Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Taylor Mill, Derry, NH

The Taylor Sawmill in Derry, NH has a water powered sash (up and down) saw. Mills like this are quite rare, having been replaced by the circular and band saws still used today. Bob and his son Ed run the mill on the second and fourth Saturdays during the summer and were good enough to appropriately saw the floor joists and boards for the flooring of the Alexander Knight House. White oak is not the usual wood sawn here; the speed of the carriage was slowed to allow for the hardness and density. The blade leaves a 1/4" kerf with each pass, For more info about the Taylor Sawmill : http://www.londonderrynh.net/?p=10484
Many thanks and much appreciation for their help; we now have the right materials prepared in the authentic way.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reaping in the Wind

The AKH Team and a few local volunteers were joined by Rick, Michael and Shan from Plimoth Plantation. After meeting at the Whipple house in Ipswich to show our newfound friends the site of the future Alexander Knight House we departed for Essex.

It was a windy day down on the marsh behind the Essex Town Hall and the tall reeds swooshed and danced about. It wasn't long before clearings appeared in the tall grass and piles of thatching materials were bundled ready for transport. No major injuries reported before our late lunch of fried clams, french fries and onion rings across the Essex river. After lunch a quick tour of the Whipple house before the Plimoth contingency had to head south. Again the exchange of knowledge and enthusiasm was contagious and I hope they enjoyed the trip north as much as we appreciated their visit, Thanks again guys!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Reaping the Benefits - Plimoth comes to Ipswich

The Alexander Knight House (AKH) team welcomes the Plimoth Plantation Interpretive Artisans to town this Friday, September 25. The collaborative group will harvest approximately one-acre of reed for thatching the Alexander Knight House. Plimoth Plantation harvests approximately 7 acres of reed and cattail to thatch roofs in the village. The harvesting will take place in both towns of Ipswich and Essex. The reed will be gathered by the traditional First Period method using a sickle. Once the reed is gathered, it will then be dried and overwintered in preparation for Spring 2010 roofing activities at the Alexander Knight House site. For more information on this weekend’s activities log on to: www.ipswichknighthouse.org

Saturday, August 8, 2009

What a great group of people we met Thursday at Plimoth Plantation. The recollections of many family trips to Plimoth became extra special as I met the people whose work I've long been impressed with and understood their dedication to "getting it right" . Misperceptions of my English forebears are everywhere, but the more we look, and study, and recreate, the closer we come to understanding how and why they lived. The group at Plimoth are so interested in looking at the evidence they and others have found, and acting on that evidence, there was a sense of companionship toward a common goal. What a day!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Treasure Hunting at Plimoth Plantation

Learning from the Best

North meets South - the AKH team traveled to the South Shore yesterday and met with the Plimoth builders Rick, Michael, Tom and Shann. An exciting exchange of knowledge and information went on, and on, between the project members. Features of the early Plimoth houses were compared and contrasted with the Knight House along with much discussion about thatching, chimneys, and framing. A constant flow of conversation bounced from one to another, each contributing a particular view or discovery. An extremely rewarding (and fun) experience all northerners agreed; we hope our southern hosts felt the same. Our sincere thanks to them for giving us their time and we look forward to collaborating with them throughout our ongoing project.

Monday, July 27, 2009

and the dirt flew...

The official start of our project and the cellar hole is almost completely excavated - thanks to all of the shovelers!

Jim Whidden and Mat Cummings

The ground breakers

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ground Breaking next Saturday

The foundation hole was a shallow excavation with a deeper portion for use as a root cellar. The walls were built of dry laid local stone.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

White Oak preferred

Trees, best for hewing, grow in the forest and do not have branches. For the house, clear, straight grained wood is the best; White Oak is preferred as it retains its integrity and is naturally very strong and rot resistant. Trees were selected, cut to length and hewn where they fell.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ground Breaking Ceremony

25 July 2009, Saturday at 10:AM is the ground breaking ceremony for the official start of the Alexander Knight House at the Ipswich Historical Society's Whipple House on Meeting House Green.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Building permit in hand

Ground breaking on 25 July 2009 is being planned...
Visit the project website at

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Alexander Knight House, Ipswich, MA

A re-creation of an early, English style timber frame house from 1657 as described in Ipswich town records. An on-going, live exhibit; building with traditional tools, materials and construction methods of the First Period (1625–1725).