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Author Topic: Tree selection help for timber framing please!  (Read 1156 times)

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Offline Felix Hatton

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Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« on: May 03, 2023, 06:09:09 PM »
Hey all,

New to this forum, you folks have been so helpful in the past, thankyou. Now I have something specific to ask - Norway Spruce or Western Hemlock for green timber post and beam framing?

In the next few weeks, 50 acres of a mix of both of these trees is being dropped very close to the sites of two projects we're building. 'We', is me, an architect and carpenter, and a bunch of mates of mine who although are experienced joiners, are pretty new to the world of green timber framing. So we're experienced beginners, if that makes sense.

One project is a direct glazed 30m conservatory, the other a 15m heated garden office. Both small, single storey jobs. Both going for a traditional green timber frame primary structure.

Another mate of ours has a mill which we can use for free.

I've heard Hemlock is way more popular for timber framing than spruce, however I've also heard its more prone to twisting than most other trees, which makes me nervous. The trees are all still alive and standing, and growing in the south of england, which I believe is pretty similar in climate to Oregon/Washington over the pond. Both are the same price per ton. I was thinking of cutting 7x7s or 8x8s, one per tree, boxing the heart with the pith right in the middle on both ends. But which of the two species should I go for?

..Thoughts?!

Offline Felix Hatton

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2023, 06:47:36 PM »
Going for the Forum record for most views with no replies... 8)

Offline beenthere

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2023, 07:14:58 PM »
Don't want to ruin your attempt to break a record. But a bit puzzled that you are in England and talking about species that I'm not sure are growing there in England. 

But welcome to the Forestry Forum. 
Maybe you can fill us in on the details of  your source of logs. 
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2023, 07:49:58 PM »
When I was milling timbers in New England, spruce twisted more than the hemlock did.

Use what you have, check with other timber framers in England as to what they like to use.
And good luck with your projects.

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

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2023, 01:05:18 AM »
But a bit puzzled that you are in England and talking about species that I'm not sure are growing there in England. 


Pretty sure that stands of various introduced species have been grown around England. A bit like here in NZ where 99% of the timber harvest is "Exotic"introduced species. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline Chilterns

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2023, 03:03:02 AM »
Get in touch with The Oxfordshire Woodland Group who are fairly close to your sphere of operation. They have built a garden office using Douglas fir, larch & western red cedar for the frame and also employed western hemlock for floor planks.

Contact trustees[at]oxfordshirewoodlandgroup.co.uk

Chilterns

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Online Don P

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2023, 07:19:33 AM »
One project is a direct glazed 30m conservatory, the other a 15m heated garden office. Both going for a traditional green timber frame primary structure.


You lost me at direct glazed, green timber and architect involved :D.
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2023, 10:39:34 AM »
But a bit puzzled that you are in England and talking about species that I'm not sure are growing there in England.


Pretty sure that stands of various introduced species have been grown around England. A bit like here in NZ where 99% of the timber harvest is "Exotic"introduced species.
Agree Ian
Just looking for more information about the project than the brief given by the OP
south central Wisconsin
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Offline Chilterns

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2023, 02:39:58 AM »
My understanding of the terminology employed is as follows :-

Green Timber = freshly felled (any species) i.e. not seasoned or kiln dried

Direct Glazed = glass fitted directly (into rebates) on the timber frame,
i.e. not window frames fitted and fixed to the timber frame.

Architect Involved = the person designing and "hands on" making the timber frame e.g. as per Jack Sobon (but maybe less experienced).

Brighton, East Sussex, UK. = nothing like Oregon (no mountains, much less rain, etc.

Offline Englishbarn

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2023, 04:39:03 PM »
Hi fellow Brightonian!

I'd be very interested to know how you will direct glaze with green wood. All the methods I've researched look hideously complicated to take account of inevitable wood movement.

I'm not sure England's south coast is a good match for Oregon/Washington... not (that) much rain and very little to zero snow each winter.

Good luck and do share your glazing ideas please

Matt
Brighton, UK

Offline Felix Hatton

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2023, 06:55:38 PM »
Get in touch with The Oxfordshire Woodland Group who are fairly close to your sphere of operation. They have built a garden office using Douglas fir, larch & western red cedar for the frame and also employed western hemlock for floor planks.

Contact trustees[at]oxfordshirewoodlandgroup.co.uk

Chilterns

[at] = @
Ah good tip, many thanks :)

Offline Felix Hatton

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2023, 07:00:49 PM »
Don't want to ruin your attempt to break a record. But a bit puzzled that you are in England and talking about species that I'm not sure are growing there in England.

But welcome to the Forestry Forum.
Maybe you can fill us in on the details of  your source of logs.
Thankyou! And yeah, very happy to let go of the 'no-one cares' record..
They're definitely hemlocks I'm told, floppy tops, shaggy bark etc. Forestry consultant running the removal job told me. They were planted about 40 years ago along with the spruce on private land of a wealthy bloke who wanted space in the country. About half and half, and all of them a total of about 50 acres. Theres loads of non-indigenous stuff growing here. Eucalyptus for example also seems to love it here.

Offline Felix Hatton

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2023, 07:08:32 PM »
When I was milling timbers in New England, spruce twisted more than the hemlock did.

Use what you have, check with other timber framers in England as to what they like to use.
And good luck with your projects.

Jim Rogers
Thanks Jim.
Framers here tend to use doug fir or larch. Not yet found any who use either hemlock or spruce, although I've heard from a Scottish academic that spruce should be fine.
Problem I'm having now though is that The UK have now had an invasive continental pest appear (IPS topographus, or 'Spruce Bark Beetle'), and the epicentre of the infestation is slap bang in the middle of my part of the country (facepalm).
Anyone know much about this little bugger over in the states/canada?
Theres now a demarcated zone drawn around sussex, essex, london and hampshire where the movement of spruce is highly controlled to stop it spreading to scotland where it could screw up the largest part of our UK based forestry operations. I'm waiting to hear back from the Forestry comission to become an 'authorised processor', which is hilarious given that all the others are huge commercial sawmills, whereas I'm just an educated fool with a pair of [I have typed a profane word that is automatically changed by the forum censored words program I should know better] chainsaws.
Nice that they're considering my proposal though, which apparently, and I quote, 'doesnt fill them with horror'.

Offline Felix Hatton

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2023, 07:21:13 PM »
Hi fellow Brightonian!

I'd be very interested to know how you will direct glaze with green wood. All the methods I've researched look hideously complicated to take account of inevitable wood movement.

I'm not sure England's south coast is a good match for Oregon/Washington... not (that) much rain and very little to zero snow each winter.

Good luck and do share your glazing ideas please

Matt
Brighton, UK
Awesome! As if I'd find someone local on here?! 
OFFSITE LINK DELETED BY ADMIN
In a nutshell though, there are two systems I need to decide on.
The first is expandible foam tape, like ISO-Bloco 1, which has incredible tolerances. When I was working on 400 year old stone buildings in the peak district I specified it to seal windows against wonky old reveals. It gives an air and watertight seal with a tolerance of up to something silly like 40mm having come off the roll only 8mm thick. I'm therefore most comfortable with this system. However, its soooooo expensive. Like, 2.5k just for the flipping tape on a conservatory.
The other system is EPDM. Not expandible. Much less movement tolerance. Much much cheaper. However, even though I'm far less comfortable using this system, the thing that confuses me is that all the green oak framers in the UK who I've spoken to have been using it for decades and keep telling me its 'tried and tested'.
So I dunno yet. Depends how much the client wants to fork out too. TBC..
Looking forward to getting to know you and your projects!

Offline beenthere

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2023, 11:44:39 PM »
Quote
I'll be sharing all the details soon on instagram I hope, propbably in late autumn (@grainsurgery)

Maybe I'm wrong (..it happens), but seems bad manners to state on a forum like this Forestry Forum, and then leading the interested members off to another place to keep up with the details. What's up? 
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline DBoyle

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Re: Tree selection help for timber framing please!
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2023, 08:18:02 AM »
I'm close to getting my oak frame raised (though I've been thinking that for the last 2 months) in N. Ireland. I plan to "direct glaze" this on one gable end maybe next year. There are details about this in a few places. The first I came across was in a well cited text freely available:

see p86 of 

https://forestry.gov.scot/publications/343-green-oak-in-construction/download

Another is Ted Benson's book "the timber frame home".

More details from another source:

01 Corner Post - Solution (a) _ (greenoakcarpentry.co.uk)

There are several videos on youtube as well (search "oak frame direct glazing"). 

EPDM does seem to be the most widely used seal.

I expect things not to be perfect or to become less perfect as the frame shrinks but I will have the "luxury" of maintaining/fixing/panicking about things as the frame settles and gaps may appear over the coming years, all being well.


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