TFG Blog

Day 5, Sunrise Mill CBW (October 2, 2019)

Day five began as a cool morning with a mist settled over the hills and our worksite. The setting, Pennypacker Mill, is surrounded by beautiful rolling Pennsylvania hills. 


Our site is quiet and organized before the volunteers and instructors arrive for the day. We hoped to get in a productive morning before the temperature climbed to 90 degrees in the afternoon. 

We were running about a day behind schedule, the large oak timbers proving to be a bit more challenging for our volunteers than anticipated with the warm temperatures and hot sun requiring a reasonable pace with frequent hydration breaks. Still, the volunteers got after the work vigorously, seriously, and in good humor, as they were getting to know one another and gelling as a group. 

Fairly early in the day, Neil Godden sat down at the shavehorse and demonstrated the art of riving a peg using a drawknife. He demonstrated proper technique, stressing the importance of both sight and touch. Neil, who predominantly uses hand tools in crafting the frames he builds, works quickly and efficiently in all the skills he demonstrates. When he joins in with the fabrication, his high pace seems to be a way for him to stay in "timber framing shape."

Peter working on oak braces under the cover of the tent on this hot day.

The two Bruces doing more of the same, but with greater accuracy and efficiency as the week progresses. 

Mike Wenger and the multi-skilled craftsman and mechanic Brian Clark using a battery-assisted hand tool auger to drill a few peg holes. Brian jumped out of his truck this morning to help a stranded volunteer change a tire on the side of the Gravel Pike, which sees a surprising amount of traffic each morning and evening. He's also been trailering, performing millwork on the sash frame, and readying the tie rods along with Ed Sabir. 

The inimitable Dave Bowman, whose sunny attitude and easy-going style belies a deep passion for work and teaching, working with Ron on an oak rafter for the far end first bent, which is exposed to the weather. 

Bob Garnet trying his hand at riving pegs. 

Ginny and Alice, respectively, continuing the work on the ties and braces. 

Using an electrically-assisted hand saw and a few other such motivated tools, Dave and Rene did some work on the timbers to help the group catch up. Their goal was to fill a 55-gallon drum with sawdust before the day was out, and they succeeded. 


Jack Witherington, long-time timber framer and Guild supporter, who lives only minutes away, joined in the fun electrically mortising some timbers.

This is the first time this week that I've caught busy workshop manager Dale Emde finding the time to join in and apply a tool to a timber as well as spend a little time instructing some of the assembled volunteers. 

Xavier Gallant working on one of the many rafters for this workshop (above, left). 

Joe DeCarlo, whose enthusiasm for all things (from timber framing to drinking beer) just tumbles out of him, jumps right in, bringing that same enthusiasm and desire to learn to this task (above, right). 

The volunteer professional photographer Daniel Girard (below), whose interest in timber framing dragged him from his home in Santa Barbara, California, to be with us in Pennsylvania, has the bug bad. He finally broke down and laid down the camera to pick up the tools and get to work fulfilling his passion for timber framing. 

Seth Kelley fabricates the shear legs from engineered wood using power tools and finishing with a chisel before fitting the peak. 

Below, a beautiful shot of the project site and vista by visiting TFG board member Eric Morley, who does professional-quality video and photography. He and his wife Gesche came north from their home near Boone, North Carolina, to spend some time with us in Montgomery County. 

Visit our sponsors and support the folks who support the Guild and our wonderful Community Building Workshops Program

Click on a photo to enlarge.

This blog article has been viewed 186 times.
Posted Oct 4, 2019 2:35 PM PST. Edited on Oct 24, 2019 3:46

Add Your Response

You must login to leave a comment.

Login Create an Account

New Blog Posts

Recent Comments

Learn More >

Thanks to our visionary partners

Get the Latest News