TFG Blog

Day 3, Sunrise Mill, September 30, 2019

Monday, September 30, was a warm, sunny day - much like a summer day - and we conducted as much of the workshop as we could under the cover of tents. Still, a large cohort of volunteers worked out in the sun. The weather slowed us down a bit as we made sure the participants stayed hydrated and were not over-exposed to the sun. 

It is not uncommon for workshops to start slowly, but we generally make up time as the volunteers learn and become more efficient. However, the density of the white oak also contributed to the slowdown, which proved taxing to muscles and the un-calloused hands of the non-professionals. 

We set aside the rafters we had laid out yesterday (above) to re-focus on the posts and ties which were Neil's primary assignment now that he had arrived. Neil and Scott Fruchtey of Montgomery County worked together to get the timbers arranged on sawhorses. Scott has been operating the tractor forklift for us.

Scott Fruchtey staging timbers.



Above, instructor Neil Godden arrived today fresh from his teaching gig with Jack Sobon and Dave Carlon at Hancock Village. He started us off with stretching and warm-up exercises which not only helped us get our muscles ready for the physical labor in store for us, but also helped us to get in a working state of mind.


Jack Witherington, a local timber framer and long-time Guild member has been taking time out from fabrication to help us move timbers to Sunrise as needed.  Not sure whether Jack is shy in this picture or has something stuck in one of his molars....


Ginny Gifford cleaning up one of the last notches (square rule) on the sleepers.



The Johnson brothers (that's Farris on the right) sharing some mirth as Randy surfaces a notch.


Alicia Heron and Rene Allen lay out one of only two white oak rafters which will be exposed on the end bent, "bend 1", at the far end of the sash mill away from the building. Jim Faulk and Farris Johnson observe them or perhaps are enjoying the opportunity to converse with Alicia as she holds the "dumb" end of the tape.


Will Beemer discussing the requirements for this tie while Jack, Dale, Joe DeCarlo, and Dave Maynard (his back to you).


Mike Wenger and Bruce Cowie on the two-person crosscut saw.  Seems like it might be more efficient for a timber this big if it were a little longer....


Cameron Tull cutting off the excess timber for this rafter plate's scarf joint. You might be able to see the layout lines if you zoom in....


Here's our client Ella Aderman, Historic Site Supervisor for both the Pennypacker Mill (where we are fabricating) and the Sunrise Mill (where the frame will be raised), pitching in and cleaning up offcuts and sawdust.


Fun and practical use of an inverted king post trussing action created by the comealong and the block, which not only pulls the scarf joint on this rafter plate together but also assures the two half-plates are tightly mated.


Peter von Tiesenhausen fabricating a post tenon.


Alicia Heron (foreground) and Rick Coryell also fabricating tenons on a post.

Above, Jim Faulk, Robert Small, and Ron Jordan discuss post and tie layout. 

Below, Erin Evans lays out one of the 11x15 posts. 

We have wedges and two different sizes of pegs to rive. Given this workshop leadership team, given the historic nature of the structure we are building, and given that this is a hand tool workshop, we might have lost the leadership team if we had not used riven pegs. Learning how to use a drawknife and shaving horse is intrinsic to work of this nature. It allows the craftsperson the opportunity to use straight-grained wood of any acceptable species they choose.

Below, we have Ed Sabir beginning the work that needs to be accomplished over the next two to three days. 


Before you start questioning the sanity of the person choosing a white oak post this big for a 16 x 40 x 8 foot tall at the eave structure, please understand that the original sash mill had posts this large. We are merely staying as true to the original design as is possible, if not reasonable. (We have pictures that show the original posts split badly from the outward thrust of the rafters on the plates and the plates on the posts.) The choice of white oak was also influenced by the fact that two sides of this structure will remain un-sided and exposed to the weather, and we wanted to make it as resistant to decay as possible, short of using pressure-treated or non-native (to this area) species.

In the following two photos we see Benjamin Sutfin and Jim Fagan, respectively, fabricating the tenons on the post. (There is a tenon on top for the (rafter) plate and at the base of the post for the attachment to the sleepers or sill.)


























John DeCarlo and Rene Allen remove errant marks - best to catch them at this stage. 

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Click on a photo to enlarge.

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Posted Oct 2, 2019 9:10 AM PST. Edited on Oct 24, 2019 3:31

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