I’ve been binge watching old episodes of Barnwood Builders (diy network), which follows a group of men who reclaim old decaying log cabins from the 1700s-1800s. They restore the original logs and rebuild the cabins so they can be turned into new log cabins, giving life to a piece of our history that is rapidly disappearing. It is interesting to learn about the history of pioneer building techniques, how to cut notches and chink, how to build a roof, etc. (And 68 year old Kentucky native Johnny Jett cracks me up.)
Medieval construction was also largely timber based, and some of what the pioneers did hadn’t changed all that much from medieval times. I found this video that shows how trees were transformed into wood beams with nothing but hand tools. Since I’m always fascinated by the daily life aspect of the Middle Ages, I enjoy videos like these–though I have to say, I cringed a little at the obvious safety issue of repeatedly swinging an ax toward your body. At any rate, this is the kind of detail that helps me with my world building when I’m writing.
2 thoughts on “Medieval Monday: Timber!”
Really interesting Alison, and great that these skills are being kept alive. In Upper Mustang, Nepal, where I went last year, and about which I write in my blog, techniques like these are still being used for the same reason they were in the Middle Ages: no electricity. These is some electricity, but it’s sporadic and often used only for lighting. Only Lo Manthang, the capital, (really just a very large village) now has 24 hour power thanks to a newly installed solar plant. Trees are specially grown in walled groves to protect them from grazing animals, otherwise Upper Mustang is a desert. They are grown solely for building.