This was the question that came when social enterprise, Wildside in Scotland, visited our site and saw our shelter. And it led to a year long project to build a woodland workshop for them in Kilsyth. Here's Paul's take on the project.
The project was built around us teaching the community to fashion a roundwood timber frame workshop. Drawings were submitted, costs estimated and materials sourced. Funding was gained, community groups approached and building control sought. Our contribution to the project had two main aims: to demonstrate traditional timber use; and to teach a wide range of people woodwork using hand tools.
We got started on site - a small woodland at Kilsyth Primary School, in August 2018, working initially with the out of school group to make oak pegs to hold the frame together and a shave horse. Things got serious when the school term started. We set up a framing area known as a bone yard to make sure the frames were in the right places and spent our time working steadily each Thursday on the pile of larch logs sourced from Fife.
Several school groups joined in and we set up Axe Maidens, a female focused volunteer group. Each week we worked with draw knives, axes, augers and chisels to craft each timber into a building component.
It wasn’t all hewing and chiselling though. We took pupils from the primary to Summerlee museum, on a very wet day to look at their old sawmill and woodwork. During the project we gathered wooden objects from volunteers and visitors for a display. We also had help from a horse logger moving the timbers around site.
As with most buildings there were stages of doubt, some delays and plenty of mixed weather. But that all changed once the frame was erected. It’s a transformation that seems to surprise every time. Once the roof, some hand rails and a step were completed it was just the nervous wait for the building control inspection... which we passed with flying colours!
What better way to celebrate that than with a party? We invited everyone that had been involved and local dignitaries to the opening ceremony. There was music, story telling, crafts and food in and around the new addition to the landscape.
We learned a lot from this process and would love to work with other communities on similar builds. So, let's get on to the next one!