Hewing a log with an axe creates a sound like no other. After peeling some bark and snapping a chalk line, the hewer stands atop the log and chops notches down its length all the way to the line. In a freshly felled pine, this impact sounds a wet resonance, accentuated with the harmonic ring of axe steel. Get a number of carpenters together, put them in cool, echoing woods, and the rhythmic music of hewing is magical.
That is what I best remember about the Charpentiers sans Frontières project here at the M&T shop back in 2019. Dozens of axes ringing at once, sometimes falling into step, sometimes drifting out, different tempos and beats reverberating. For Joshua and me, those days were spent juggling logistics, running for supplies, or shooting video – we barely had any time to swing an axe.
But now, we’re back in the same woods to hew timbers for another timber frame. And this time, we get to do all the work. Repairing, restoring, raising, as well as recording the whole thing. The woods echo again with axes and timbers, like they did three years ago, like they did 300 years ago.