Barn club : a tale of forgotten elm trees, traditional craft and community spirit / Robert J. Somerville.

by Somerville, Robert J [author.]Looking glass.

Publisher: White River Junction, Vermont : Chelsea Green Publishing, [2021]Description: xii, 259 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some colour) ; 23 cm.ISBN: 160358966X; 9781603589666.Subject(s): Somerville, Robert JLooking glass | Barns -- England -- Hertfordshire -- Design and construction | Building, Wooden -- England -- Hertfordshire | ElmLooking glass | Rustic woodworkLooking glass | Vernacular architecture -- England -- HertfordshireNote: Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-259). Summary: "When Robert Somerville moved to Hertfordshire from Devon, he discovered an unexpected landscape rich with wildlife, particularly elm trees. Nestled within London's commuter belt, this wooded wilderness inspired Somerville, a lifelong woodworker, to revive the ancient tradition of hand-raising barns using locally sourced elm timber for material and the local community as labour. The story of the elm tree in the landscape is central to Barn Club. Its natural history and its historic importance in England, continental Europe and North America make for a fascinating story told by the author, a long-time admirer of this diverse and remarkable forest denizen. The decline of the elm, which began more than a century ago, was due to an imported fungal disease, and nearly spelled its doom. Yet the tree has survived, often unnoticed, throughout the English countryside and even within some cities. Barn Club is about craft, landscape and community. It follows the building of Carley Barn, a traditional Hertfordshire elm barn, made by hand with the help of volunteers over the course of one year. The last time barns were made in this way was 150 years ago, so the experience provides unique insights into aspects of craft construction that have faded from modern life. What happens when we imbue our structures with the local landscape? When we leave behind the vibrations, whines and whirrs of power tools in exchange for the delicate dexterity of the hands and eyes? When every mark in the wood tells the story of a joint effort? Barn Club calls on us to discover our landscapes more intimately and explore the joys of making beautiful things by hand, together"-- Provided by publisher.Alternative form: Online version: Somerville, Robert J. Barn Club 9781603589673
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"In today's ego-techno-centred world, Robert Somerville's . . . Barn Club approach is a way forward that utilizes local traditions, local materials, and local hands to create a built environment that is more harmonious with the natural world and of course more beautiful."--Jack A. Sobon, architect, timber framer, and author of Hand Hewn

"Somerville knows more about wooden barn construction than almost anyone alive."--The Telegraph

Natural history meets traditional hand craft in this celebration of the elm tree and community spirit.

When renowned craftsman Robert Somerville moved to Hertfordshire in southern England, he discovered an unexpected landscape rich with wildlife and elm trees. Nestled within London's commuter belt, this wooded farmland inspired Somerville, a lifelong woodworker, to revive the ancient tradition of hand-raising barns.

Barn Club follows the building of Carley Barn over the course of one year. Volunteers from all walks of life joined Barn Club, inspired to learn this ancient skill of building elm barns by hand, at its own quiet pace and in the company of others, while using timber from the local woods.

The tale of the elm tree in its landscape is central to Barn Club. Its natural history, historic importance, and remarkable survival make for a fascinating story.

This is a tale of forgotten trees, a local landscape, and an ancient craft.

This book includes sixteen pages of color photographs, and black and white line drawings of techniques and traditional timber frame barns feature throughout.

Perfect for fans of Norwegian Wood and The Hidden Life of Trees.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 257-259).

"When Robert Somerville moved to Hertfordshire from Devon, he discovered an unexpected landscape rich with wildlife, particularly elm trees. Nestled within London's commuter belt, this wooded wilderness inspired Somerville, a lifelong woodworker, to revive the ancient tradition of hand-raising barns using locally sourced elm timber for material and the local community as labour. The story of the elm tree in the landscape is central to Barn Club. Its natural history and its historic importance in England, continental Europe and North America make for a fascinating story told by the author, a long-time admirer of this diverse and remarkable forest denizen. The decline of the elm, which began more than a century ago, was due to an imported fungal disease, and nearly spelled its doom. Yet the tree has survived, often unnoticed, throughout the English countryside and even within some cities. Barn Club is about craft, landscape and community. It follows the building of Carley Barn, a traditional Hertfordshire elm barn, made by hand with the help of volunteers over the course of one year. The last time barns were made in this way was 150 years ago, so the experience provides unique insights into aspects of craft construction that have faded from modern life. What happens when we imbue our structures with the local landscape? When we leave behind the vibrations, whines and whirrs of power tools in exchange for the delicate dexterity of the hands and eyes? When every mark in the wood tells the story of a joint effort? Barn Club calls on us to discover our landscapes more intimately and explore the joys of making beautiful things by hand, together"-- Provided by publisher.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Preface (p. ix)
  • Acknowledgements (p. xi)
  • 1 A Different Way of Working (p. 1)
  • 2 Starting Points (p. 13)
  • 3 Wych Elms, Field Elms and Wildings (p. 39)
  • 4 Plinths, Plans and Preparations (p. 69)
  • 5 A Walk in the Wood (p. 83)
  • 6 The Red Elm, the White and the Sand (p. 105)
  • 7 Boxed Hearts and Waney Edges (p. 129)
  • 8 Two Buckets Full of Pegs (p. 151)
  • 9 Plumb-Bob Scribing (p. 165)
  • 10 Cutting a Mortice and Tenon (p. 184)
  • 11 Laying-Up the Frames (p. 202)
  • 12 The Barn Raising (p. 224)
  • Conclusion (p. 243)
  • Glossary of Terms (p. 245)
  • Resources (p. 257)

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