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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #27826 12/22/11 01:52 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hello everyone tonight:

Had quite a day today, and a strange one indeed, I volunteered to help my wife finish up wrapping gifts, and I got to wrap a rather large one out in the garage

Well she handed me 3 partial rolls from a box of many partial rolls, and to my surprise the first roll had only a small piece which I laid aside, I unrolled the second roll and it covered exactly both ends and one side, the fourth one had just exactly enough to do the other side, while the small piece covered exactly the top---this is the first gift I ever wrapped that did not reqire even a little trim--now isn't that wierd or what!

Maybe you all might have some similar strange happenings that you might like to share with everyone, I sure would like to hear them

As I said above this is the time for story telling

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #27827 12/22/11 08:56 AM
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Ken Hume Offline
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Hi Richard,

A few years ago my son visted Len Brackett in California. Before leaving Len gave him a small offcut of incencse cedar typical of what he uses in making his Japaense style frames. When my son eventually arrived back home he gave me the planed all round offcut which after much sampling of it's beautifully fragrant arome I placed upon a window sill in the workshop alongside a piece of Western Red cedar. I noticed that the cross sections of both samples were absolutely identical being approx 4" x 4" x 9" and then stood them on end to compare length which was also absolutely identical. I often wonder about the statistical chances of such an occurance ?

Have a nice Christmas and New Year and please post another excellent story on Christmas eve that I can open and read on Christmas day whilst waiting for the turkey to arrive !

Regards

Ken Hume

Last edited by Ken Hume; 12/22/11 08:58 AM.

Looking back to see the way ahead !
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Ken Hume] #27829 12/22/11 06:26 PM
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D L Bahler Offline
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This topic of wood heating sparks my interest.
I am convinced that wood heating could be the best method available to us. The only problem is that we don't tend to apply the same principles of efficiency toward wood heat that we do toward more expensive sources of energy like gas, electricity, or oil. Although that seems to be on the change.
And then there is the problem that you have to keep adding wood to your wood burner...
But you know what, the solution to both of these problems was, at least in part, found hundreds of years ago. I suggest you all look into masonry wood ovens, particularly the south-germanic variation of the Kacheloffen. The principle here is that you have a masonry firebox which can withstand tremendous heat -as wood burns, it releases a bunch of volatile compounds as smoke -these include tars, methane, hydrogen, and CO. In a steel firebox, these will go up in smoke (quite literally!). However, in a masonry oven you can get the fire hot enough that these compounds will also ignite. This means your wood is burned much much more efficiently. The key is to have a fire over I believe it is 1400 degrees F. This heat would destroy the integrity of steel.

Then the oven is built in such a way that the fire's heat is absorbed and slowly released into the room. You can have 1 or 2 hot fires in a day, no need for a constant burn. The outside surface of such a stove is generally only warm to the touch, with temperatures not above 130 degrees. It is common in the south for benches to be built on the side of these and used for tables in the winter time.
And last, the exhaust snakes around through a maze of masonry, where almost all of its heat is absorbed to be diffused into the house. The exhaust out of the chimney is only slightly warm, consisting mostly of condensed steam.
These factors put together make these things tremendously efficient and incredibly safe. The only way one could start a house fire off of one of these is out of sheer stupidity (the firebox is completely enclosed and sealed)

I like to live a life where I know I can feed and shelter myself if I have to. I prefer to use methods that don't require this ridiculous infrastructure to use. I look at our country right now, and realize that this luxury we have been afforded can't last much longer. That's the number one reason why here lately I have spent all of my money acquiring a diverse collection of hand tools. My table saw hardly gets used any more.


Was de eine ilüchtet isch für angeri villech nid so klar.
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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: D L Bahler] #27831 12/22/11 08:29 PM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hi ken and DL

Thanks for coming on board with both those threads--Ken --I know how you feel, you just stand there and wonder, I believe that things do happen in life from time to time that are unexplainable or at least hard to explain--I was demonstrating hewing back a few moons ago and a older lady came up to me and just kept staring not saying nothing, so I stopped work and asked her if she needed to ask me a question--she replied in amazment that I looked exactly like her son--and she said I mean exactly!--she continued to stare as she walked away--it sure gave me the shivers--they say everyone has a double in the world, I must have been his double.

DL--How right you are--they have improved wood burning stoves but stopped short of perfecting the perfect model--I am sure that could easily be done in this world--When you talk about your masonary stove I think back to the large bake oven at UCV that holds 100 loaves of bread--it is so easily heated with a couple of armfuls of cedar, and can then bake easily the many trays of bread,--as you say the heat is absorbed by the interior lining of soft masonary bricks, which after firing release the heat gently to do the baking.--This bee hive shaped oven is about 24" in thickness, the interior layers of brick are covered with sand to retain the heat that is eventually released.

I had the good fortune to be in charge of the restoration of this oven to replace the brick lining which at that time was about 30 years old. The historic mason I had working for me was from Belgium--Fred Arens-- a nicer man you would not meet, and on top of that he was a top notch tradesman--what a treat to watch him lay up the curved surface of the oven's ceiling, and place the key brick at the top, He also installed the curved arches of the mill races entrances and exits, at the grist mill during the mill's reconstruction in 1984

Well thanks for coming on board

I hope all enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #27842 12/24/11 01:53 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Well hello everyone tonight

Just for a clarification to my note above on the reconstruction of the Bake oven--We used a light wood frame that supported the bricks in the curved ceiling of the oven, it was on this that Fred laid the bricks around and around until he reached the centre point of the curved ceiling, it was at this point that he inserted the key shaped brick, that would keep the ceiling from collapsing once the wood frame was removed.

We just started a fire to consume the wood frame after all thelayers of bricks were all laid, if my mind serves me well I believe that there was 6 layers of brick all together, and then about 1.5 cu yds of sand on top to insulate it well

We tried to burn it out slowly to not over heat the brick by closing and choking the cast iron entrance door leading into the oven's interior restricting the admission of combustible air

Fred said that in Belgium where he was from another system was to use wet sand and shape the curvature of the oven's ceiling and then scoop the sand out afterwards

anyway got to go

enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #27843 12/24/11 09:30 AM
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Hi Richard,

In England brick bread ovens formed an integral part or were added onto the massive inglenook fireplaces that became popular in houses after the demise of the open hall. The oven door opening was positioned inside the large fireplace. The oven did not have its own flue so instead once the fire was lit all the smoke and flames exited through the loading door into the inglenook fireplace then up the main chimney flue. Once the oven had been burned and heated up to a temperature sufficient for baking then the ashes were quickly raked out into the fireplace below the oven without fear of setting anything alight or causing smoke in the room. The one difference that I note is that many of these English ovens did not have a metal door since metal is a very good heat conductor which would have quickly cooled the oven, instead they had a simple wooden door that was lifted into place to block the oven during the baking process. Understandably very few of these old wooden shutter type doors have survived.

I have pictures of this type of oven if only I could figure out how to post them. I note that some of the free picture posting website are now arramged such that it's no longer possible to create a single picture URL and instead now feature a picture show folder. How do we overcome this problem ?

Regards

Ken Hume


Looking back to see the way ahead !
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: Ken Hume] #27844 12/24/11 08:00 PM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hello everyone tonight

Thanks for coming in on this thread Ken--that is very interesting --I can't say that enything like this has shown up here in any of my researching, the closest thing that we have is a fire place and small oven combination, that has a flue for the ashes running down to the fireplace after heating. The oven was off to the side and above the level of the main fireplace's floor, but was an integral part of the masonary construction of the large fire place itself. The opening for the oven was on the same face of the wall as the fireplace.

In the Louck's house at UCV the summer kitchen had an early wood stove that stood right behind the exterior back wall of the fireplace and the smoke pipe feed into the main chimney flue

NH

Last edited by northern hewer; 12/24/11 08:01 PM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #27845 12/27/11 08:15 PM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Well hello everyone tonight

Here we are coasting to a new year, in places on the globe that I am sure means new hope--they sure need it from what I can see and hear

The world seems so small now with modern communications--new technology travelled so slowly back 150 to 200 years ago, new ideas of construction took generations to catch on and then it sometimes relied on the spead of new hardware ideas, and the means of production.


chainsaws came out around here in the late fifties and sixties, right when the burning of wood was winding down, I am surprised that trains have survived like they have, but I expect their demise is just around the corner

anyway Happy New year to all I sincerely hope that better things are in store for all you guys in the timberframe and log home building industry--you have came through some difficult times
And to everyone else I hope that the economy straightens up

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #27846 12/27/11 09:52 PM
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D L Bahler Offline
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In the land of my people, folks were rather poor for a very long time. They did not have many resources in their mountains, and so they had to work very hard to live. For centuries their lands were cut off from the outside world due to their geography. So these people were frugal -and also skeptical of advancement and foreign innovations. Their lack of money meant that they did not take part in the industrialization of Europe. Instead they watched with great skepticism as the machine slowly devoured the cultures of their neighbors.
In our homeland, change always happens very very slowly, still today like it was n other places 150 years or more ago. New ideas of construction, for example, never come because they have no reason to think they might be better than their old ways -they have been building houses in a very similar way for 700 years.
After the World Wars, our homeland for the first time enjoyed a status of wealth (which it has never since lost, today having the strongest economy in the world) But even though now they could afford the luxuries and machines that make life so much easier, they for the most part to this day choose not to. They saw what it did to the rest of the Western world...


Was de eine ilüchtet isch für angeri villech nid so klar.
http://riegelbau.wordpress.com/
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: D L Bahler] #27847 12/28/11 04:17 PM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hello everyone tonight

Thanks DL for coming on board with some of your thoughts, memories and reminders of the past and the time leading up to the present--I often sit and think if we are in fact any better off than we were--well I can say with confidence we probably are to a certain degree, but I also believe that even with modern technology we are putting in just as many hours now for a living as we were when I was a child maybe more--I really believe more

I was talking to a lad yesterday that I hadn't seen for maybe 15 years, and during the course of the conversation he said that in order to follow his line of work he had to be away from his family for up to 2 months at a time--the reason being I guess the economy's weakness and slowing down in areas and speeding up in others a real roller coaster ride

Mother and dad lived through the depression of the thirtees, which lasted up till the time of the war in 1939, it seems unrealistic that it took a war and the lose of many lives to bring back the economies of many parts of the world

Wars usually though speed up technology's slow grind forward, and also here in Canada we seen an influx of new canadians of many nationalities--I as a teenager watched with awe as these new industrious immigrants turned the slowly dissapearing farm cummunities into thriving business ventures seemingly in about 10 years

It takes good vision by the politicians to put in place the seeds that develop a country as a whole, I know that around this area the development of the St Lawrence seaway in the late fifties created employment, opportunity, hydro generation, it was unbelievable the work that went on for about 3 years, it did though for better or worse bring up the wage level, good for some and not for others--it goes on today!--where does it end

Do any of you like to add to this line of thought--I know it is not timberframing but as Lowel Green used to say this week anything goes--some of these things need to be discussed for sure

enjoy

NH

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