Silence at the Job Site


It has been two days since our 35 dear new friends left, and I can still hardly believe it happened. If it wasn’t for the standing frame and the scattered hewing stations with their empty bunks and mounds of woodchips, I’d be tempted to believe this was all a dream.

But as I’ve thought about it further, I’ve realized that this was a dream – it was exactly the kind of convivial hand-tool project that I’ve longed to host. Over the years, I’ve had different ideas of ways to bring people into our space to work together on something beautiful. I see our workshops as part of that vision, but I’ve known there was something even bigger out there – I just didn’t know what it was. This side of the CSF project, I have come to see that this was my dream come true.

Julia and I had the most beautiful and inspiring 10 days of our lives. We met and worked alongside some of the most skilled, humble, and generous people around. We hustled and sweat. We feasted and laughed. And as we drove the last pegs into the frame on Saturday, there were tears of joy in many of our eyes. There are so many things I could say now and countless stories I could tell. And there is even more that I am still reflecting on.

One thing I can say for sure, though, is that this week was too special not to share with you all. To this end, Mike and I have decided that we will be publishing about this event in two formats: a film documentary and a full-length book. The documentary was filmed by (and will be edited by) my brother, Sam Klein, an independent filmmaker who recently moved from L.A. to New York City. We’re aiming for the film to be something between a documentary that highlights the people and overall narrative and an instructional video that provides the nitty gritty details. We have no delusions that we will be able to provide a comprehensive training course on timber framing – we intend rather to include a number explanations of the construction methods that woodworkers would be dying to see in a documentary. (It’ll be a documentary designed for woodworking geeks that want details!) We hope this will be available for purchase before the end of the year.

 

The book, with a working title of Another Work is Possible, will be a large format photographically based volume that includes everything from the background story of the project, to descriptions of construction methods, to philosophical reflections of the meaning and value of such a project in modern society. There is no expected release date as of yet, but I can say that it is the next thing I am working on, and I am anxious to get it into your hands.

 

There are thousands of photographs to sort through and hours and hours of footage to review, but it is our goal to get this project out into the world as soon as we can. We want to show that skilled people working together with simple tools can do amazing things.

Many people thought this project was impossible – they scoffed at the idea that a group of people could build an entire timber frame from logs in one week without power tools. But this project has proved that another work is possible. When we choose to joyfully work together and to embrace the physicality of manual labor, we have no need for machinery. For me, the brutal efficiency of mechanization will never outweigh the echo of laughter and axes ringing through the forest.

It’s only been a couple days and I miss my friends already.

-Joshua