Monday, August 24, 2009

Green Woodwork

We now go back in time, to AD 2006. In the spring, I discovered a wonderful book by Drew Langsner, who has a very nice web page, Welcome to Country Workshops, with many goodies. The book is called Country Woodcraft, ISBN 0-87857-201-5. Unfortunately it is out of print, but still available on the secondhand market. It goes a step further than Roy Underhill's books; Roy too has a website, The Woodwright's Shop.

Both these gentlemen work wood the old-fashioned way, with hand tools. While I have nothing against power tools, I enjoy the quiet, the lack of noxious sawdust, and the lack of noise that you get with hand tools. It seems much more appropriate for Chalupy than screaming table saws. I do have some power tools and use them when I have to, but I prefer the peace and quiet. Time? I have all the time in the world, so I take it.

Anyhow, Drew is big on green woodworking. You find some trees in the forest and use them before they are dry. (But they will warp! you say. Yes, but that is overcome by drying carefully after the wood is worked, and by putting on the finishing touches once it's dry.)

There are perhaps fifty or a hundred projects in Drew's book. Summer of ought-six I built several:

In the front is the birchbarrow, version 1.0. This is a wheelbarrow, of course; I used a bicycle wheel (which I got out of someone's trash) as the main ingredient and built the barrow around it. You may also see the sawhorses, in use to this day (alas --one leg on one of those broke the other day. Winter is hard on sawhorses. Fortunately, as with shaving horses, spares are no farther away than a walk). I am holding a very large mallet called a commander, useful for driving stakes and posts (and perhaps for some moral persuasion of obdurate characters). I have since changed the wheel arrangement to use the original bike fork (v1.1) and now must rebuild the whole front, because it is too tippy when you load it with firewood. This is not Drew's fault, but mine, when I converted absurd gringo inches to metric. I put the wheelbarrow to immediate use.

It hauls veggies (above), firewood, sacks of manure, and almost anything else. It started to turn black, so applied common household bleach and that took care of the black. Birchbarrow is due for a version release (1.3) but I don't think I'll have time for it this fall.

Funny about so much work with software; we have these absurd-looking version numbers, whatsis 2.1.4. Why bother? Because there's always room for improvement, that's why. Most things at Chalupy have version numbers. The British had the same thing going with Roman numeral "Marks," so we had Spitfires Mark VII, which were presumably better than Mark VIs.

No comments:

Post a Comment