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#34347 - 01/30/18 11:10 AM Re: historic hewing questionnaire ***** [Re: northern hewer]
northern hewer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/02
Posts: 1123
hello everyone tonight

Thanks for posting the axe and handle pictures along with some accompaning dialogue

There is more offset than I am used to but it seems to be built right into the helve of the axe head

For me it would take some getting used to, to master its use

One thing that I do think is unique is the square aperture where the handle exits the axe head

thanks for posting
richard
NH

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#34348 - 01/30/18 01:06 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
NickM Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/18
Posts: 7
Loc: Strasburg, VA
Northern Hewer, I never heard that a template was kept to keep a nice axe handle design alive, though that makes perfect sense. I intend to base my future handles off the ones I currently have and like best.

The finest quality handle I have seen on the commercial market is from househandle.com I purchased one when first getting into restoring axes and was exceedingly pleased with the quality finish when it arrived.

However, I prefer the connection that comes with a tool in creating your own handle.

Do you have a link to the video you created regarding the hewing axe handle? That would be neat and informative to see.

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#34349 - 01/30/18 01:09 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
NickM Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/18
Posts: 7
Loc: Strasburg, VA
DWagstaff, That is a gorgeous axe. Thank you for posting.

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#34352 - 01/31/18 05:51 AM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
D Wagstaff Offline
Member

Registered: 02/17/12
Posts: 264
Originally Posted By: northern hewer
hello everyone tonight

Thanks for posting the axe and handle pictures along with some accompaning dialogue

There is more offset than I am used to but it seems to be built right into the helve of the axe head
Yes, the angles are largely determined at the forge. My handle takes its own way rather than following on from the lines of the axe head itself.
For me it would take some getting used to, to master its use

One thing that I do think is unique is the square aperture where the handle exits the axe head

It is fairly angular there which is what I like because it simplifies fitting the handle. Often on the outside side of such sockets there is even a ridge along its length which gives a tangible representation of the axe handle axis.
thanks for posting
richard
NH


Edited by D Wagstaff (01/31/18 05:52 AM)

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#34353 - 02/01/18 08:42 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
northern hewer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/02
Posts: 1123
hello everyone tonight

Hi NIck

Thanks for coming on board

I am sorry to say I am not of the generation that is compatible with links etc, but I did put together a video a while back that shows me as I was creating an offset handle for an axe head that was in need of a new handle

As I mentioned I just finished an offset handle for a friend, Mr Barkley, it took me a while but it came out beautiful, and I used a blank split from a wild cherry section that he supplied from his bush property, it had the nice natural curve, where the strength is required in the handle next to the head.

The handles have to take into account a person`s natural preference, either right or left, and our axe heads here in North America are created so that they can be handled to exit either the right or left side of the head

I might say that I have used Black Walnut in many of my handles over the years, it creates a very unique handle indeed

If you are interested in the video see more details in Tools For Sale section, I call them teaching tools from afar, because I have supplied help in video form for many topics including adzing, hewing, timberframing, building raisings, like period barn frames, driveshed frames, smoke houses, tinshops, historic millwrighting, especially vertical blade waterpowered saw mills, using barrel wheels or rose wheels as a motive power, the last is my favorite, as you can probably tell from some of my previous posts

Water powered Grist Mills are also interesting, as well as woollen mills

Thanks for coming on board

enjoy, and come back
Richard
NH


Edited by northern hewer (02/01/18 08:44 PM)

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#34354 - 02/02/18 12:19 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
NickM Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/18
Posts: 7
Loc: Strasburg, VA
Hi Richard,

Absolutely. I wish I had done so sooner and am glad to be here.

Thank you for the information on the instructional videos and axe handles. I had not realized the videos were for sale.

Currently, I am trying to work out a way to get to a TF class, but it may be a while yet with my schedule. In laying out timbers for my first frame, I realized how central an understanding layout is to the craft. Truthfully, that is what led to me the Guild and the forums.

It has been edifying reading through the old threads to see that others have had some of the same questions.

I have found the forum a gold mine of information for tact in handling problems or questions that inevitably arise. I recently purchased Timber Framing Fundamentals from the Guild and am working through it on my down time in the AM and PM.

That said, I certainly hope to see your videos and learn from them.

Again, glad to be aboard. I certainly enjoy yours and others' posts!

Best, --Nick


Edited by NickM (02/02/18 12:21 PM)

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#34355 - 02/03/18 09:01 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
northern hewer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/02
Posts: 1123
hello everyone tonight

hi nick and others

you mention layout------

hmmm--layout, and then there is really layout using rough hewn timber, twisted timber, over sized timber, under sized timber, no measuring tapes, no nails, or very few, no front end loaders, no cranes, no transits, no fancy blueprints, no skill saws,, no electricity, but in the end the braces have to fit, the tenons on the twisted timber, have to enter the mortises with a nice sliding fit, the newly formed trusses have to be hoisted up their positions, sometimes 25 to 30 feet above the ground, each bent as it is formed has to be an exact copy of the previous on, unless its position indicates necessary changes, like the wall, like the central aisle, with large doors--

here i am rambling on but just reminiscing from days gone by when the head framer faced the above challenges, it reminded me of many church frames i have studied each one had to span 45 feet or more without central support, but the catcher is the sometimes the gothic arch of the interior ceiling, needed to be built into the truss timbers, what beautiful work!

one church in particular, had been created with one half the weight of the spire resting on the first truss, what the framer did was to create a railroad truss to give extra support, not noticeable from the interior of the church

most churches created walls of stone and brick just to support the spires, and then as i studied the trusses, what beautiful work the hewers did, and can you imagine the trees that produced 10 by 12 timbers 45 feet long and no wane edges that i could see for the bottom truss chords, and the wall plates 65 feet long 8 by 8`s my, my--i can see those trees falling, and teams of men hewing and scoring in a steady rhythm where they fell, and then transporting them to the constructing area, i really don`t think that there would be room for measuring errors on the part of the framer

my father (Ross) one time said to Robert Lecorre the cabinet maker at UCV --you know Robert, when you make a mistake you just heave it in the trash can, but what do i do with a 30 foot timber cut too short by 3 inches--

well have to go

enjoy

richard
NH

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#34356 - 02/06/18 07:44 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
NickM Offline
Member

Registered: 01/23/18
Posts: 7
Loc: Strasburg, VA
Hi Richard and everyone.

That is a great story about your dad's hewing dillemma.. I wonder...whatever happened to that timber? Did they find a way to make it work, or did they cut it into lesser parts or something else...?

I was paging through Tedd Benson's second book yestereve with my 11-year-old daughter. Interestingly, she queried if some of the bare frames were churches. while most if not all the pictures are of houses, it's neat that some design cues for grand homes are also found in or take their inspiration from sacred architecture. There are several churches in the vicinity that have pleasantly distracted me with their timber trusses and the corresponding thoughts of how they were constructed and lifted into place, not to mention the stories of the craftsmen behind the buildings.

Speaking of logging camps, down here in this part of the Appalacian Mountains is a state park in West Virginia called Cass Railroad State Park. Perhaps you have been there?

One has to work to get to it, but it is one the most fascinating, beautiful, and outright cool places I have been. While it is more of a monument to the days of logging during the days of the steam engine, I am sure there was a good bit of hewing that occurred nonetheless, as it is so entirely remote.

The other neat aspect of the park are the working steam Shea locomotives that take you up the mountain, the same ones or type that took the logs down. Some of the locomotives are from Alaska, I believe, and were used for logging there as well. The wilderness at Cass is basically unsullied and the visit to the camp town allows you to see, to some degree, the experience through the loggers' eyes. Operations continued there until 1962 or so and the place just hasn't changed very much.

To your original observation, Richard, I think it is amazing how the craftsmen of yore fit and hoisted their frames into position...and with few of the tools available to us today. Reading about their work is inspiring for me as a craftsman and propels me to want to continue further in the craft of woodworking.

I hope you all are staying warm, wherever you might be. Here in Virginia we are expecting snow, turning into ice, turning into rain overnight. I am anticipating being able to stay home from my regular job and thus get a day in the shop.

Cheers

NickM














Edited by NickM (02/06/18 07:46 PM)

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#34357 - 02/06/18 08:33 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
northern hewer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/02
Posts: 1123
Hi Nick and others looking in tonight

Well I guess we share similar weather patterns, it has been unseasonaly cool here, it must be because our climate is warming up,or so we are told

Nick you were wondering about what happened to those timbers I was referring to, well here we go--hope you all enjoy a little trip back in time--

Hewing timber is at best trying to create as accurate as possible sectional timber of sizes and lengths that are needed for the job at hand, it might be a small or large building, and sometimes was dictated by the timber types and sizes growing on you own property, or maybe in the case of a church from various properties

One thing for sure the framer whose responsibility was to mould these timbers into a strong straight and true framework eventually becoming whatever building that was needed

Usually the timbers were close to the dimensions needed, but sometimes they lacked a little meat here and there, especially in the case of long timbers, became quite noticeable when the framing began in ernest , and chalk lines were struck along their lengths to position seatings for many vertical and horizontal braces and girts

Ir was not uncommon to indent seatings an inch or more so all the intersecting timbers and posts along the chalk line would have support beyond relying strictly on the tenon

In this regard I always instructed the hewing team to work oversize a bit, and try for accuracy, even then after curing, and storing, timbers would sometimes accept natural curving and twisting, this is to be expected and accepted

What we did as we rolled out the next timber in the framing order was to carefully position it in the framework to best utilize its natural tendencies , and if necessary re hew out some bad bows or twists to bring the seating-s depths to a manageable margin and straighten up the outside face, which is quite important

Now we have been talking about all new hewn timbers, but sometimes the framer was handed many recycled timbers to work with

I have to go now
I have more and will be back

enjoy

richard
NH

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#34359 - 02/07/18 08:59 PM Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer]
northern hewer Offline
Member

Registered: 03/17/02
Posts: 1123
Hello everyone looking in tonight

I would like to return to last night`s post, and mention that as the timbers cure they also shrink and allowances should be made during the hewing process for this shrinkage so that you still end up with a full size timber to work with

Hewing is notoriously better accomplished when the logs are green, whereas many in the timber industry to day use cured`stable timber and witness less shrinkage, and I might say far less problems

The payoff though is to witness a naked frame fashioned from hand hewn timber, standing straight and true in the morning light--this was my experience one morning after we raised a
three bay driveshed, what a beautiful sight indeed

the other aspect was to notice how proudly it seemed to stand there, compared to the 100 year old example we were faithfully copying, it was like a very old man or woman rising up in their youthful glory, and to witness what it really looked like when it was originally framed--I was proud to rescue a very rare example of an outbuilding, and preserving it for future generations--and by the way the example now has disappeared

well have to go now

enjoy as much as i do telling

richard
NH

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