber framing. I have some of my grandpa’s hand tools that are still in excellent condition; these older tools were made to last.

I found this head for a log hewing axe in the summer. An older gentleman was selling some of his tools, and this was from an axe that he used for timber framing homes 30 years ago. For the price tag of $10, I couldn’t resist (these axes usually run about $350 to $400 new), and I have an idea about how I can bring it back to life.

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Timber Accent Porch

The owners of this new modular home wanted a timber look for their front porch, so they asked me to design and build an accent piece for their porch roof structure. They were really pleased when they saw it go up. It adds a timeless classic element, and the curves cut into the beam and the braces add a softer contrast to the straight lines of the house.

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New Wheels

I found a great replacement truck, and even with the step up to a 3/4 ton, I’m pleasantly surprised at how good the fuel mileage is with the diesel engine.

I’m excited to try running biodiesel. Apparently biodiesel tends to clean out the fuel tank, so I need to be ready with a new fuel filter in the truck in case I have to change it while I’m out and about. Watch for me in a white truck now!

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RIP Green Truck

Well, September ended with a bang — literally! I hit an elk on the highway on the way to a job site, and this is what happened to my reliable green work truck. Unfortunately, the elk faired far worse, although I understand that the meat from the elk went to the soup kitchen, which made me feel a bit better about such a magnificent animal losing its life.

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You’re Never Too Young (Or Too Old!)

Whenever someone says they are “too old” or “too young” for something, I wonder if the reason for it is really that they are afraid of failure or even afraid of success!

I have so much admiration for people who are open minded and willing to try something new – at any age. My daughter is not yet three, and there is no concept of “too young” for her.

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Young Protege

I love having my son around creating his own wood projects when I am in the shop. He has his own set of tools, and he finds scraps of wood in my recycle bin that fuel his imagination.

This is how I grew up — hanging around my dad’s shop while he worked on custom cabinetry orders. I didn’t realize until I started my own carpentry and timber framing business how much I picked up just by watching my dad and helping him here and there.

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Beam Detail Done With a Chain Saw

Okay, so it’s not carving, but I did have fun using the chain saw to create the detail work for these beams.

And I have started using an eco-friendly type of small engine gas that cuts down on exhaust emissions by an incredible amount. Running the chain saw now doesn’t stink and create a cloud of fumes. Apparently this gas is standard for small engines in Europe — and I can see why! Time for North America to catch up on this one. Check out: www.aspen.se (Select your country for English language.)

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Wizard Carving

Wow, hard to believe that it’s September already! I haven’t written a blog all summer, because I’ve been so busy with building projects. But I did get some new gouges for carving this year, as I am getting ready to do a very special project for a dear friend. So here is a fun little practice carving of a wizard in a funky hat. I love playing with using the tool marks to create a very unique “hand carved” look.

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Exterior Earthen Plaster

An exterior photo of the body coat of earthen plaster on the woodchip/clay walls, showing the smooth shaping of this coat of plaster on the second storey of the building. The final coat of plaster will be a finish colour coat.

The first storey was built with Durisol blocks. Durisol blocks are a brand of ICF (insulated concrete forms). They are cement bonded wood fibre blocks (similar in shape to cinder blocks), made of ground up post-consumer wood waste, portland cement and a non-compressible rot-proof insulation material such as mineral wool. The blocks are stacked, keeping the insulation part of the blocks to the exterior, and the hollow space that is biased to the interior of the building is filled with concrete to create a stable wall.

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Interior Woodchip Clay Wall

Here is the same project of earthen plaster on woodchip/clay walls. You can see these are interior walls, and the clay plaster is still in the process of drying.

Once the walls are dry, an amazing thing about using clay plaster is that it is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs excess moisture and releases it slowly, providing a more even moisture content in the air.

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