A slideshow of the building and raising of the entry bent.

For a higher resolution slideshow go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/19766317@N00/sets/72157619931852116/show/

During the two weeks that the timber framers were here building the frame for the new forge building, I had the privilege of taking photos of the entire project, from the preparation of the timbers to the assembly and raising of the frame. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a group of people so dedicated to a craft. The process of building the artful bent that is located at the entrance to the new forge is a fine example of this. Many hours and a great amount of focused energy went into the design, cutting and fitting of the 2 massive yellow pine logs that form an arch on the bent.

Early on I remember seeing those 2 curved logs resting on the bed of a trailer wondering “Is this something that the saw mill rejected?” They sort of stood out from the perfectly square beams neatly stacked around the perimeter of the Festival Barn. Turns out those logs were hauled over the north Georgia mountains from South Carolina by timber framer Stephen Morrison who had been faithfully storing the logs on his property for 7 years, waiting for the right project to come along.

Stephen explained that the logs had been kept in a natural “live edge” state which means they have not been sawed into the squared-off edges as all the other beams being used for the structure. The way that these organic boughs are incorporated into the bent design is magical. Connected to a large wooden pin that suspends from the top of the bent, the logs rise up and flow across one another to form a magnificent arch.

The extraordinary amount of time it took to create the entry, from the 7-year storage of the logs on Stephen’s property to the careful measuring and cutting and fitting, seems so right for a structure that is built to last hundreds of years. It is traditional to add a “live edge”  feature to a timber frame structure, but most modern timber frame builders do not do this because it is, well, a little bit odd…perhaps something the neighbors would not appreciate. For the Folk School, the unique “live edge” design fits right in and lends a medieval, almost fairy tale quality to the building. As a matter of fact, I think I just saw Robin Hood and his Merry Men riding past that entry way.