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Hand Hewn: The Traditions, Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing
By: Jack Sobon
Humans have been using axes to hew structures of wood for untold centuries. But recently, as cookie-cutter and pre-fab homes have become the norm, we’ve lost the character and warmth of the handmade in our dwellings. As Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.” How are the bland spaces and clinical settings of our modern homes and businesses shaping us?
Legendary architect and timber framer Jack Sobon has written a gorgeous volume to recapture that lost beauty. In Hand Hewn, he makes an impassioned argument for the charm, practicality, and wholesomeness of building out of rough timbers. First approaching the topic from philosophical and historical perspectives, he then dives into the details of techniques, tools, design, and practice. With chapters such as “An Intimacy with Wood,” “Reading an Old Building,” and “Why Timber Framing is Still Relevant Today,” Sobon lays out a beautifully down-to-earth case for hewing a structure by hand.
Flipping through this book is an eye-popping treat. Sobon has included photographs of a variety of European and early American frame structures as well as modern ones, many of which he himself designed and built. And alongside those photos are concise and practical insights for tuning up a broad axe, or laying out joinery, or how to assess an old barn. This book is sure to delight any hand-tool woodworker, and we are pleased to offer it in our store.
9-1/2" x 11-3/4". Hardcover. Published by Storey Publishing, North Adams, MA. 2019. 272 pages.
“An essential book for every builder – of anything.” – Will Beemer