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Yogan’s New Tower in France

From our good friend Yogan and crew in France. He has turned out to be a master carpenter!

Here are pictures of the new tower on our workshop:

We just finished the four-sided roof with three lucarnes (dormer windows) and a campanile (small roof on top of the roof).

The frame is chestnut and oak, squared by hand; the roof framing is complex due to the four-sided roof. We had to use the old technique for assembling all the tenons and mortises.

The tiles are made with a 100-year-old machine, by a little local artisan; they are beautiful in their irregularity. They are assembled with hooks on small horizontal purlins of poplar. We used plaster mortar to assemble the four edges.

On the top there is an épis de faîtage, a ceramic sculpture for a beautiful headpiece.

We built it during a four-week workshop, with a lot of people helping.

The basement of the tower is in stone, the first floor, is our office. It’s made in colombage, all in wood, and between is a mix of wood chips and lime, covered with with a sand and lime plaster.

In our workshop, we work on different buildings, gazebos, structures for big festivals, sets for movies…

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Norman Castle with Underground Springs in San Francisco

Kirsten Dirksen amd Nicolás Boullosa continue their amazing and prodigious coverage of “…simple living, self-sufficiency, small (and tiny) homes, backyard gardens (and livestock), alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship and philosophies of life.”

I can’t believe how many videos Kirsten has made and photos Nicolás has shot, it seems like they post videos and photos weekly. All stuff I’m interested in.

This one really got me because I’m a native San Franciscan, and never dreamed of a place like this in the city.

Check out

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Photos of Reconstruction of Notre Dame Cathedral by Yogan

From our good friend, French carpenter yogan. yogan’s work has appeared in four of our building books.

A few months ago with my friends Martin, Thomas and Orso from CopeauXcabanA, we went to the workshop where the new frame of Notre Dame de Paris was being built. All of the framing was done with oak that was 60 to 200 years old.

All the wood was squared on two sides by a sawmill and the other two by axes, following the wood fiber. They used 60 new axes that had been made by master blacksmiths.

In this workshop, 5 months of intensive axe work was necessary to square all the wood for making the framework of the choir and the apse.

Almost 800 trees were used for this part. The longest tie beam was 35×45cm (14″×18″), and 16m (52 feet) long. The largest rafter was 12 meters (40 feet) long.

In the workshop they tested all the frames before sending them to Paris, so we had the chance to climb and see this fabulous framework before it was installed in the cathedral.

Originally (900 years ago) they made all the frames in 12 years; this time it was accomplished in 1½ years.

The reconstruction of Notre Dame de Paris will be finished next summer.

Ten years ago, my friend Menthé and I sneaked into the cathedral, climbed up, took some crazy pictures before the fire!

From these experiences in this magic cathedral, we learned how to square wood with axes and we made our workshop, in CopeauXcabanA with these techniques.

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Giant Trolls Built Out of Recycled Wood in Maine

My friends Jonathan and Dobree Greene sent me photos of these magnificent art works:

“BOOTHBAY, Maine — Something wicked has taken over the woods at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens… something wicked awesome!

Five mythical trolls have taken up residence in the forest at the Botanical Gardens—tucked in the woods and hidden on paths that force visitors to go hunting for the friendly giants just to catch a glimpse of them all.

The father of the trolls is a Danish artist, Thomas Dambo, who considers himself a recycled art activist. Dambo spent the last several weeks creating five, 20-foot-tall sculptures made completely from recycled materials, most of which were found nearby Boothbay.

“I like to think that I write modern folklore stories about the current issues of the world,” explained Dambo, who is trying to share a message of conservation.

For him, they represent the yin and yang of nature.

“If you don’t treat nature nice, then nature will stand up and roar and blow your house over. But if you’re treating nature really, really good, it will provide everything you need,” Dambo said.

He has made a career creating trolls made of trash all around the world.

–Beth McEvoy (NEWS CENTER Maine)”

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The Owl House

Last week we got an email from Maria Michaelson, who lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest on a piece of land on which there are numerous innovative buildings, sculptures, boats, a house bus, and a variety of imaginative constructions. It’s called the Alchemy Art Center.

These buildings are mostly built by my husband, Eben Shay, although we live in a community of 8, so we have all been involved in building them. Eben is a boat builder, so he is always making everything curved. We live in the Pacific Northwest, on San Juan Island. And when we bought our property 6 years ago (with some of the buildings there but needing new roofs and reconstruction) we were very inspired by your Shelter books. We have started a nonprofit art center on the property to host artists in residence and art classes.

Also on Instagram:

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Cabins of the Yukon

This is one the best building books I’ve ever seen. These cabins are tuned in, just right. I’ll bet they are all designed and built by builders — refreshingly, not by architects.

Photos are elegant, layout outstanding.

Everything is just right.

At this time only available from publisher in Canada. (I’m encouraging Finella to get it more widely distributed.}

I totally recommend this book.

(I apologize for my photos of the pages, shot on iPhone, not greatest quality of reproduction.)

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