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#34291 - 11/29/17 10:10 AM Re: historic hewing questionnaire ***** [Re: northern hewer]
Cecile en Don Wa Offline
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Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 277
Loc: the Netherlands
I was just reading closer the caption under the picture, using my reading glasses also this time and now see that while the old codger is in fact a millwright, he was called in to do work on the roof construction of the church in the Hague - better known to the most of you as home to many convicted international war criminals - which is what the photo shows.
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#34294 - 11/30/17 07:09 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
Jay White Cloud Offline
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Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 514
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: Dave Shepard
...We find no evidence of the adze in our area...


My observation would be, from an appropriate restoration perspective (or reconstruction point of view) Dave's initial observation shared above is very accurate.

If a given region does not present in its historic timber frame architecture the evidence of adz work, then with regards to the given ethos of..."like for like, in means, methods and materials"...the use of an adz would be an unwarranted system, and out of context for said work.

In general, regarding adze work itself...my experience and observation would be it is both a regional, cultural and time period based matter. For some regions and cultures, adz work is the primary finishing method left on timber and plank, with perhaps further refinement with a planning methods within a given wood culture's practice. In other regions (as Dave has shared) the axe (in one of its various forms) is the only system used to shape and/or finish large timber.

Another perspective on the subject, would be the apparent fact, that if adz work was not a common event within some regions, and/or at some time or place in history, then there would not be as many of the tools left in collections as we can find in some areas. Clear evidence that they were employed extensively at times and in certain places...
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#34295 - 11/30/17 08:18 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
Dave Shepard Online   content
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Registered: 02/19/06
Posts: 714
Loc: Alford, MA
There are plenty of adzes in my area, as well as many rafter and joist reductions. I also see where timbers that need a little adjusting are possibly reduced with an adze, such as girts that are a touch deep. I also see floor planks that are adzed to thickness only at the floor joists.
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#34296 - 12/03/17 06:42 AM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
Cecile en Don Wa Offline
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Registered: 08/08/09
Posts: 277
Loc: the Netherlands
Yes, I love to grab for the adz whenever there is the need.
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#34297 - 12/06/17 12:26 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
Jay White Cloud Offline
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Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 514
Loc: Vermont
They do indeed have (most certainly) have a place in our work...even today!! Not a skill to be left forgotten by any of us...if we are to practice fully our craft ...I most surely agree! I too love grabbing one of the many adz in whatever iteration.

I would add, for those that have (and can if possible) getting there hands on some of the Eastern European, Middle Eastern and Asian style tools of these forms...be it ax, adz of spear plane...

For me, they are the most effective and refined for "modern interpretations" of the heritage folk style wood shaping systems...


Edited by Jay White Cloud (12/06/17 12:27 PM)
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#34304 - 12/19/17 02:56 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
northern hewer Online   content
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Registered: 03/17/02
Posts: 1121
hello everyone tonight

good discussion, not to be found easily at any other site

I very much agree that the use of adzes were wide spread mainly because of the number left behind from those eras

there was a much implanted skill of use and not everyone had the skill but possibly the desire to use one like one seen it used in a family setting or from observations of it being used, it use seemingly to be viseably easy but not really so

great new year to all

NH richard

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#34306 - 12/20/17 03:59 AM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
D Wagstaff Offline
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Registered: 02/17/12
Posts: 262
You are correct Richard, this is the only place for a good hashing over of these topics on internet. My impression, subjective as it is not having really given this topic the attention it deserves by any means, is that the adzes I see, and they are not uncommon in my area, all seem similarly dated, I don't know, coming from a time within the last 150 - 200 at the outer limit years. That is I don't remember ever seeing an adze substantially older than that - pre-modern adzes excepted like those bronze ones. Never seen them depicted in pre-photography period pictures or lithographs ect... and yet again at work this weekend I overheard talk of adze use in squaring up timbers. As far as I am concerned such talk is really the extent of this use, nothing more than a fairytale. Could be I'm wrong but it would sure be handy to have seen evidence behind these whisperings of adze use as a common means of working on timbers like we're discussing here.


Edited by D Wagstaff (12/20/17 04:02 AM)

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#34307 - 12/20/17 04:10 AM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
D Wagstaff Offline
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Registered: 02/17/12
Posts: 262
Jay may jump in pointing out Japanese prints - I am familiar but know nothing of a time-frame - commonly showing adze work like we are referring to here. Be that as it may it only begs the question why there are no corresponding representations coming out of the European/American scene.

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#34308 - 12/20/17 02:46 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: D Wagstaff]
Jay White Cloud Offline
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Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 514
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: D Wagstaff
...nothing more than a fairytale. Could be I'm wrong but it would sure be handy to have seen evidence behind these whisperings of adze use as a common means of working on timbers like we're discussing here.


One observation about "adz work" can be a very possible indicator toward whether or not the individual sharing the information has ever actually employed this family of tools to any great capacity whatsoever?

Simply put, adz work, from almost every culture known, exist strictly as a finishing tool...be it lithic or of the iron age. Though there is evidence that lithic adz may have been more of a work horse tool that others? Even when working smaller stock material, outside the realm of timber framing, the ax, in all its many permutations, is the undefinable workhorse of stock removal...While the adz is usually only one of the finishing tools, perhaps to be followed by others...

Originally Posted By: D Wagstaff
Be that as it may it only begs the question why there are no corresponding representations coming out of the European/American scene.


It really isn't surprising (at least to me) that we don't see...most...of what we perform within the vintage skill sets of any craft; be it timber framing or others arts/crafts ever being well documented or "represented," in citation of any form.

This is a common talking point accross a myriad of fields that examine traditional skill sets. From Cultural/Social Anthropologists to Historical Interpreters...the aspect that is too often overlooked and/or not at all by lay folk...is the substantiation that we have conservatively only about 30% of what Traditional Knowledge Holders had. Through history (and even today) much of this is only passed on through oral traditions and experiential event of those learning. What little we see in whatever manner of citation, is quite often interpretive at its very best, and not an accurate depiction of either means, method or material utilization. We have lost much...and relic illustration, or even a 3rd party observer within literature, is a poor example or proof of activity...
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#34309 - 12/20/17 08:43 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
TIMBEAL Offline
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Registered: 12/10/07
Posts: 1877
Loc: Maine

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