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Status: log frame, box frame, cupola, wedding, new students, poetry

by on 19 Jun 2011

OK, no post planning this time, no segues, no grand themes, and a minimum of high flown philosophizing. Just the facts, ma’am.

Thursday was an interregnum, the second group of students having left that morning, their successors not due until the following morning. A quiet and productive day when the timber framers could go about their business without the demands of teaching and management. First thing Friday, with two dozen new students arriving, we did introductions to the people, the place and the various work and safety systems, then, in small groups, the students rotated through four work stations learning the ropes from a designated instructor at each. These tutorials were judged a success by all, and by the end of the day the new students were well integrated into the work, with production surprisingly high.

So here is where we stand at the end of our fourth week: The log wall crew has just finished fitting the fifth and last course of logs and joining in the dragon ties on the interior. All remaining logs are either hewn or well along in process. On Monday the log walls — which were built first upside down for ease of access to joinery — will be knocked down and reassembled right side up to receive the box frame on top.

The box frame is complete, save for the outshot struts and rafters which are in process and will be added once the frame is back together. Per the plan, the box frame — which was also laid up inverted – has now been disassembled and will be re-erected in its proper orientation. The top layer of the box frame plate has gone back together (right side up), to be marked for rafter notches.

The last roof truss is being finished and work has started on the ridge truss. It looks like the roof frame crew has two or three more days ahead of them. The cupola ribs are done and the cupola boards have arrived, been grooved for splines and are currently being hand planed by a revolving crew of mostly students to prepare them for fitting up in the cupola once the frame is assembled

Meanwhile our evenings have been full as well, including student art shows by group one and group two, Polish lessons at the Sosenki, the timber framers showing their work, an introduction to the Museum of the History of Polish Jews from Director Agnieszka Rudzińska and a fascinating presentation by archaeologist and Skansen director Jerzy Ginalski on prehistoric hill forts in Sanok.

Which brings us to tonight, movie night outside at the Sosenski featuring films of previous Handshouse projects. But first, while waiting for dark, it’s also pizza night with the prime entertainment axe throwing at a new custom target with geometric inspiration courtesy of Jordan Finch. There is a wedding reception in progress at the hotel and, gradually the wedding party  migrates over to join us,  axe throwing apparently an irresistible attraction. The groom just took a turn with the axe and now the bride is giving it a try, with a line of groomsmen and bridesmaids forming up behind.

Alas my camera shutter choses this moment to express its independence, resulting in missed opportunities. But I did catch a few shots. Many cameras were in evidence (as you can see)  and I will see if I can find more.

Elijah watches Jordan draw daisy wheels on the target of tessellated hexagons.

By the way, there were men throwing axes as well as women, these were just the pictures that my balky camera managed to get.

Barbara takes a shot

Laura lunges

A member of the wedding party goes high

   The groom gets a hit

And the bride gives it a shot

*     *     *

Recent wearings of the Poetry Hat featured Robert Frost’s Two Tramps in Mud Time, ee cummings i thank you God for most this amazing and Gary Snyder’s Axe Handles read respectively by Ed Levin, Jackson DuBois and Jordan Finch. We reprint the latter two offerings below.

i thank you God for most this amazing

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

—e.e. cummings

Axe Handles

One afternoon the last week in April
Showing Kai how to throw a hatchet
One-half turn and it sticks in a stump.
He recalls the hatchet-head
Without a handle, in the shop
And go gets it, and wants it for his own.
A broken-off axe handle behind the door
Is long enough for a hatchet,
We cut it to length and take it
With the hatchet head
And working hatchet, to the wood block.
There I begin to shape the old handle
With the hatchet, and the phrase
First learned from Ezra Pound
Rings in my ears!
“When making an axe handle
the pattern is not far off.”
And I say this to Kai
“Look:  We’ll shape the handle
By checking the handle
Of the axe we cut with—”
And he sees.  And I hear it again:
It’s in Lu Ji’s We Fu, fourth century
A.D. “Essay on Literature” – in the
Preface:  “In making the handle
Of an axe
By cutting wood with an axe
The model is indeed near at hand.”
My teacher Shih-hsiang Chen
Translated that and taught it years ago
And I see:  Pound was an axe,
Chen was an axe, I am an axe
And my son a handle, soon
To be shaping again, model
And tool, craft of culture,
How we go on.

—Gary Snyder

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