Wednesday 27 November 2013

The Story of a Log Builder and a Timber Framer who Rounded up and Squared Off...

Or....When the Sum of the Total exceeds the Total of the Parts...
(Contributed by the "Log Builder's Wife")

We ran into our good friend Dai Ona at the WoodWorks Fair inVancouver when Johnny was delivering  his ” Tales of Blood  Chilling Horror from the Job-Site” presentation.
Dai is a timber framer (Dai-Zen joinery), whose roots are in log building and that’s how we know him. We used to do a lot of work with Dai when he first moved his timber frame shop to the interior and our collaborations with him are one of the favourite chapters of our working life.

These days we at Nicola LogWorks are doing a lot of heavytimber (CLT and Glue-lam) installation-only work in the commercial arena – and Dai’s shop is a going concern of its own; neither of us are doing much in the way of log work currently, but our approach and philosophy towards our work is defined and branded by our identity as log builders.
Log Builders are different. We cooperate. We communicate. We collaborate. (Some more than others). We generally see our competitors as colleagues – or even cousins – an extended family of like-minded craftsmen and inventors spread across this continent and spilling over into Europe, Japan and the Baltic regions.
As the “log builder’s wife”, it is no secret that I think John is the bees knees, but I also think that Dai is one of the most innovative, kind and interesting people I’ve ever met, and when the two of them joined forces to undertake some local timberframe projects a catalytic reaction occurred and a new entity was birthed.
We called it the “Good-Wood Synergy” (Dai’s name meaning good, and John’s last name a derivative of the French “Bois”  -  which as a bilingual nation, we all know means wood). They marketed themselves as the “the Zen-Boys”.

Together they pooled their strengths and resources to offer a level of service and quality that was superior to what they were able to offer on their own. The culmination of their work together was a very high end – design and build as you go local ranch house.
Some of the work was hand cut at our shop – some of it on Dai’s CNC machine. Dai’s curved lamination proto-type was on our site where we tweaked it a bit and contributed those components to the project also.  Our ability to achieve accurate fits with components fabricated at separate locations is because we both use sophisticated 3D modelling software.

The designer of the building was open to ideas and suggestions which allowed the Zen-Boys to express themselves’ in other mediums besides wood and brainstorm some really unique and beautiful solutions; one being the metal joinery design and details. - notice how they celebrate and mimic wood joinery in the design! They may have come with these ideas on their own – but I doubt it – each new concept fueled another, each success inspired the next.  

It’s in our nature to be involved and engaged – the Nicola LogWorks slogan is " A Passion for Log & Timber Joinery", and I've heard Dai express our respective relationship to our work as our meat - or our food.

We are not just focussed on our scope of the work -  but with the all the materials and work that we tie into and with the materials and work that ties into ours. That defines the log building spirit at its best. We LOVE to build, and we are driven to build sucessful structures.

So we’ve brought the culture, skills and attitude of log building to our current work as HeavyTimber Specialists and that’s great – but we do feel like aliens speaking a different language at times.  
I think in the next post I’ll get John to tell you why…

 Signing off for now… 

“The Log Builder’s Wife”