It turns out the folks who built the replica of Thoreau’s cabin at Walden, the one you can go visit on a pilgrimage if you are so inclined, didn’t do such a perfect job. I mean, I can hardly criticize the overall finished product, it’s been there for a lot longer than the 2 years, 2 months and 2 days that Thoreau lived in his, but still. It’s not accurate! Consider this photo of the inside of the replica:
And now consider this quote, from a friend of Thoreau’s who visited him at Walden:
“”The entrance to the cellar was ‘thro a trap door in the center of the room. The king-post was an entire tree, extending from the bottom of the cellar to the ridge-pole, upon which we descended, as sailors do into the hold of a vessel.” Joseph Hosmer, from an account of his visit to Thoreau’s cabin. (Borst).”
— Sourced here.
Do you see a king-post in the picture? An “entire tree, extending from the bottom of the cellar to the ridge-pole”? A central support beam? No.
Well, I wanted as much authenticity as possible, so of course I wanted to put in a king-post — but then I decided against, since the king-post would sort of impede the whole ‘library’ part of the project, and get in the way of the books. It was a quandary.
Dad to the rescue! I called him and told him about the king-post problem, and he had a great solution: he suggested I attach a section of replica king-post to the ceiling, but just a short bit that wouldn’t get in the way of books. Then he suggested I carve a slight depression in the floor where the king-post would be, and mark it somehow, perhaps by burning it. Brilliant!
So I did exactly that. I cut a piece of the pine tree in my back yard (pine tree! Just like Thoreau’s king-post would [most likely] have been — though a different kind of pine). Then I cut a small indentation in the ceiling, exactly matching the outline of the post, and glued it in (so it looks like it comes out of the ceiling rather than just looking stuck-on). I hollowed out a slightly larger (since trees are bigger at the bottom) round indentation in the middle of the floor, and burned it with my woodburning tool.
Here’s the floor marking:
And here’s the ceiling with the king-post:
[image to follow, right now it’s under a paint can while the glue dries — see picture below of paint can, the king-post is under it, I swear]