woodwork (65)

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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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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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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Mortise and Tenon Attic

Attic in Kelmscott Manor (near Oxford, UK), home of William Morris, founder of The Arts and Crafts Movement in England. Photo by Frederic H. Evans.

From the chapter of my forthcoming book Live From California: Breaking Free in the ’60s titled “Studying the Art of Building,” which details my trip to England to study real building after giving up on domes.

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A Round Barn Rises in Rural America

LOGAN COUNTY, Okla. — A curiosity rises amid the wheat fields along rural Highway 33, which cuts through the town of Guthrie.

It’s an immense, circular building — about 15,000 square feet inside — with a domed roof topped by an ornate cupola and a copper eagle. Standing at 72 feet, it is visible for miles on the flat Oklahoma expanse.

Jay Branson is building it in his backyard. He calls it his round barn, but it’s more of a prairie cathedral.

He has been working on it for seven years. As he builds, strangers come. They pull off the highway, haul up his long driveway and stare.

Some, overcome by the beauty, have wept upon seeing the inside of the dome, with its ascending rings of interlocking diamonds and octagons that Jay cut by hand from poplar wood.

At the top is an oculus, a round opening in the roof, like in the Pantheon in Rome. When sunlight streams in, the effect is downright heavenly.

LA Times
MARCH 9, 2023

Sent us by Maui Surfer


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Your Computer Is Not Going to Build a House for You

This the last part of a 7-minute video titled “Shelter – A Video about author Lloyd Kahn” made by Jason Sussberg (shooting 35mm film!) in 2009, when I was 75. He shows Lesley and me doing stuff around the homestead.
Jason included a minute or so of me skateboarding, with the sound guy on his crew (a skater) skating behind me and alongside me with the heavy 35mm camera.

Then I sat on the curb (in front of my skateboard) talking about housing.

Sorry this is so blurry, Jason’s work is clear, we copied this from YouTube.

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Timber-Frame Gothic Style Church in New Zealand

Hi Lloyd,

Here’s another amazing wooden Gothic style church built in nine months by seven carpenters and a manager in 1866. Old St. Paul’s Wellington. The ceiling timbers are Kauri, a native New Zealand hardwood.

Kind regards,
Bill Choquette

P.S.: Been posting infrequently lately due to overwhelming busyness, both personal and professional. Also now deeply into my next book, provisionally titled Live From California, a sort of autobiography, which includes a native Californian’s view of what went on in the ’60s.

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