Gary Lazarowski – Four Winds Log Craft
Some of the tools in the this tool exhibit are from my time at the Allen Mackie School of Log Building in Prince George, B.C. in the 1980’s. Mackie’s premise was that an everyday person could build a log home on their land. The school trained people in how to build and understand log construction. Alan Mackie’s book, Notches of All Kinds, encouraged me to become a log builder.
In the Museum’s archives are a collection of Canadian and American Log Builder Assn. publications that explains the finer points of log building from the ground up. Throughout my time as a log builder, I often used the publication and log span tables as references. Most of the information published was about shrinkage of logs and notches, including how the builder lays out the beginning of log buildings. That included the size of logs to be used. Early stave church builders would use logs that were felled, leaving the center of the butt attached to the tree and it would suck up as much sap as it could. Since that was the first round on the bottom of the structure, the sap would help protect the logs from ants and other wood damaging insects.
Tools Used in Log Building and Timber Framing
The leather pouch on display was the pouch that I used keeping the slicks, gouges and chisels so that I could pack them and keep them safe from job to job.
We have come a long way from using obsidian rock to make tools. The first metals of value were meteoric iron and natural copper. The evolution of detectable metal tool making of mixing metals goes back to 2,500 B.C.
In this display you will see floren Tool, a gouge, and on the right a slick. Below the slick is a draw knife. At the Mackie School, every group of log building students gets a visit from Leonard Lassiter selling his tools. He would spend hours talking about the properties of the tools he fabricated. All of Leonard’s tools were made from John Deere pressure plates and VW leaf springs. The other chisels and the swan neck were made by Quinton Barr. Quinton studied steel making from many countries. He made fine steel tools.
The Starrett Divider Scriber that many log builders use today used lead pencils and lead ink pencils. As you scribed the log, the pencils wore down by use, and you would have to resharpen the pencils. The Ultra Scriber was machined to exact specs and used plotter ink cartridges that would not wear down. Therefore, you could level the scriber once in the morning and adjust the Scriber up or down for the rest of the day without re-leveling the Scriber.
The planes, common plane, shoulder and rabbit plane, were used for smoothing wood to help make your connection fit tight. These planes were made in Japan. The cutting edge is hand forged. The wood is “Asin” – a Japanese Oak. These are pull planes.