Carpentry (203)

Vin Gorman's Hand-Built Sauna

…The beams are recycled old–growth redwood, and the interior panelling is Port Orford cedar from a forest that is sustainably managed. Plaster on the exterior is a plaster mix with 80% of the sand replaced by vermiculite and fiberglass. The base consists of poured concrete ribs. It’s actually portable…

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Stunning Treehouse



There is something about the idea of a treehouse that truly captures the imagination. For builders, it’s a licence to let their creativity run wild and construct something which is playful and adventurous. For years now the team at Nelson Treehouse and Supply (better known as the Treehouse Masters from their hit TV show) have been doing just that. This week we were fortunate enough to be able to visit one of their latest projects in Seattle, Washington.

The treehouse is accessed by a rustic set of stairs which wrap around the trunk of the tree and curve down to the ground below.

The exterior of the treehouse is exquisitely finished, with spectacular yellow cedar shingles. A large porch area provides plenty of space to relax, entertain and enjoy being up amongst the trees…

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Alan Beckwith's Homestead

…Alan did everything himself: carpentry, plumbing, wiring (solar electricity and hydro), and developed his own water supply. He drives a tractor, maintains several miles of roads, makes beer and wine, and raises pigs and ducks. A lot of people have started homesteads since the 60’s, but seldom have they got as far along as this…

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Seaside Cabin Built by Bruno Atkey

The wilderness seaside cabin is 43 miles from the nearest road and is on the westernmost point of land on the ocean side of Vancouver Island. It is 20′ × 24′ and framed entirely from beach wood. All the wall and roof sheathing boards are split from cedar on the site, as is the roofing, which is 3′ long. It was built 1987.

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Exquisite Sauna Built by Jesus Sierra

I finished building this sauna in June 2017 with some help from a few friends. All the wood is reclaimed apart from a a few lengths of dimensional timber. The round larch posts are leftovers from previous jobs.The floor, roof planks, internal and external cladding, benches, rafters, tie beams, wall plates, fascia boards, and even the door are made with reclaimed scaffold planks (96 of them!) that I bought from a scaffolding company. The banister and spindles are off-cuts from a job I did many years ago.

Only new items are the (old-looking) hinges, the insulation (aluminum-polyester blanket), the thermometer/hydrometer, and some stained glass. The wood burner was beautifully crafted from an old gas bottle by Ed Osborne from Parp Industrie in Devon.

The dragon heads up in the fascia boards have hollow eyes with embedded red stained glass. When the late evening sun hits the back of them, they shine and make the dragons look alive. Totally unnecessary detail but it really puts a smile on people’s face the first time they see it…

The platform is 3.9m long by 2.2m wide and the interior is 2.6m by 1.8m. It accommodates 7 people in comfort or up to 11 if they are very friendly…

I call the style “Euro folk fusion”. It’s based on the very rich (although a bit forgotten) European wooden building tradition. It’s one part traditional Finnish sauna, a Norwegian wood cabin, a Slovakian log cabin, a Spanish horreo from Asturias region and a splash of Swiss alpine chalet.

All the materials including wood burner, stainless steel flue, glass, screws, hinges, insulation, and timber cost me just over £1000.

–Jesus Sierra
www.sierraecocarpentry.com

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Urban Treehouse 63-Unit Apartment Building in Italy

…The undulating structure creates a transition from outdoors to in, holding 150 trees that absorb close to 200,000 liters of carbon dioxide an hour. This natural absorption brings pollution protection to its residents, helping to eliminate harmful gasses caused by cars and harsh sounds from the bustling streets outside. The trees’ seasonal progression also creates the ideal microclimate inside the building, steadying temperature extremes during the cold and warmer months…

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Timber Owl Cabin in the French Countryside

Imagine hiking through the greenery around Bordeaux, France, and coming upon a magical little house in the shape of three owls. We’re guessing you’d want to stay awhile, and that’s the point. Les Guetteurs (The Watchers) is one of six oddball, off-grid huts in the Refuges Périurbains (Peri-urban shelters), a program intended to draw curious guests to discover new areas on the edge of the city (a similar project has also taken hold just outside of Copenhagen.)

Designed by Candice Pétrillo and constructed by the French workshop Zébra3/Buy-Sellf, the building was made to resemble a group of small, ground-nesting owls that live in the wetlands around the structure. From the exterior, the timber building looks like a huddle of three owls, their eyes made of large round windows and feathers made from long strips of bent plywood and shorter plywood shingles…

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Nonagan Yurt Treehouse



I spent the weekend at Mountain View Air B&B building a canted-wall nonagon yurt treehouse! I worked with SunRay Kelley, Bonnie, Bob-O, and Tyler Smith. This was such a fun project. I spent one weekend helping assemble the walls for the kit; SunRay and his team did the rest during the week; and last weekend, we built the platform and erected the nonagon yurt.

–Travis Skinner

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The Temple of Promise Built for Burning Man

Temple of Promise, the unbuilt temple for Burning Man 2014

Lloyd,

Humans’ first large structures were long houses. Simple pit houses with a circle of lengths of branches or trees were expanded for larger groups by taking those same short spans and arranging them along a line: a Long House. These basis structures are indigenous to almost all ancient cultures. I felt that the temple at burning man needed to be a reference to our most ancient structures; well before the rise of organized religions. These were spaces for the first assembly of a tribe. A time when we all knew each other, when we all built the building, and we all shared risks, adventures, celebrations and solemn moments. The Temple of Promise was about simplicity of sharing as a group.

When I was 15 or 16, I found Shelter in the local library on the same shelf as Frank Lloyd Wright. The two sets of images gripped my and never let go. Wright’s work was both art and craft mixed with aspiration, while Shelter was accessible, immediate and endearing. My copy of Shelter was worn at the edges within a year was very quickly pile of loose but revered pages. Thirty years later, after working in the trades, completing architecture school, and working in the East Coast, Europe, Asia and Australia and moving to the West Coast, I opened boxes of old possessions. Shelter greeted me from the pile. You can only imagine my joy when I realized that it was written and published just a few miles from where I now called home. I can never fully express the joy and insight Shelter has given me. It gave me a direction and remains a strong reference in my life.

Thank you, Lloyd Kahn,
–Ross

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Learn to Timber Frame Book Review

Will Beemer of The Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts was kind enough to send us this amazing book on learning to build using the timber framing technique. I have always been amazed by this particular process of framing, watched a ton of YouTube videos on builds using this technique, but never really understood the process fully.

I now know about wood selection, the tools needed, layout and cutting, framing, sills, joists, braces, etc. This book gave me a great starting point for using timber frame building techniques. Thank you so much Will! Can’t wait to start a project!

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