Sunday, April 4, 2010

Ol' Fort's Ol' Fort

So first off Happy Easter to those folks who appreciate it. I know I don't usually post on Sundays, they kind of are our day. But with the day we had yesterday and the fact we have a full day today I figured I would take a little time next to this sweet creek and do a bit of typing.

Yesterday we were invited by the owner of Catawba Falls Campground to come witness and participate in the building of a revolutionary era fort that the local citizens are reconstructing. This particular fort represents one that sat at the base of the mountains and was used as a safehaven against Native Attacking forces. There is a lot in that which facinates me but, will have to wait for another time. The highlight of the trip down there was getting to make handmade shakes/shingles. This is something I have been wanting to learn because the technique can easily be adapted to building bridges and is a dying craft that deserves reserection.

A big THANKS goes out to Joe, my instructor and patient mentor for the day. I only got to spend about an hour and a half actually cutting bolts and shakes, but every minute of it was prized.

Here you see me cutting "bolts" from the eigthed log, a HUGE piece of white oak. As you can see this isn't an easy process, but is one of the most gratifying feelings when that froe finally breaks the grain and busts the bolt off. This is about as far as you would need to take the process for decking on a bridge. It also takes very little skill and makes for a great introduction for volunteers on a bridge project.

Now, just for my own personal experience I went on to the step of making the shake, which required far more skill and dexterity. This was a tough job, but on that made you truly appreciate the complex structures of wood grain. All in all one of the best experiences of the year. Being back on the road has already paid off in experience. Now on to North Augusta and more fun in the sun.

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