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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Japanese Pergola

To show something a little different at this year’s Home & Lifestyle Expo in Castlegar, British Columbia, I decided to frame a Japanese style timber pergola. The front of the frame was inspired by Japanese Torii Gates, which mark the entrance to Shinto shrines and indicate that you have entered a holy place where the spirits are more likely to hear your prayers.

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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.

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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”.

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The Bales Arrive!

An exciting day when the bales arrive…. now to stack them under cover!

An advantage to having the roof built on a timber structure before the bales arrive is knowing that the straw will be protected from the weather. This roof was designed to have 3′ overhangs to keep driving rain and snow off the straw bale walls once they are stacked and plastered.

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