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Author Topic: Timber frame design, traditional vs actual.  (Read 501 times)

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Offline Upstatewoodchuc

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Timber frame design, traditional vs actual.
« on: November 09, 2019, 08:51:22 AM »
Hi there guys, havent been on the board in awhile. So after reading Will Beemer's book on timber framing and looking at many people's designs i must say i am slightly confused. Looking at modern plans that people have been building i see use of Girt's and more Posts that are closer together then i am used to. I grew up around alot of old buildings and barns and perhaps it was a regional thing, but almost all barns and houses i can recall in the upstate NY area did not use girts, they used upright posts almost like modern wall studs and they were usually spaced about 3 feet apart, these posts were also almost always 4"x3" or sometimes 4"x4". Also on the subject of posts, i see many more posts being used now that are spaced closer together, is this due to the smaller timbers usually being used and smaller load carrying ability? For instance one of my parents barns (still standing straight) is 21' by 25' and uses 9"x10" posts that are spaced over 12' apart on the long walls, that makes only 3 posts per side. I'm just curious if this was an okay way to build or if there are advantages to using girts instead of uprights and closer post spacing. Were they able to get away with this just due to the shear size of the timber that was around? Perhaps hardwood vs. softwood also allowed it? For instance in the larger section of barn my parents have the tie beams and posts are 14"x12" and the frame spans 40' long with singular timbers. Thanks in advance guys, im planning a building out of recycling another one i have and want to make sure my plans are decent. 
Current collection: Husky 3120xp,  394xp, 365, 345, stihl 017, homelite xl12.  Ford 8n with loader and forks. 1968 Chevy C50 dump truck

Offline Don P

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Re: Timber frame design, traditional vs actual.
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2019, 09:56:56 PM »
You will find just about everything under the sun if you look long enough, and within reason, its all good. The Dutch tended to frame on about 4' spacings, the module I've seen most often here is around 12'. As long as the timbers are sized correctly for the loads the spans can vary considerably. Our 16" framing probably comes from the common length of firewood. If the framing was spaced at roughly 16" a peasant could save out the clear straight grained pieces and split plaster lath by the fire in the evenings and slowly draftproof his home. There is one more advantage of closer spaced members, redundancy. Many hands make light work. If you lose a member or two in a modern stick frame the surrounding closely spaced members can normally carry the relatively light load. If you lost a large widely spaced member everything gets into serious trouble.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Upstatewoodchuc

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Re: Timber frame design, traditional vs actual.
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2019, 08:15:28 AM »
Thank you for the reply don, that makes sense! And I suppose I should have clarified kn my poorly worded question, their barns obviously had girts halfway up to lay floor joists on, but none between posts on each floor which seems to be common now. I was looking at plans for a simple 16'x12' shed and they even used girts between posts instead of vertical members despite it being a single story structure.
Current collection: Husky 3120xp,  394xp, 365, 345, stihl 017, homelite xl12.  Ford 8n with loader and forks. 1968 Chevy C50 dump truck

Offline Don P

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Re: Timber frame design, traditional vs actual.
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2019, 05:38:55 PM »
I'd need to see a sketch but often they are there simply to support siding. Siding orientation can drive the decision on whether to use girts or studs as well.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Offline Heartwood

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Re: Timber frame design, traditional vs actual.
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2019, 08:09:02 AM »
Like Don says, the horizontal girts are for nailing vertical cladding; vertical studs would support horizontal boards. Neither would be needed with SIPs or an external light frame.
Door and window locations must also be considered for support of trimmers.
Girts also provide a place for tchotchkes...

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Timber frame design, traditional vs actual.
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2019, 11:37:43 AM »
I'm not noticing what you are.  Not many girts or close posts.  A lot of frames I see on the facebook pages of timberframe companies are modern frames that often combine styles to fit the design of a home or other structure.  Some shops have developed some of their own features that often make their frames recognizable to an extent.  One shop's brace style I see commonly carried through many of their frames.  Most timberframers are flexible to what their customer wants as well.  I don't find it that common that frames today are one style - Dutch, German.... whatever.  They are an amalgam or hybrid of styles to fit the function or taste.  As to girts, insulating a timberframe today typically will not need girts if you're using SIPS, or a 2x6 framed envelope.   
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
If I say it\\\\\\\'s going to take so long, multiply that by at least 3!


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