-Adam Miller, October 2016
When it came time for me to get serious about my compound joinery, I decided to work through a series of exercises in the Billon Freres classic, L'Art du Trait de Charpenterie. Originally published over a century ago, Billon Freres remains in print through Editions H. Vial in France.
The guitarde is a bold statement of what l'art du trait can create. Quite in contrast to today's world of computer modeling and speed squares, every piece of information required to build the guitarde is drawn on a single sheet of paper, the epure. In the photos, you can see the elevations of each component folded down around the central plan view of the guitarde. Lines from points in plan intersect with reference lines to define the curves in the elevations. Directly transferring series of points in plan and elevation onto the work-piece yield multiply curved components and the corresponding compound (and curved compound) cuts to mate them together into the guitarde.
The other photos show the two capucines I built as preludes to the guitarde. The first is rectangular in plan with irregular hips and jack rafters. The second is similarly framed, but adds the curved tenailles, or pincer braces. All of these forms are variations on hip framing.
These models range from about 8” to 12” wide, and the group photo shows all three in a single mortise cut in a massive pine log.
Update: Adam will be teaching a course on Building a French (Capucine/Guitarde) dormer this October 16th-20th 2017 at Will Beemer's Heartwood Timber Framing School located in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts .
You can register for the class at the link below.