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Author Topic: Cedar for use in sills?  (Read 5585 times)

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Offline Doc

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Cedar for use in sills?
« on: March 21, 2005, 12:27:55 PM »
After reading a bit, and thinking even more about the use of pressure treated lumber or cypress in sills for timber framing, and reading a thread by Cedarman in another section I ask this question. Would cedar serve well as sill material in a timberframe? I realize it is not that hard a material, but the rot resistance is worth something.

Am I thinking in a generally correct direction? Would cedar serve well in a sill usage? Is it structurally strong enough to handle the square post joints of the corner posts (I can't remember the correct joint name right off the bat)?

If so, it would sound like Oklahoma would have all the cedar you could get shipped at a more than reasonable cost. They are calling it a weed out there, and there has to be some value to it elsewhere.

Doc

Offline Dana

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2005, 02:48:15 PM »
Our Northern White Cedar is good for rot resistance. Great for uses like siding and fence post. I would worry about carpenter ants getting in it if there is a chance of moisture being retained. I have seen how destructive the ants can be when cutting logs, and sure wouldn't want them in my house.
Grass-fed beef farmer, part time sawyer

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2005, 03:08:44 PM »
I wonder if you treated that with a garden sprayer full of boric acid and water (50/50 mix) if that would be enought o stop the ants from starting in?

This was just a though for something other than expensive pressure treated lumber for use in sills. I have no idea what others have done, so I thought I would ask. If nothing else red cedar would have a fabulous odor removing effect......

Doc

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2005, 05:18:53 PM »
Well, I guess it would depend on the size of the structure and whether or not you can get a sill big enough for your design.
Once the design is done then the size of the sill will be known, and the load being placed on that sill at the post locations. When the load is known then we can look at the values allowed perpendicular to the grain and see if the cedar can support the load.
You have to start somewhere, usually with the design. Then you pick the types of wood you'd like to use and see if they will work, in regard to design values. If they won't work then you either change the type of wood or modify the design to reduce the load. But, modifying the design to reduce the load doesn't always fit with the overall plan.
Some frames don't even use sills, as the posts sit on the foundation PT mud sill. Again it depends on your design.

Jim Rogers
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Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2005, 09:35:01 AM »
I suppose if I were to design the house as a crawlspace house I would not need the sills. Now this is a matter of personal preference, but I prefer a crawlspace or basement as opposed to a slab. I do like having a slab under the crawlspace but only for something solid to crawl around on under the house.......it is really overkill, but personal preference and a few bucks more...

Cypress would seem as though it would be another wood that would be good for sills (I have no idea of load characteristics of it) from a rot and bug point of view.

I was just throwing stuff out there Jim, and appreciate your making that point. I caught that point a few times in Chappell's book as well. I am now reading the second, and finding both interesting. I can see where one book is good for some things where the other is good for things missed in the first. I can see this collection getting big fast.

This is gonna be fun.

Doc

Offline Tom

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2005, 10:53:40 AM »
Speakng as a spectator............

Lots of old buildings here had cypress sills that sat on SYP fat lighter pilings/pillars.  You just have to make sure that they are heartwood.  Cypress isn't as strong as pine so most of those sills are huge.

I'd guess that the abest choice would be SYP.  It's strong.  Have you ever wondered what Atlas is standing on while he holds the world?   It is a SYP floor.  :D.
extinct

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2005, 12:29:01 PM »
Speakng as a spectator............

Lots of old buildings here had cypress sills that sat on SYP fat lighter pilings/pillars.  You just have to make sure that they are heartwood.  Cypress isn't as strong as pine so most of those sills are huge.

I'd guess that the abest choice would be SYP.  It's strong.  Have you ever wondered what Atlas is standing on while he holds the world?   It is a SYP floor.  :D.

Tom,

that is too funny! i wonder if they called it SYP too......hahahahahha

Ii was thinking from a bug and rot resistance standpoint more than strength though. No need for a formal sill with a crawlspace. I could even use those cool hinges for the bents! That setup would make raising with something other tahn a crane a bit easier I woudl think.

Doc

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2005, 01:28:11 PM »
  Walnut and black locust are my first choices for sill stock.  They can hold the weight and are very rot/bug proff.  I often paint the down side with roof pitch and the set them on alum roof metal.  It keeps it from wicking up moisture from the foundation and seals for air leaks.  I have used thin blue board under the sills instead.
ARKANSAWYER
ARKANSAWYER

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2005, 02:10:42 PM »
I woudl have a hard time using walnut for anything construction. Too pretty to use for that.......but that is me.

Still sounds like a sound setup though.

Doc

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2005, 03:23:07 PM »
A whole lot of walnut goes into pallets here, cherry too..............
    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2005, 04:11:33 PM »
Such a shame. Any of it of any beauty at all?

We have no Cherry to speak of left down here because of blight (I think I understand that right). You see one here and there, but not many. Walnut trees are plantation grown or urban grown (yard trees). Otherwise they are fairly rare around here.


Doc

Offline Buzz-sawyer

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2005, 05:10:22 PM »
heck yea!
But I like wood with character.......I.E defects....clear walnut does little for me. When the clear runs out of a log the rest goes to the pallet mill for 30 cents a foot! You ought t o see some of them pallets ;)
    HEAR THAT BLADE SING!

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2005, 05:23:03 PM »
Buzz......I am gonna cry man. Don't do that to me. I can't imagine a walnut pallet....or cherry pallet.....

Almost enough to make me want to tell you to stack those cants and I will buy them from you, but I have no way to get them here at this point.

Oh well......I guess someone is going to get some fine pallets......

Doc

Offline submarinesailor

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2005, 08:14:53 PM »
Doc,

When a I friend of mine was shipped back from Subic Bay in the Philippines, all of his household goods was on philippine mahogany pallets or in crates made from it.  The moving company won’t let him keep any of it. :'( :'( :'( :'( :'( smiley_annoyed01 smiley_annoyed01 smiley_annoyed01

subsailor

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2005, 09:56:18 AM »
I woudl tell the shipping company that I paid for the pallets, and I am keeping them.

I would hate to give up a small treasure like that.....

Doc

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2005, 12:05:19 PM »
I have a knifemaker friend in Brazil. Have always wanted to see South America too. I have been tempted to go down and buy some things to ship back and make a crate to ship them in out of some nice pretty pieces of exotic stuff and ship it back. I am always looking for good handle material.

Doc

Offline ARKANSAWYER

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2005, 06:32:21 PM »
  Doc I guess telling you that we burn walnut and cherry for firewood here would not be good.  Walnut has a center and it is not real good wood but it makes great sills.  Got to do something with it.  I have walnut rr ties around here.
ARKANSAWYER

Offline hillbilly

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2005, 07:27:10 AM »
             I've  missed some of this some how are we talkin about sill plates on a concrete foundation or using a wooden foundation [pillars] just wondering ,.
            we dont have enough cedar here ,I would  to run all over the country to find some big enough to use ,black locust we have a little more of that.
hillbilly       

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #18 on: March 28, 2005, 10:11:50 AM »
Again, as I said above, it all depends on the design.

Some have no sills at all, some do.

Jim Rogers
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Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #19 on: March 28, 2005, 11:17:27 AM »
You guys are killing me with the use of some pretty wood for firewood,a nd pallets! My grandfather would whip all of you with his belt for that.....hahahaha!

You guys are gonna have me running around the country with a trailer buying ties, and cants of what  you guys would scrap just for the wood!

In a barn I could see not having sills, but in a house would the sills not be necessary? I am thinking slab built house here.

This is me personally, and my part of the country will let me get away with things other climates won't. I am not sure what the northeast coast will allow here, but I am planning on building on a crawlspace. I do want to install radiant heat as well. Crawlspaces make maintenance of certain things easier for me, and with the clay content of the soil, slabs don't work out too well unless poured extra thick and packed properly (never done right here). Settling will cause problems in a crawlspace house too, but you don't have to call in a concrete company with a hydraulic pump truck to fix it.

I am looking forward to getting my mill. I am hoping I can make some things happen fairly quickly after that purchase is made or the build is finished.

Doc

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #20 on: March 28, 2005, 12:47:30 PM »
Recently at a builder's trade show here in MA, we saw a product called Warmboard.
I believe the web page is www.warmboard.com(click address for more info).

It seemed like the smart way to go when talking about new construction radiant heating.

They sent me a small sample of the product.

Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
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Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2005, 12:59:46 PM »
That was the general idea. I guess I shoudl be quicker about patenting some things huh.....

I will certainly be looking harder at that product when the time comes.

Jim, your advice on books has been outstanding. Now can you aim me at one that has more info at the finishing of a frame (the outer skin)? I am interested in seeing how this is done, but the two books I have so far are very lite or non informational on this point.

For reference....I have "A timberframers Workshop" and "Building the Timber Frame House".

Doc

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2005, 01:24:39 PM »
That can vary depending on what type or style of enclosure system you want to use.

So, what do you want to use?

Jim Rogers
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Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2005, 01:38:48 PM »
Exterior will be stone regardless whether this is a fascade or if it is solid throughthe walls in a slip formed fashion. I like low maintenance exteriors, and stone is very appealing. A little tongue and groove work over the front door entryway in a diagonal pattern will be about the max of my wood exterior.

Lots of windows on the south face fo rthe passive solar usage, and a nice steep pitched roof. I don't think I have a snow load here....if I do it is a very minimal value. The roof will be done in some of the newer metal shingles that resemble shake. I want to put it up and forget about it for the most part.

Doc

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2005, 04:02:12 PM »
Are you telling me all four walls will be stone?

And are you going to insulate? Walls and roof or just one or the other?

Jim Rogers
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
Woodmizer 1994 LT30HDG24 with 6' Bed Extension

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2005, 04:15:44 PM »
I had planned on insulating all of it (roof, and walls). I suppose I will have to draw up something like what I am talking about here so as not to be so confusing.

Down here, with the stick builders, brick is a fascade (sp?). the exterior is skinned in plywood, and the brick is laid up next to the plywood with mortar tags tacked to the plywood skin. I am assuming I will have to do the same thing to the exterior of my frame here as I want the full timbers exposed in the house.

I see the cord-wood pics here, and it would appear that the fill was done right in the frame. I could go this route, but prefer not to. I realize that I am building a second frame around the timbers, but since the second frame will not be structural in nature I am assuming that I will not be held so tightly to the building codes as far as spacing, and the like.

From what I have been able to gather from the books that I do have, the exterior of a timber frame is skinned in sheet-rock or tongue and groove panel boards. I like the panel board appearance better on the inside, but where do I go from there? Do I build out pockets on the outside of this, and fill with insulation, and skin in plywood to be covered in stone?

Lots of things left unanswered by the two books I have, but the ones I have were meant to teach the joinery, and calcs for the framing more so than the finishing of the building. This is where I am left with lots of questions.

Doc

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2005, 05:13:57 PM »
Some years ago I was involved with a project in Maine. It was a timber frame faced with stone and it had a thatch roof.
Here are some pictures of the stone facing:










I sent Frank an email asking him about his methods of facing this frame with stone.
See below:


Frank:
Q:I have a someone that is interested in learning about facing a timber frame with stone, similar to the way you did your "model" home.
Did you insulate behind the stone? Or in a wall inside the frame?
Any detail drawings or any info would be helpful.
Can you tell me of a webpage address or any other info about doing this?

A: It is pretty simple.  The timber posts rest on pilasters formed on the inside of the foundation wall.  Then I used a 10 inch foundation wall with sips resting on the inside 4 inches and stone on the outside 6 inches.  This requires the sips to sit on top of the subfloor rather than being taken down to the sill.  I actually stepped down the foundation on the outside so that the stone met the finish grade.  The masons used a special fabric between the stone and sip to drain any weep-age.

Frank Purser of Windemere Homes, Saco, Maine.
 
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!
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Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2005, 05:18:15 PM »
Gorgeous house! Perfect Jim! That is what I had in my head, but I am not the best at expressing myself sometimes.

Simply beautiful! Now can you ask him about loading that on a truck and shipping it to me in Alabama.......hahahahaa....

Thanks Jim,

Doc

Offline Jim Haslip

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #28 on: March 28, 2005, 09:22:51 PM »
Doc:
If you are going to have a crawl space will it be poured conrete or masonary block?
If so, why not use some cedar boards (2x8's or so) as a plate between the concrete/block and your frame sills of less rot resistant wood. Sort of a double plate with the most resistant wood nearest the wet part.
It isn't uncommon to double plate where I am.
The first plate is usually Pressure Treated Pine and the second plate raises the basement ceiling just enough that the walls can be formed with 8 ft forms and the basement slab gets poured half on top of the footing. Then the walls are still good for a full 8 ft of Drywall. (sorry you call it sheetrock)
If need be, post me a personal email and I'll send a sketch... Jim Haslip

Offline Doc

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Re: Cedar for use in sills?
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2005, 12:54:17 PM »
Drywall, sheetrock.....depends on who you ask around here. Same difference.

I will send that email shortly as I would like that sketch.

Doc


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