Building The A Frames

This is without doubt the most rewarding stage of building for me working wood is my life’s passion and without doubt my strongest area of skill and experience. One part of this skill and experience is my ability to see the 3 dimensional object I need to make in my head, a skill I have honed over many years of woodturning and carpentry projects. However this is not easy for unskilled students who have little or no experience of woodworking or any craft for that matter, I am even surprised in the lack of hand eye coordination that has been exhibited here this year. This has made me reflect deeply on how I came about this skill and ability and why its so lacking in some young people today, my conclusion is the age of technology we live in stops us taking on these skills from a young age as was the norm in my house. That said we had a complex set of joints to cut in to heavy round  wood and had to rise to the challenge.

The first task was to set out two of the three six meter long poles and fix them in that position so we could mark up the first joint cut and fit it back together in the same position. We used an extra  piece of wood nailed at the foot end of the final A frame to achieve this.

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Then we used a log scribe from Veritas to accurately transcribe the shape of the top log on to the bottom one, this only helps to hide the internal joint and make the final joint look good.

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The marking stage is difficult as you have two small spirit levels build in to the back of the tool and once you have calibrated the tool you have to keep both bubbles in the levels centred while transcribing one log on to the other. This reminded me of an early video game landing a space craft on the moon, failing to concentrate on this stage yielded some poor fitting joints on the second frame.

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Once you have marked up the log you can decide how big to make the butter-pat which is the strength of the final A frame keeping it from twisting out of shape.

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This took me an hour to mark up, cut and fit, then it was time for the students to take over and mark up and cut their own butter-pat joint


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Once all three butter-pats were cut in to each A frame they were hand drilled and pegged with a dry oak turned peg.

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We also had to build another frame which will be the back of the building and support the A frames making them self supporting once joined together, this frame resembles a braced goal post with six mortice and tenon joints which are also drilled and pegged to fix them together.

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These are the last joints to cut before we get to raise the frame more on that in the next post.

We are also constructing and raising a similar frame in 2016 five week July building course for anyone interested in learning these skills.

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