[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index][Search Archives]
Greetings unto all here at Cheapside, and the drunken brawlers within
that tavern over there, and any others within the sound of my voice!
I am Dafydd ap Gwystl, and I cry your attention! For I have News of
Import, at least I hope many will find it so, and a Plea for Assistance!
Six or so months past, at the University of Atlantia, some of you will
know that I taught a course on SCA Architecture. The climax of that
course was my description of a dream I have, a dream where a fine
pavilion is NOT the top-end of our efforts to recreate living quarters
at Pennsic, Emerald, and other large events. In other words, ...
The Great Town-House Project!
The objective of my dream, my plan, is to have a design (and a working
prototype) for a portable, take-down 15th century half-timbered building.
The constraints are these: it should be inexpensive (no more expensive
than a pavilion, and preferably less), it should be portable (breaking
down into slabs that can be transported on a flat-bed trailer), it
should be possible for a few people to put up in a reasonable time
(no more than an order of magnitude more than a pavilion of similar
footprint), and it should look DAMN COOL. (Which, for me and all other
Right-Thinking people, means that it should give a good simulation of
a permanent half-timbered building from a short distance away).
Am I Insane? Perhaps, but not about this! At the last two Pennsics
there has been a structure (in the Marketplace near the food court)
called Pottershall. Those of you who have seen it will know whereof
I speak--it is a two-story Tudor house with the stalls of eight or
more merchants within, built by Master Seppo (the potter of Pottershall).
Seppo's design is sturdy and sound, and I have discussed it with him
at some length.
My intent is this: as a 'proof of concept', I will build a 15th century
town-house, with a small shop in front, a passage beside the shop leading
to a great hall, and a second-floor solar above the shop. This will be a
full-scale reproduction of a typical medieval town building. This
proof-of-concept building will allow me to do the following things:
Prove and refine the design
Determine set-up and take-down time for the building
Determine construction cost and time
Actually construct a prototype.
Once I have the above information, I will publish it in an article in
the Oak. This will allow others, individuals, groups, and households,
to construct their own buildings. In my most far-flung misty conjectures
I can see an Emerald Joust, Faire event, or Night On The Towne event
where four or five such buildings give a real sense of being in a
medieval town (minus the poor sewer systems, I hope).
My back-of-the-envelope SWAGs are that a building as I describe for
my prototype (12' by 15' footprint, 12' by 8' second-floor room,
18 inch jetty/overhang in front) would cost $450 in materials, take
a few weekends for a 3-5 man crew to construct, be portable on an
inexpensive flatbed trailer, and take about 2 hours for a 3-man
crew to put up or take down. This all compares very favorably to
a pavilion of the same size--the cost may even be lower than that of
a comparable pavilion.
So, that is the news part.
Now comes the Plea for Assistance.
Many people have approached me during my University class and subsequently
asking if they can help with this project, and how they can.
This effort will require more labour and experimentation than any I have
embarked upon in some time, and is more suited to the participation of
others than any I have yet taken on. So here I am posting an open invitation
for you to contact me if you wish to be involved with this project.
Involved, in this case, can mean a wide variety of support.
To attempt this project I will need a lot of stuff. Back-of-the-envelope
initial estimates are that I will need:
30 4x8 sheets of plywood (variously 3/4", 1/2", and 1/4")
160 boards of 8' long rough-cut 1x7 lumber
similar amounts of rough-cut 1x3 and 1x5 lumber
several gallons of stain
several/many gallons of paint (to make the plywood look like
a myriad deck screws of various sizes
several tens of construction-grade 2x4s
Any assistance in finding inexpensive building materials as
described above would be greatly appreciated. I cannot do a
lot of footwork for this, and if you are away from the DC Metro
area, your prices on materials are almost certain to be less than
mine. Even sending me price quotes from your local sources on
rough-cut boards, deck screws, and plywood would be very helpful.
I have many of the tools necessary. However, the loan of additional
power drills, circular saws, sawhorses, and the like would certainly
be a help. Paintbrushes/rollers, construction pencils, measuring
tapes ... little things.
If you are interested, please send me a note. Experience with
construction or power tools is a plus. Enthusiasm is necessary.
When we finish, you will know how to build these things. Consider
this to be a practical class in takedown medieval house design for
the University of Atlantia. When I publish the Oak article (and
the subsequent TI article and/or Compleat Anachronist that I
envision) I will give credit where it is due.
There are some pieces that I cannot make, and I would like to
ask for assistance from some of the talented ironworkers and
blacksmiths out there. In particular, I need sturdy door
pintles and straps, and a couple of large hinges for the shop
shutters. Easy enough for many of you to make; impossible for
This is the hard part. All the other stuff, I could do by myself
(or force my squires to help with :^). But I cannot build this
house in the tiny back yard of my little modern townhouse in
Roxbury. What is needed is a site with both storage space and
--Storage: ideally, a barn or something like (empty two-car garage).
If all else fails, outdoor space can be modified to be
acceptable for storing the materials and unfinished pieces
by using tarps and cinderblocks and sawhorses, but a barn
would be ideal. Some secure area for tool storage is
--Construction Space: a flat wide outdoor area where we can make
a lot of noise. Electrical power is necessary.
The location will need to be not too far from me. Caer Mear or
Isenfir are about the farthest south that is possible. Any
Maryland site is probably OK.
If you are willing to help, please look around you for possible
sites and get in touch with me about them. This is my first and
most urgent need.
Once I have a site for construction, I will start looking for
materials. There will be one expedition (almost certainly on
a weekend) where I will go buy materials and deliver them to
the construction site.
Once the site and materials are together, I will plan for one
or two construction weekends. I don't think it will take
much longer than two weekends.
If you are interested in being involved in this project, you
may send me email requesting to be on an email mailing list.
I will not be posting regular updates to Atlantia list hereafter.
The mailing list will be used to keep interested people in
contact and updated about the progress (and delays) of the
Thank you for your attention!
Dafydd ap Gwystl, Knight, Laurel, Pelican, Earl, and other stuff.
List Archives, FAQ, FTP: http://sca.wayfarer.org/merryrose/
Admin. requests: firstname.lastname@example.org