For part one of this series, click here.
In preparation for an exhibit here in the Old State House, we are partnering with the Preservation Carpentry Program at the North Bennet Street School to recreate the front entrance to John Hancock's long-demolished mansion. The mansion was built in 1737 by John Hancock’s uncle Thomas and demolished in 1863. It stood on Beacon Hill in Boston near the current State House and was demolished in 1863 to make way for two fashionable townhouses. Its demolition and the subsequent outrage precipitated the origin of the Preservation Movement in the United States. It was even cited as one of the justifications for the founding of the Bostonian Society in 1881 and our preservation of the Old State House.
The students of the Preservation Carpentry program are truly artists as well as craftspeople, and the range of techniques they are employing for this project is amazing. From timber framing to detailed carving, we never cease to be amazed at their skill, every time our staff visits their workshop.
The photos and videos below were taken by student Mike Bernier who is working on this project. They show some of the techniques the students are using to reconstruct Hancock's entryway. To keep up to date with all of the amazing work being done at the North Bennet Street School, visit their Instagram here.
The backbone to any successful project is lots and lots of drafting! Second-year Preservation Carpentry student @iancubie has led our class with careful, measured drawings of our recreation door surround for John Hancock’s original front door. This is our largest and most complicated project and ultimately will be exhibited by @bostoniansociety at the Old State House. . Stay tuned for more updates as we tackle different elements. . 📷 @mcbernier . #nbss #preservation #carpentry #drafting #scaleddrawing #johnhancock #bostoniansociety #igtakeover #hancockdoor
To create the flat face on the column to engage into the quoins, we decided upon a series of kerf cuts and subsequent joggling with a sharp carpenter’s axe. Watch 2nd-year PC students @hollis_r_webb and Mark Bruchez work in hyper speed! . . Some insight from Hollis: “Hewing with my right handed buddy allows us to work each line, passing the axe back and forth for breaks.” . . 📹@mcbernier . . . #igtakeover #preservationcarpentry #nbss #engagedcolumns #carpentersaxe #johnhancock #northmenaxe #northmanguild #ewp #timelapse #keepcraftalive #hancockdoor
Cutting joinery can be a snap! . . . Here’s a neat little slo-mo video of Mark cutting a tenon using the French snap technique. Any opportunity to speed up a frame’s construction without sacrificing its integrity certainly adds up... and it doesn’t hurt that it looks really cool! . . 📹 @mcbernier . . #igtakeover #preservationcarpentry #johnhancock #timberframe #tenon #frenchsnap #ewp #craftsmanship #nbss #joinery #funwithwood #straightgrain #hancockdoor
We have been constructing the surround for the John Hancock door out of very green wood. Because of this, the looming reality of checks and splits is approaching as elements begin the drying process. We’ve been implementing strategies to combat this problem. . . . In this video, 2nd-year PC student, Angie Larimer, is hogging out a trough along the back side of the engaged columns. This will create a substantial enough weak point for checks and splits to gravitate towards, hopefully helping to preserve the seen portions of the columns. . . 📹 @mcbernier . . #igtakeover #preservationcarpentry #nbss #engagedcolumns #timber #ewp #greenwood #drybuilding #craftsmanship #johnhancock #recreation #oldstatehouse #hancockdoor
Hey folks! Hope you enjoyed the glimpses into the world of Preservation Carpentry here at North Bennet Street School! Here’s a final video of me chipping away at the bracket. Thanks for tuning in to my instagram takeover this week! . 📹 @mcbernier . . . #preservationcarpentry #johnhancock #hancockdoor #carving #handcarved #brackets #ewp #nbss #craftsmanship #woodworking #igtakeover
We can't wait to see the final result of all of this hard work! Stay tuned for more as this project nears completion!