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Measure Twice. Cut Once.

Measure Twice. Cut Once.

by Kate Sutton

2 weeks ago


Part of the CERES Fair Food newlsetter series, words by Chris Ennis.

There seems to be so many opportunities to mess up a perfectly good piece of timber even before a walking-DIY-disaster like me tries to bang in a nail straight.

Watching Fair Wood grow over the past year I’m slowly discovering that for such a seemingly simple material there seems to be an inordinate number of things that can go wrong during the whole forestry to banging-in-nails process.

Right from the start you can plant your tree at the wrong time or just plant the wrong tree.

Then you can get that right but forget to protect it from rabbits, deer, wallabies, goats, sheep or cows.

You can prune too late or too much or too little.

You can can over or under-thin or get all hung-up felling.

At the mill you can quarter-saw your log instead of back-saw it or vice versa.

And don’t get me started on drying; mess this up and there’s end-splitting, cupping, warping, surface and internal checking or even God forbid, collapse!

And that’s before it gets stacked or strapped on a truck all wrong, dropped by a forkie or left out in the rain by the new apprentice the day before it’s supposed to be installed

Which makes the picture above a kind of vision splendid.

This owner-built house in Metcalfe, between Kyneton and Castlemaine, has been built entirely using Fair Wood, apart from a couple of lintels and a few floor trusses.

Milled from a detailed cutting list at two different sawmills and left rough-sawn so the special hempcrete render would stick better – several truckloads turned up on site – timed to arrive just as the builders needed them.

And although this is all deeply logistically satisfying, the greater joy is knowing that this house is built out of timber grown here, on Victorian farms, and not from Big Hardware’s default baltic pine – logged from the world’s last standing boreal forests.

If this sort of timber-talk gives you tingles you can discover what timber we have on our timber availabilty list.