Comment with Facebook
Here we are
This is mostly my fault. We’re still here because I’m trying to get the Peace Pavilion project to some sort of acceptable endpoint, which I’ve decided is when all the major timber framing is done. I’m guessing one more day to make the remaining three rafters with the chainsaw mill, and another long day of raising the center post and framing the rafters into place. Then we’re off. My apologies for the protracted departure.
If you’re not familiar with the Peace Pavilion rebuild, you must not have spoken to me in the last year. I feel like I’ve been working on this project as long as I’ve been at the camp. Behind our dining hall we have a cob meeting area with an arched gate into the kitchen garden. The roof covering all this burned in the fire a few years ago, and we’ve been trying to slow the inevitable water damage with tarps ever since. (Cob=impervious to fire, weak-kneed when faced with a fine drizzle. Age-old search for the perfect building material continues.)
One of the coolest things about cob, aside from its dragon-proofness and sculptural potential, is that you can source it from your own property if your soil contains clay. If you can live with the environmental disturbance of a minor excavation, cob is as sustainable as building materials get. Responsible timber harvesting is also pretty sustainable, and in a synergistic coincidence, Camp Stevens resides on 250 acres of mixed oak and pine forest with clay deposits. Previous staff had prepped a few fire-killed logs for building, but by the time I got to them, they were too rotted out to use. Still, building with lumber sourced from the camp property seemed like the right way to do the project.
I frequently find researching things much easier than actually doing them. Luckily this time around I actually got around to building something, but after reading everything I could find on the internet about cutting down trees and turning them into dimensional lumber, I found myself in Great Meadow, hand-shaping timbers with an axe. This, it turned out, was not a fast process.
At some point I’ll get really nerdy about all the things I learned doing this project– the intricacies of hewing, chainsaw milling, octagonal joinery, lifting giant logs with a gin pole, etc. Towards the end now, I also have more fully formed thoughts about the actual sustainability of projects like this, why the aesthetic appeals to me, and lots more. But for now, I just wanted to throw some pictures out there to show the thing that’s wrestling the bike trip for my enthusiasm and energy, and also so you remember to direct all your shit at me when you’re making jokes about why we haven’t left yet. Laney is not to blame.
A special thanks to everyone that lent a hand during the construction process, especially the Thanksgiving Camp carvers, Garrett for documenting everything, and the Camp Stevens admins and Laney for their infinite patience.