First Steps in Woodworking

Following a lengthy study-journey on wood-framing as a basis for hemp-lime construction I have recently begun looking into carpentry as a preparation for outfitting our future home with custom made furniture.

At this point I am approaching woodworking with a practical outlook – we’re going to need kitchen cabinets to place our sink so that we can have running water and we are going to need a simple raised-platform to place our sleeping mat. Practical means we’re going to need some things during the construction process itself – they have to be simple for us to build on site.

This is an important point because woodworking also has an artistic and meditative side to it and though we may eventually have a space for this kind of woodworking – this will only come at a later time. Right now I am focusing on extracting the most practical, feasible, accessible, efficient and affordable information I can find. This includes design, materials, tools and techniques. I believe this is important because I have found that if I lose sight of this objective I can get pulled in different directions that dissipate my energy and focus.

This is a list of some of the online resources I have been spending time with:

Though I try to avoid anything Google wherever possible, Sketchup keeps coming back as a useful tool so:

One of the most basic tools in wood-working is a workbench – and as many seem to have done, I too plan to design and build my own. There are tons of designs and ideas out there – but again I am finding myself having to filter them out through my needs, abilities and priorities. Following are a few resources I have set aside (I have rejected many more!) to use when I get around to building my workbench:

Learning to Read Plans

I’ve been spending the last few weeks immersed in reading about wood-framing. I’m really enjoying the experience of feeling that it really is possible to self-build a home. It’s logical, straightforward and building with hemp simplifies it even more.

I recently came across these sample PDF plans of an eco-house from Studs – a UK timber frame design company. I am happy to say that it isn’t all giberish to me anymore 🙂 I still can’t read it all – and some parts are a bit overwhelming – but I think it’s good practice to start looking at such plans. They provide house design ideas, they teach structural lessons and they prepare you to communicate with other professional which we expect to be doing.

Framing Windows

Framing (as I have recently learned) is a term that describes the wooden infrastructure of a house. I’ve started searching around – and this is the first simple  and useful post I found on framing – at least for someone like me who knows nothing about it. It’s not much – but a simple illustration, component names and the basic logic of framing are all in this concise post.

Another useful post in this friendly website is book recommendations for framing.

Browsing Cluj

Andreea is spending time with local newspapers looking for houses in villages in Cluj. We hope to fall in love with a place that is easily accessible from the main city of Cluj-Napoca (so that we can have access to the city when we need it and so that we remain accessible to others). Our plan is to go on daily excursions (we don’t have a car yet – so we will either rent a car when we need it or hire a taxi & driver to spend the day with us) to see places and get to know the area.

Andreea is using a couple of useful tools to get acquainted with the Cluj area. The first is a zoomable map of cluj. The second is a tool for estimating distances and travel time – there are two useful links for this that offer slightly differing estimates. One includes an illustrated path on a map and the other offers distance and time estimates via major locations.