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Author Topic: Gonna go up!  (Read 5563 times)

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Offline Engineer

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #20 on: May 16, 2005, 08:27:17 PM »
To answer a couple of questions:

The photo of my mill and a pile of logs labeled "humble beginnings" was taken in February 2004.  At that time, the only things that had been done on the property were the driveway, some tree clearing, and my well.  I had been sawing for about two weeks when that photo was taken, and had about 10% of the frame cut, maybe less. 

The rest of the timbers were cut fairly regularly between then and March of this year, so - a year to cut.  My hired help consisted of two guys with a couple decades of experience each and one part-time framer with joinery experience, plus me.  They started in March on the planing, layout and cutting.  They finished the day before we put it up.  I put in about 80-100 hours of my own time, mostly planing, some cutting of joints, and grunt labor.  They put in 40-hour weeks. 

The frame went up, from the first bent to the last purlin, in about 12 hours total, and a lot of that was tedious flying of single purlins.  The ground crew was the three framers, me, my father, my father-in-law, my younger brother, and the crane operator.  A decent amount of visitors, probably 30-40 over three days.  A LOT of rubberneckers on the road.

Let's see - the bent pegs.  Funny story.  I was cutting peg stock to length on my chopsaw (the lumber company sold me octagon stock in 6-14' lengths) when I noticed that a piece was unusually light and had a strange odor.  Come to find out, they sent me 400 lf of BUTTERNUT peg stock.   ::) Going to use that for decorative pegs...   ;)   There's a good reason, as you can see, to use hickory pegs, especially with a strong drawbore.  The pine just squished, but the oak ain't movin...  :o

Wood.  The principal species is white pine.  Braces on the second floor are also pine.  Braces on the main floor are black birch, with two exceptions which are cherry.  The splines are red oak.  The pegs (including the bent ones) are hickory, and there are some larger 1-1/4" pegs which are cherry and black walnut.

Offline Doc

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2005, 10:10:14 AM »
Fantasticus! I wish I could be there to look that one over in person!

I am sure I am not alon in saying this, but I want to see more pics as you get things going on that one! That is gonna be a keeper.

Doc

Offline MSU_Keith

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #22 on: May 18, 2005, 09:11:39 AM »
Engineer - the frame looks great.   :) :) :)

I am considering the same process and have a couple questions for you.  Was the framing help you hired friends or did you seek them out somehow?  It sounds like they did all the cutting on site.  Have not yet found a framer around here willing to work with my timber - everyone wants to  quote the frame cut in their shop out of timbers purchased through their suppliers  ::).

Another question - did you design around the length capabilities of your mill and tree stock or did you have to order some timbers?

Thanks,
Keith

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #23 on: May 18, 2005, 10:05:08 PM »
Keith, long story on both.

The framers were a surprise, literally.  I am friends with a guy who had a decent rep as a one-off frame builder, and for a few years, he kept asking me when I was ready to build.  When I finally called him, he was having legitimate health problems and bailed on me.  Bummer.  So, later in the week, I was in a meeting with another framer who was going to build a pavilion for the local Rotary club.  I asked him if he would consider building my frame, and he said he would love to.  The discussion was pretty short, I said I had the timbers already and had one condition, that I was to supervise the job and participate as much or as little as I wanted to.   He was fine with that and said he had "a couple guys he works with" who would help.  I was a little leery of the "couple guys" thing but had my hands tied.

Well, the "couple guys" wound up being expert framers who happened to have about 30 years of combined experience, and this was their first job on their own and were anxious to do good and develop a good rep.  They had a local designer who gave me a hand as well.  The guy I hired, never showed up except for a brief visit at the raising. 

I cut about 40% of the timbers myself with my WM LT30, and hired another local sawyer with an LT40 to saw the longer and larger pieces.  I was going to try to cut everything on my mill, but time and the limitations of the mill won out.   Nothing's over 20' long in the whole frame.  All the timbers came from my own trees, or logs I got from construction sites, and were milled, planed and joinery done on site.

I never looked for a "framing company", as I thought I was all set up.  Things worked out really well anyway.  There are a lot of itinerant timber framers out there, but you just have to find them.  The Guild is a good place to start.

20/20 hindsight - I would have probably bought a new sawmill from Day One, milled everything myself, and shipped the timbers to a mill with a four-sided planer.  Other than some minor design changes, everything else went really well, and I have nothing but the absolute highest recommendations for the guys who stepped up to the job.

Offline Doc

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2005, 11:20:47 AM »
Judging from the pics it really came out gorgeous! You had good hands for sure.

Doc

Offline MSU_Keith

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2005, 03:02:59 PM »
Engineer - it sounds like you lead a charmed life.  Maybe I'll move to Vermont where finding a good timberframe crew is as easy as falling off a log.

Another follow up question - What would be the big advantage of the four side planing that you regret not doing - easy and speed of layout, accuracy of joints, or something else I'm missing?

Offline Engineer

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #26 on: May 20, 2005, 05:57:56 PM »
Well, there's a lot of them around, some better that others, but most of them don't dedicate their skills to framing.  I'd say that most, if not all, of the "non-corporate" framers are simply carpenters or contractors with some level of timber frame skill or experience.  That's where good references and site visits make all the difference.  My first meeting with Mike and Bert (the guys who built my frame), they both showed up with fat photo albums showing off all their work, with each of them figured prominently in most of the pictures.  I also received some pretty excellent references.   I promised them that I would get them each a pile of photos from my job and an open invitation to come back anytime at all to show the frame to a prospective customer.  I don't often think that highly of someone's work.

As for the planer - most four-siders produce reasonably square and smooth timbers in one pass, and they should stay that way for at least the duration of the construction.  With mine, I had some significantly out-of-square timbers that needed a LOT of help to make them usable.  Even to develop a square edge for a reference face for layout.  It took a lot of effort, man-hours, sweat and extra blades to make that work.  I probably could have saved some money and a LOT of time by having consistently sized and smooth, square timbers on site.  Layout would have been much easier, with maybe the occasional 1/64" facing pass witha planer to clean up or adjust a face.  Of course, if you want roughsawn timbers, you deal with what you have.   :(

Offline Don P

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Re: Gonna go up!
« Reply #27 on: May 20, 2005, 08:23:35 PM »
Wow! We got 2 nice frames going up on the FF simultain...simaltan ???...at the same time. Thanks to both you and Kelvin for posting some great pics. Keep up the good work, and keep those pics coming, there's probably more of us going to school on y'all than you know  ;).
A laborer works with his hands
A craftsman uses his brain and his hands
An artist uses his brain, his hands, and his heart


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