Well, it’s been a long road, starting from here:
And ending up here:
I wanted to use this final entry on this project to talk about some of the many things I’ve learned, in order to maybe help out other woodworkers who might attempt similar madness.
——The journey of the building is important, not just the destination. Build what you want, how you want.
—- Wow, did I learn a lot about working with roundwood logs! Ben Law’s book, Roundwood Timber Framing, was a huge help, although his is a power-tool-and-crane approach, whereas I was on the me-and-chainsaw and hand tools plan. Videos by Roy Underhill and Peter Follansbee because very useful, because the old ways of doing things really applied to my situation much more closely than modern timber framing practices.
—- Sourcing the wood from my land and free Craiglist ads saved a ton of money compared to buying new materials.
—- Almost every time you are told you have to have a metal fastener or a modern jig to do something, there was probably a historic work-around that uses the wood and materials you have…you just have to learn the skill and take the time to do it!
The Hard Lessons
—- The biggest lesson is: IT TAKES TWICE AS LONG (OR MORE) THAN YOU EXPECT IT SHOULD.
——If it’s heavy, you will somehow need to haul it uphill.
——Cordwood is a great way to build, but your first wall (and maybe later ones) won’t look as perfect and dead-straight as the ones in the pictures.
——Building without drawings makes the project very flexible and adaptable to the realities “on the ground,” but it also makes it difficult to communicate things to a work crew without personal instruction on each step of the process.
—- Doing things with hand tools and the “old-fashioned way” is great and very satisfying, but it makes it hard—or impossible—to find skilled labor to help you if you do.
—- When you need loose materials like sand, don’t be an idiot and buy it by the bag. Granted, I don’t have a truck and would have had to pay for delivery, but it owuld have been so much cheaper in the long run.
——When building with “free” materials, you still need nails, bolts, mortar, and lots of other “incidental” expenses. THESE ADD UP, NO MATTER HOW MUCH CRAIGSLIST WOOD YOU FIND.
——The joint tolerances and door clearances we’re used to for furniture don’t work as well in a outdoor construction, especially with natural materials and in the wet Western Washington climate. Get over it.
I’m sure there’s ten dozen more, but that’ll do for now. Thanks to everyone for following this series, and I hope to hear about your projects soon!