The Jowl Posts and Double Kerf Scribing Workshop

The Museum provides in-depth, hands-on opportunities to learn from our collection of rescued historic buildings. In terms of timber framing, this is made possible due to the large number of timber-framed buildings we have from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. These range from houses to farm buildings to craft workshops and they are all easily visible. A technique that unites many of them is the use of a scribing technique to join the jowl posts to the wallplates – the double kerf.

Our next course on this topic is:
Oak Timber Framing: Jowl Posts
Monday 18 – Friday 22 September 2017

This week-long workshop takes you through “step by step” from the fresh sawn local timber, to the reared up carcase. We start with the ground cills and use this frame to introduce you to the tools and techniques that underpin the scribing of mortice and tenon joints in large, wet, crooked and twisted timbers.

Next comes the lap dovetail joint between the wallplate and the tie beam; a joint with a 700 year usage, used to tie the frames together. Then onto the three tenons on the jowl post itself, starting with the tenon at the bottom of the post, followed by the two tenons at the top. By repeating the “double kerf technique” four times during the week,  the processes of the lining out, the numbering, the scribing and the cutting become more easily understood and familiar.

The proof of the pudding occurs when the carcase is reared up, using nothing more than muscle power and a maul to knock the timbers together. Each team then inspects their jowl post. Each joint should fit first time, have tight shoulders with a small tolerance at the cheeks. All of this using a very simple traditional tool kit, with no tape measures, chalk-lines, spirit levels or power tools.

The tips and tricks taught this week have been proven in over fifty jowl post workshops in the last 20 years. They are the essential rules that work time and time again, based on the evidence of the Museum’s Collections. There are many former students who have gone on to build either a one-off frame or work in the industry either on their own or as part of a bigger team.  This workshop shows you a tried and tested way to go from the timbers to the frame.