Hello Richard,

Nah, sorry but I can't make out what you are actually doing. But anyway maybe you could clear up one thing relating to bottom-up hewing then because the way I see it there are two ways it can be done to square up a timber, using single beveled axes:

The One Way

Working side A to completion, laying aside the axe and taking up another axe with the opposite bevel configuration and working side B to completion, freeing up the log, if it's at all secured, rotating it 90 degrees and repeating the process to get a four sided timber. (Not everybody chooses to use a single beveled axe with the flat side towards the wood, so changing axes to hew opposite sides bottom-up is avoidable apparently.)

The Other Way

Working side A to completion, shifting the position of the log to be able to hew another of the surfaces from exactly the same position and orientation and in the same direction. In other words, repositioning the log for each of the sides needing to be hewn.

I guess a third alternative could be, were the stipulation of using single beveled axes dropped - or maybe not, (see qualification at the end of The One Way), to just hew with equal accuracy and speed and competence from both sides changing from left hand to right hand work at will, regardless of the tool in hand.

There is room also for the fourth alternative naturally and that's the one I'm just not able to see right now. Maybe you can point the way around my obstinacy.

The open fireplace that I'm aware of had less to do with heating space - though that too, warmth being more of a luxury - and more to do with cooking and so it was near to where the cooking gear could be suspended. Also the cooking fire was more smoldering embers than raging flame. Some sketches made by Rembrandt depict trapdoor openings in the straw or thatch roof for ventilating smoke. These examples though are maybe later that what Ken is referring to and so might indicate a migration of the fireplace from center of the enclosure to one of the sidewalls. There is a house here in Holland where the residents lived with such a cooking source, along with sharing the room with their farm animals, up until 1920. On a personal note, I once got taken in for a night by some folks out in the booneys who also cooked on an open fire in the house. As long as you are sitting or laying on the ground, which was their general habit indoors, smoke is not a short term problem except maybe at the start of the day when the fire is lit by the woman before the sun rises.


Don Wagstaff

Last edited by Cecile en Don Wa; 02/12/12 04:21 PM. Reason: earmarked