Saturday, 1 June 2013

Artisans of Australia: Timbercraft

I’ve watched this a few times in the last few years and I come away envious each time. Always love seeing craftspeople who really know how to use their tools, and seeing these two gentlemen wield various axes, (as well as a crosscut felling saw, a froe, and a drawknife), they are clearly masters. I’ve felled trees with an axe quite a few times, but hewing a log with a broad axe and an adze is something I’ve never done. These two, Bill Boyd and Mark Garner make it look easy. Plus, Mr. Garner wears a great looking hat while he does it. 

Filmed in 1984, this short film shows efforts to restore Coolamine Homestead in the Kosciuszko National Park. I appreciate not only that they made an effort to rebuild these structures, (drop slab alpine ash timber huts to be precise - examples of a building technique in sync with the surrounding environment), but also that they used the tools and techniques that would have been used at the time of its construction, circa the 1880’s.

I have to wonder though, 30 years after this film was made, whether anyone is left in Australia who could do this work. I suspect that misters Boyd and Garner were a rare breed even then.

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