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Grindbygg Timber Framing Course: Day Three

by Tara

Our alarm sounds at 7AM. Laying in bed, we are both groggy and exhausted. "Are you ready?" Tyler asks. "Not yet," I reply. In a few minutes, it'll be time for another action-packed day of hosting our timber framing course, but for now, I want to bask in the joy that is laying here, motionless. I know that as soon as our camper door swings open, it'll be Game On until about midnight.

Signaling the start of another day, Trent will be outside making coffee or pumping water for dishwashing. Peter will probably pop in, Kit will drop by to grab her yogurt, Deanne will say good morning and plug in her camera battery, Bruce will ask if I can grab his chocolate milk from our fridge, and Juliana (Matthew & Angie's adorable daughter), will press her teeny little nose against the screen and say "hey!"

Then, once we're all fed and caffeinated and charged up, we'll tromp on down to the worksite for another day of grindbygging…

This morning, we're learning how to wield a log scribe. The tool looks a bit like a compass with two bubble levels attached, and it's used to transfer the curves of one round piece of wood to another. Using it correctly requires holding the fiddly device level in two different planes as you move. Peter makes the task look easy, but it most certainly is not!

Scribing a Roundwood Grindbygg Knee Brace

We're using it to scribe and cut in our knee braces, which run at roughly 45° angles from the posts into the wall plates. Unlike traditional timber framing, where tenon and mortise joinery is used here, grindbygg knee braces drop directly into the side of their timbers.

Tyler Envisioning Knee Braces Peter Positioning Roundwood Knee Brace Peter Leveling Everything Peter Drawing Knee Brace Line Peter Demonstrating Scribing

After Peter's slightly mind-bending demonstration, we all get to work. Both Tyler and I are feeling inept, and a bit hopeless. Fumbling around, feeling like toddlers as the indelible pencils make scribbly lines, we continually ask Peter for help, or Kit, our boat-builder friend who seems to be taking to grindbygging like a fish to water.

Grindbygg Workshop Work Site Us Scribing a Roundwood Grindbygg Knee Brace Rachel & Tara Scribing a Roundwood Grindbygg Knee Brace Scribing a Roundwood Grindbygg Knee Brace

Everyone has paired off into teams, tackling the various challenges that their particular knee brace presents. Roger and Adnan are particularly vocal about theirs, a huge, unwieldy log that needs to be set directly into the side of a giant knot on the gnarliest post we have. We can't help but chuckle when we hear Roger say for the ten millionth time, "You know what the problem is here..." and I can't help but feel the slightest bit guilty at our insistence on using such wonky beams.

Once we've made our marks, we all move on to more familiar tasks, chainsawing and chiseling away. Matthew and Arturo have cut some absolutely perfect-looking knee brace joints, but are struggling with some unknown bit of wood that is preventing it from seating properly. Meanwhile Kit, Trent and Roger seem to be sailing ahead, catching on quickly.

Peter Cutting Roundwood Grindbygg Knee Brace Joint Peter Demonstrating the Adze Chiseling Knee Brace Seat Trent Chainsawing a Grindbygg Knee Brace Chiseling Knee Brace Seat Tyler Chiseling Roundwood Grindbygg Knee Brace Seat Julie at the Worksite

And then, somehow, the day is gone. I don't think anyone but Peter has finished a kneebrace, but it's time to call it quits and head "upstairs" for food and another evening by the fire. What a day!