China Travel Tips

Reflections on Travel in China

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wooden House with No Nails

I am one of these people who has to know everything about what he is seeing as sometimes you discover remarkable skills and interesting details. This house is in Sichuan province very near where the earthquake happened recently. I took these pictures about 10 years ago on the way from Chengdu north to Jiuzhaigou Valley. The house is all made of wood and typical of the area inhabited by Tibetans. The man was building this house and I was interested in the construction technique. I quickly noticed that there were no nails in the wood....just a few pegs here and there and then pieces fitted into place by hand carefully by planeing each piece until it fit very tightly without nails or pegs. I knew they had electricity so I asked through an interpreter that I had with me why he didn't use a skill saw and other electric tools. All his tools were for hand use only. He said, it all costs money and it would take many months of salary to afford to buy the tools. I mentioned it would be much faster and he said he was in no hurry. His father and grand father built their houses this way and he would do the same....again in no special hurry. Now and then exteneded family members came and helped him with the heavy timbers. Other similar built houses have stood for several hundred years withstanding earthquakes where many stone houses have been destroyed in the past.