Saturday, August 27, 2011

Timberframe Bent-Raising at Wabi Sabi

NOTE: all photos are clickable for a larger view.

Two of the many things I love about Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage are these:
1. When you need help, folks come a'runnin'
2. A variety of building methods, techniques, and philosophies are embraced, encouraged and supported.

Yesterday was a good example. Wabi Sabi, a food cooperative with Thomas, Ziggy, April and Ali as members, hosted a bent-raising for their under-construction kitchen. Joined by work exchangers Jacob and Jonathan, they've been working hard getting ready for the big moment. 

It was an impressive set up.  I apologize in advance for the poor photos - I did the best that I could with my goofy outdated camera (hint to Kurt: I need a new one!) while trying not to be crushed to death under beams that surely weighed a zillion pounds. Additionally, April was shooting video that will soon (I suspect) be posted on Ziggy's blog,  at A Year Of Mud

The building is being built with the timberframe method: the method of creating structures using heavy timbers jointed by pegged mortise and tenon joints. So here was the challenge - to get this peg into this hole (one of these on the north and south sides of the building),

and this little piece of rebar into that little hole, on the middle post. 

Which doesn't sound like such a big problem until you realize that these pegs/rebar are supporting these mondo huge beams. Here is a view from the other side.

In the photo above you can see how they have rigged up a pulley. Attached to this crossbeam are the three posts which are being lifted into place. We hope.

Here (above) the crew of volunteers gets instructions from Thomas. He's the one on the right in the dashing bonnet. In the background you can catch a glimpse of Wabi Sabi's temporary kitchen, complete with "clerestory" windows.

Katie, Jordan, Claire, Jacob, Maikwe, Jenny, Marqis, Kate
About this time Thomas yelled "PULL!" and so they did. At the same time the other half of the crew, below, supported the beam with notched 2x4s.

Snack, Tim (boots only are visible!), Craig, Dan, Travis, Ziggy

This is when Ziggy called to the rope pullers "oh! Watch out for the sweet potatoes." OK, Zig. No problem. You can see that Jacob and Jonathan ran around the garden patch to pull while not stomping on dinner. Good job!

Meanwhile, Pug supervised. He did an exemplary job.

While the crew with the 2x4s supports the beam (the rope has been tied off at this point) Ziggy and Thomas check to see how close (or how far) the pegs are from the holes.

The pegs are close! First they adjust the one on the right (south), then move to the middle. This takes a lot of crowbar action and careful support from the 2x4s. Jacob get ready to grab the "persuader." Talk about perfect names for things. The Persuader must weigh at least 20 lbs, and is bigger than Rhode Island.

I realize that this looks like a photo of Ziggy's lovely behind, but it is REALLY a shot of all of the careful aligning being done. Jacob is persuading, Thomas is working the crowbar, BETsey and Marqis are supporting with a 2x4 (as are Snack, Tim, Kurt, DAn...). An impressive group effort!

The pegs pop into place. Kurt and Thomas screw in supports. 

And we're done! Which is when the playing begins. Below, Kate demonstrates the power of persuasion on Tim.

Thanks for reading. More soon!