Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Raising a Timber Frame

Raising a timber frame
This past summer I worked on a recycled timber frame that had been built in the 1980’s as an addition to an old farmhouse. In 2005 the house had extensive fire damage and the timber frame addition, for the most part sustained smoke damage. I bought the frame after some stud framers, who didn’t know what they were doing, took it down, damaging many parts of it.
But still, it was a nice frame, being about 30 feet by 30 feet with three bents and some nice heavy principle raters and purlins.
I sold the frame to the Weyman family near Eugenia, Ontario. They wanted it as a studio, but really it’s a second home to their week-end farm get-away place.
The frame needed some work, a couple of girts that were damaged by the fire, two bents needed a king post instead of the Queen posts that were there but inadequate (according to the engineer) and a lot of sanding. My oldest son, Skyler, did most of the sanding as a summer job, while he was here last June and July. The smoke from the fire had darkened all the timbers, but really in the end, sanding couldn’t take it away, but it sure gave the pine frame a beautiful patina.
My friend Milan helped me notch some of the new timbers in August and we were finally ready for the raising in September. Milan and I readied the frame by first putting the 3 bents together on the first floor deck. They were massive bents, some of the timbers, such as the principle rafters, were 10 inch by 12 inch by 26 feet long. Just to move them on the deck required more then two of us, and we often asked for help from the other crew that was there, who I had hired to put the stress skin panels together.
After 2 weeks of hot sunny weather the day I had scheduled to raise the bents … was raining! And so was the next day and the next, and in fact the whole week was a write off. Each day I had to call the 5 crew members, the crane operator and the owners. Finally on an overcast but not raining Monday, we raised the frame and it all fit! I had, up to that point not ever seen the frame up and really had not known if I had all the pieces there( being over 100 pieces of timber and braces)! All in all a good raising, and for timber framers, the most satisfying time, seeing it all fit together after weeks of work.


ColeNi said...

What are all the terms that you talk about in here? For example girt, principle rafters, purlin, bent, and braces, etc...I know some of them but others I don't know. Maybe you could do a post explain the differnt parts?

Letourneux said...

Looking at the photo provided here,I find what really stands out is the excellent sanding job that someone seems to have done. It just kind of takes your breath away, you know?

Jon Radojkovic said...

Yes, the owners of the timber frame were quite impressed with the sanding job except for a few places near the top of the roof, where i said to them, that, of course it's gauranteed and the "sander" would be more then willing to come back and redo it.