RAISING DAY

     This past Saturday, February 18th, was the culmination of all the work, planning, and preparation that has gone into my new timber framed workshop as something like 25 friends and neighbors showed up for what was an old fashioned timber raising. It was an amazing experience to be a part of, as in one day, a seemingly random pile of posts and beams was transformed into a beautiful, solid, impressive structure with the potential to stand for hundreds of years. 
     Looking back over the whole process I find myself somewhat in awe of the fact that we were able to cut down a number of dead and dying ash trees just a few hundred yards from where the new shop is located,  and make them over into the substantial structure there today.
      That being said, for the most part things went pretty smoothly and the frame went together with out a lot of fussing. But the day did have it's moments. Timber frames are raised in sections known as bents, and the second bent of the day, which was almost 20 feet tall and 24 feet wide took all that we had as a group to get standing erect. I have a video I will share in a subsequent post but suffice it to say, it scared the hell out of me. 
     I'm feeling awfully lucky to have had such great help, and there are really too many people to mention, but special thanks have to go out to Deacon Stone, Eddie Austin, and the crew they brought from Coalfields Development. 
     I am also feeling lucky to have had Jordan Speigle working with me and guiding me through the cutting and erection of this frame. There just aren't a lot of folks out there with his skills, work ethic and attention to detail. 
     Lastly, and most importantly, I have to thank my wife Glenda who has had her life overwhelmed by the intensity of this project. I couldn't have done it without her.
     A few photos of the day. There aren't a lot of action photos as the photographer was helping lift. Oh yeah, thanks for all the great shots Ric McDowell.
     

Jordan giving instructions

 

FIRST BENT UP  

FIRST BENT UP

 

CONNECTING BEAM GOING IN PLACE  

CONNECTING BEAM GOING IN PLACE

 

DEACON STARTING A PIN  

DEACON STARTING A PIN

 

SECOND BENT UPRIGHT     HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF    

SECOND BENT UPRIGHT     HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF

 

 

SECOND BENT CONNECTED  

SECOND BENT CONNECTED

 

BIG HAMMER    ALSO KNOWN AS A COMMANDER OR A BEETLE?  

BIG HAMMER    ALSO KNOWN AS A COMMANDER OR A BEETLE?

 

 THE RAISING CREW  

 THE RAISING CREW

 

DONE, JUST AT DARK JORDAN UP TOP

DONE, JUST AT DARK JORDAN UP TOP

THE COMPLETED FRAME ON A BEAUTIFUL FEBRUARY DAY  

THE COMPLETED FRAME ON A BEAUTIFUL FEBRUARY DAY

 

RETIREMENT?

     Just turned 65 this past December. That's when one is supposed to retire, right? Thing is, I've been working with wood for over 40 years now, I like what I do, and really don't want to quit doing it. Really, I just want to change the way I approach my work. I would like to be working in a  quieter, more relaxed setting without the pressures of deadlines and payrolls. So, I am selling my present facility to my younger and up and coming furniture maker son-in-law and moving to a new one man shop I have under construction a short walk from my home. I'm really excited about these changes  and the idyllic future that I envision in my new shop with music playing in the background, a grandchild in one corner building something out of my scraps, and my garden a few steps out the back door. Sounds pretty great, right? But, I do have to say that it isn't all happening without some emotion. I have been in my present location for almost 30 years now and figure I have spent over 70,000 hours here. That's a pretty good chunk of my life and it's hard not to be just a bit sentimental.

Probst Furniture Makers today Soon to be EA Woodworks  

Probst Furniture Makers today
Soon to be EA Woodworks

 

The new location in progress    

The new location in progress

 

 

THE EMERALD ASH BORER

     When I first started contemplating retirement, there was one element I hadn't anticipated, the emerald ash borer. This past winter I started noticing trees in the woods around us with large sections of missing bark. Turns out, the woodpeckers were going after the larvae of these small insects that were in the process of killing all of the ash trees on our property. The emerald ash borer is a small beetle native to northern China, eastern Russia, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan. It was first discovered in the US in Michigan in 2002 and is thought to have entered this country in packing crates containing infested ash wood. Once the beetles have infested an ash tree it is fatal to the tree and it is estimated that 150-200 million ash trees have already been killed in the U.S. This situation presented itself as an odd sort of opportunity. I've always wanted to build a timber frame and concluded that I could harvest these dead and dying trees and have them cut into timbers for my new shop. It also gave me the opportunity to sequester the carbon in these trees that would otherwise be given off in to our atmosphere  if they were either allowed to decompose on the forest floor or if they were burned for firewood. To date, I have been able to harvest 31 ash trees that have been sawed into over 5000 feet of post, beams, and lumber.

BORER INFESTED ASH TREE    

BORER INFESTED ASH TREE

 

 

ASH BORER DAMAGE THE LARVAE ESSENTIALLY GIRDLE THE TREE

ASH BORER DAMAGE
THE LARVAE ESSENTIALLY GIRDLE THE TREE

CUTTING  DOWN A BIG ONE  

CUTTING  DOWN A BIG ONE

 

LOG HEADED TO LOG PILE

LOG HEADED TO LOG PILE

JUST ONE OF THE PILES  

JUST ONE OF THE PILES

 

SAWING THE LOGS

     The next challenge was to turn the 31 white ash trees we had cut down, plus a few other poplar, cherry, and butternut logs, a total of about 70 logs,  into 47 timbers, some as large as 7" by 7" by almost 20 feet, in addition to some 30 plus braces and a variety of boards for flooring and wall paneling for the new shop.  I was able to hire a man with a portable Wood-mizer band saw mill to set up next to my pile of logs and over the next few days over 5000 feet of timbers and boards was produced, in addition to piles of slabs and sawdust. 
     The next step was to stack, sticker, [that is to stack with spacers for air movement], and cover all of it until we were ready to start building. 
     Some pictures of the sawing and the lumber piles.

A nice log on the mill ready to saw.  

A nice log on the mill ready to saw.

 

The first cut

The first cut

Two sides squared up.

Two sides squared up.

A 7x7 timber ready for the pile

A 7x7 timber ready for the pile

The timber pile under cover

The timber pile under cover

My grandson Elliot working to remove a little wane [bark] Looks like he inherited the "Probst" tongue.

My grandson Elliot working to remove a little wane [bark] Looks like he inherited the "Probst" tongue.

MOVING DAY

     My first shop was a small 16 x 24 building I built something like 35 years ago. I quickly out grew it and though it was used by my father for a few years, it has been sitting unused for awhile now. As my retirement approached I decided that it was still usable and would make a good start on a new shop. Thing was, I didn't like where it was and decided to move it. What follows is a photo montage of that move which mainly consisted of a pair of skids that I built, my neighbor Zeke and his farm tractor, and six good friends who kept coming back for the 3 long days it took to move the thing. I thought we could do it in one, which is to say that things didn't go as smoothly as I had imagined. I've included a short video here. We actually have a number of short videos that mostly consist of the building moving about five feet or so followed by a bunch of guys hollering, HOLD UP!

  THE ORIGINAL SHOP  

 

THE ORIGINAL SHOP

 

DOWN THIS HILL  

DOWN THIS HILL

 

TO THIS FOUNDATION

TO THIS FOUNDATION

ON THESE SKIDS

ON THESE SKIDS

WITH THIS CREW

 

PULLED BY THIS TRACTOR  

PULLED BY THIS TRACTOR

 

CRIBBED UP   IT WAS MORE LEVEL THAN IT APPEARS HERE

CRIBBED UP   IT WAS MORE LEVEL THAN IT APPEARS HERE

READY TO PULL ON TO NEW FOUNDATION WITH WINCH ON TRUCK

READY TO PULL ON TO NEW FOUNDATION WITH WINCH ON TRUCK

THE CREW OF CRIMINALS AND MISCREANTS THAT I CAN'T THANK ENOUGH

THE CREW OF CRIMINALS AND MISCREANTS THAT I CAN'T THANK ENOUGH