From Wood to Walls

It’s pretty amazing what sharpened pieces of metal can do to wood! The past few days in the shop have been spent making more mortises and tenons than you can imagine in the 4x4s for all 8 walls. I was very impressed when I walked in the workshop on Thursday to see things taking shape – corners were clamped together and getting their final fittings and sizings, and after having the labeling system explained to me (there are numbers, roman numerals, letters, triangles and initials, all of which correspond to a very specific location in each house), I could easily picture all of these simple pieces of wood forming our future home.

For the sake of productivity and keeping the students sane, the tenons (after being drawn out with a pencil and square) were all cut on a band saw, and the final cuts were made with hand saws and chisels. The mortises were measured and marked, then bored out on the drill press and squared up with a corner chisel.

Once everything was cut to satisfaction, they fit things together, and looked for any imperfections and figured out how to solve any potential problems, and then set the finished pieces aside for future assembly.

Each student seems to have fallen nicely into their roles among one another. During the first few days no one really knew where to go next, and was much more tentative to step up to a job, but now when I walk in everyone is working on something different. It’s fascinating to see so many individual people all learning the same thing in various ways – ultimately achieving the same end through different means.



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