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Author Topic: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)  (Read 3750 times)

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Offline D L Bahler

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Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« on: March 29, 2012, 02:12:57 PM »
This is my first post on these particular forums, so sorry if I overstep some etiquette that I'm unfamiliar with...

I was curious how many of you folks had ever heard of Blockbau, and even if any of you have some experience in this area.

Now, Blockbau is a pretty general term, it's just how you would say 'log building' in the German language, but they have different specifics than we would be familiar with. For example, houses are never built with full round logs, at least not traditionally, and Blockbau usually is done in such a way that walls are totally load-bearing, and there is no major issue with skarfing timbers together in the middle of a wall. Also roof overhangs are as a rule very large.

We are building this summer a small Blockhütte or blockbau cabin or hut in central Indiana, according to an Alpine Swiss Blockbau tradition known as Chaletbau. I know about this technique, having learned it from a Swiss carpenter. Then after this building is done, I plan on travelling to Switzerland and spending some time in the mountains, learning about cheesemaking -learning more about a craft I already know some about- and this building will then be used for our cheese business. And of course while I am there, I will study the local buildings too. The Chalets of the Berner Oberland are, I believe, the finest examples of vernacular architecture in the world.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 02:19:36 PM »
Welcome to the forum.
Will be interested in your adventures. Look forward to seeing pics of your progress and Swiss trip.
 8)
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 06:23:25 PM »
We're organizing a workshop too, to teach about this method of building.

Offline beenthere

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 06:41:32 PM »
Who is "we" ? 

A business? a community? a tech center?   Just curious.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2012, 07:10:25 PM »
Well part of the 'We' is me. Obviously, since 'we' is a first person pronoun ;)

I am working on this together with 2 of my brothers. We plan to build this and then use it for our cheesemaking and as part of our farm.
The idea is not only to make cheese using some very old methods, but also in the future to hold regularly scheduled courses on log and timber building, as well as a number of other subsistence-related topics, like cheesemaking for example.


Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 07:50:12 PM »
D L:
Welcome to the FF timber framing and log building section.

Thank for posting.

Jim Rogers
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 08:10:01 PM »
D L
Sounds like a plan. :)
south central Wisconsin
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Offline jander3

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2012, 08:18:44 PM »
Welcome.   Very interested in understanding this technique.

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2012, 09:34:46 PM »
Thanks Jim for sending me here, from my browsing looks like there's some good folks around here.

Jander, we are planning a workshop for late June if you are interested

Offline Red Pill

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2012, 10:15:06 PM »
Pictures. We need pictures.  :D

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2012, 11:25:03 PM »
well I'll have to work on that.

But for now, a google image search for Chaletbau might satisfy your curiosity.

And a tip, when looking at pictures, the best examples will pretty much always be from a website ending with .ch

Offline dukndog

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2012, 09:29:06 AM »
Welcome to the FF DL!!

Rich Miller
WM LT-15G25 w/PwrFeed, Mahindra 3510, Husky 385xp, Stihl MS261 and a wife who supports my hobby!!

Offline nsmike

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 11:56:03 AM »
I think this link is instructive http://www.swisswoodenhomes.com/en/our-products/traditional-square-timber-buildings.html  The Swiss block style, seems to incorporate a fusion of square log and timber frame, with a dash of Swiss style

Offline nsmike

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 12:41:58 PM »
I did some more poking around, the attached site, has galleries from a visit to Switzerland where the author visited several sites dedicated to traditional Swiss architecture http://jbdowse.com/swz/report

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2012, 02:21:36 PM »
I know both of those websites. The first is actually my good friend, a great carpenter who has taught me a lot. And it is actually his parents I will be working with this summer. -And I'll spend some time with him and his family too while I'm there.

I also have exchanged emails with Mr. Dowse, and got a lot of pictures from him as well.

If you are interested in learning about this technique, have a look at the link in my signature. We're holding a workshop in June.

But this thread isn't for that, go here and respond if interested: http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,57476.0.html


Offline aliciabrooks

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #15 on: April 10, 2012, 12:07:35 AM »
I have noticed that any timberframe building that has lasted hundreds of years has a very large overhang.  I just wonder what has happened to the overhang here in north america, where a  4' overhang is almost unheard of?

Offline nsmike

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Re: Blockbau, a log building style (well, sort of)
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2012, 11:20:34 AM »
I know of Timber frame buildings hundreds of years old that do not have broad overhangs. The biggest engineering reason, not to have broad overhangs, is wind load. A broad overhang gives the wind more area to work against. The real reason is that most early house wrights built how they were trained and trained there apprentices the same way. Historic timber frames, tend to reflect where the settlers came from, often in a simplified form. Often times the complexity of European designs was necessary because of the lack of suitable timber.


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