Master Craftsmen:  Hungarian carpenters brought old-world craftsmanship to the U.S. in June to build a pavilion for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Weashington, D.C.
Master Craftsmen: Hungarian carpenters brought old-world craftsmanship to the U.S. in June to build a pavilion for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Weashington, D.C.

Tart Lumber, Sterling, Va., got a lesson in international relations when it hosted a team of Hungarian carpenters in June.

Using Tart’s millwork shop and parking lot, the group constructed a traditionally styled dance hall and tower for use at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in June and July in Washington, D.C. Tart helped source materials and improvise where domestic products fell short of what the craftsmen were used to working with in Europe.

“This is not the [kind of] lumber you would have in a lumberyard on a typical day-to-day operation,” says Greg Rhatican, one of the dealer’s sales representatives.

Rather than face the long lead times required to find dimensional lumber for the structure’s 12-by-12-by-30 center beam, Rhatican suggested the crew create glulams to make the giant “pencil” that provided support to the rest of the structure. The catch: None could be pressure-treated for fear the wood would shrink out of its fastener-free connections in Washington, D.C.’s humid summer heat. Still, Rhatican says, the job was worth the trouble: “You get a project once every decade or decade and a half that you stumble across [and say], ‘Wow, this is going to be a lot of fun.’”