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What I did this summer

No, I did not go to Europe like seemingly every other American... alas, my 17-year old dog prevents us from traveling these days. I was in Maine most of the summer, though, so can't really complain :) While I was there, I took advantage of a great local resource -- Shelter Institute -- where I learned about designing & building a house AND actually fabricated a 24' x 32' timber frame structure. This one, in fact:

The big question I get from people who hear about this is whether I plan to build my own home. And while that was definitely the motivation for many of my classmates, for me, taking the course was more about building knowledge and competencies to be better informed when working with contractors, generally more handy and able to take care of more small house fixes myself, and of course, a better resource for my clients.

Over the course of three weeks, I learned about constructing foundations, framing out walls and assembling roofing structures:

Designing plumbing systems and wiring electrical panels:

Creating models from building plans:

Sharpening a chisel until it can shave hair (obviously not my arm here!):

Using said chisel to fashion mortise-and-tenon, dovetail and other fancy joints:

...and managing to only nick a finger instead of slicing it off (this IS my hand):

All in all I learned a ton, met an amazingly diverse group of people that ranged from cattle ranchers to architects to builders to techies. Here are a few of us on the final day, standing on the second floor of the timberframe we erected :)

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