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Timber Framing

brendonv

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So, I exchanged a couple pm's with PCTree reguarding his timber framed barn he built, that I LOVE. He suggested I start a thread to see if anyone else has ever done it. My tools will be limited at the start, a stihl gas drill and some chisels. I'd like to start with a small woodshed, maybe an 8x8 building with a slant roof.

A few questions, what kind of wood is best? I'm thinking in the beginning I can use softwood because it'll be easier to work with and light, and of course it won't be sitting directly on the ground. I have a bunch of spruce trees to remove at one of my brothers houses, would those work?

How do I know what size timbers to use based on species to keep sufficient strength in the wood after the mortises have been cut?

Anyone have any experience with any books on the subject?
 

Altissimus

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Ted Benson over in New Hampshire is the "Beraneck" of Timber Framers (runs a school , sells books , and buildings) .... this style of construction is in vogue right now ... I have a friend who sourced Hemlock for a large barn .... I'd bet Spruce makes strong timbers ...
 

brendonv

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I'll look him up.

I did some researching today, and found that Forestry forum has a timber frame forum. It looks like Spruce is OK, it has a tendancy to twist while drying I guess.

I'm hooked on this all of a sudden.
 

PCTREE

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Better that than CRACK:D

Ill try to get some pics of the stuff I have worked on. My next project is going to be my subteranian house with a timber frame roof structure. I have been collecting timbers for a while, 12x18 beams and 12x12 posts all oak. I like to over build stuff:lol: but hey I got the wood. This was going to be a long term goal butI am starting to think about getting on it sooner so we can sell this house and get out of debt... Still havent figured where to get the money to build with though:(
 

Dave Shepard

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Brendon, the best book for you to get to build a shed is Jack Sobon's "Timber Framed Construction". It has plans for a 12'x16' utility shed. The book covers a lot of aspects of TF, especially the square rule method, which is what you will want to use. The book also includes step-by-step instructions of cutting the joints, as well as pictures. Tedd Benson and Jack Sobon are two people that have done a lot for TF over the years. Benson works with a lot of high-end home designs, while Jack is more of a traditional TF architect. I know Jack personally, and will be taking a cruck frame workshop with him this summer.

If you can, I would try to take a week long TF workshop. You can learn a lot from books, but a workshop will be worth every penny, without question. Jack teaches a traditional workshop the last weekend of september at Hancock Shaker Village, andHeartwood School does many different classes each summer.

A starter tool list for a white pine frame:

Framing square
2" Framing chisel
Mallet
Boring machine, T-auger, or power drill.
2" drill bit.
Slick
Combination square
Tape measure
Stanley SharpTooth 26" hand saw, or a Japanese Ryoba of at least 300mm.

I'll keep adding as I think of them.

I would avoid spruce. It is a very dry wood, even fresh, and the knots are harder then hell, and will ruin edge tools. White pine is a great wood for TF. Hemlock is not bad either, but splinters when it dries. You will of course need to find a good sawyer to give you straight, square timbers.

I would join both the Forestry Forum, and the Timber Framers Guild forum. There are top notch framers on both sites. Jim_Rogers is the moderator on the FF, and also has good quality tools for sale, I know Jim personally, and his tools are as advertised, ready to be used, and are priced very fairly. I find his prices for slicks to be the cheapest around. At the Hancock Shaker Village workshop, about five tool dealers show up with a ton of good gear. I think there is also a Jim Bode tools website, he has some good stuff as well.

Ask your questions here, and I'll try to get them answered, if I can.
 

Dave Shepard

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Hand crank boring machine.



4" slick, like a giant chisel, used for paring, never struck with a mallet. There are also a couple of hand planes in the shot. A low angle block plane and a rabbet plane are handy for TF also.



This is a sill for a shed very similar to what you want to build. It is based on the shed in Jack's book.

 

brendonv

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Thanks for all the links, pretty freaking cool I must say. I'm thinking I'll hit the flea markey this weekend and try to find some chisels/ planes.
 

Dave Shepard

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For working softwood, you would typically use a 2" mortise and tenon, and a 2" chisel. 1.5" for hardwood. A proper American framing chisel has a slight sweep on the back, starting at the cutting edge, and running towards the handle. You look down it as you would when checking a 2x4 for straightness, only you want a little sweep. I'll post some photos tonight of framing chisels. A new framing chisel is about $120, and a good used one can range from $40 to $90. The new ones, are good, especially the Barr Quartons, but the old ones have the best steel. They are mild or cast steel with a high carbon steel cutting edge laminated on to them. Sharpening tools are a must for timber framing. I'll go over my sharpening kit later.
 

brendonv

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I'd appreciate that. Thanks Dave.

So I'm thinking I will be more vigilant now that I have timber framing in mind, when cutting my logs off jobs.

Ideally, what are good lengths to cut wood into, with the intent on using them in the future...either for framing, siding, whatever? Obviously my lifting capacity will be limited with the mini, and typically the wood is residential so notch and drops aren't around anymore with the gypo's running around.

Is there any standards?
 

Dave Shepard

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I'm guessing you have a lot of eastern white pine around, which is what I'd use for small structures. It is also good for big stuff as well, but design values come in to play more with longer spans. I cut my softwood logs to even lengths, plus 6" trim. You want straight sections of log, with major branches, crotches and knot whorls to be avoided, as they will weaken the timber, and make joinery more difficult. The first sill I cut has joist pockets 2 feet on center, the branch whorls were exactly 2 feet on center, and there was a small knot at each joist pocket location on all four sides of the timber.:roll::lol:

You will probably be using 8x8's, so you will want a log that is about a foot on the small end, maybe 14" to make sure there is no wane on the timber. A little wane is not a structural problem, but does make your layout and cutting a bit more difficult. There are a couple of approaches to how you make your timber. You can take a smaller log and slab four sides and get the timber, or you can take a larger log and take a board or two off of each side. These boards can be used for siding, and even narrower boards with a little wane can be used for roof sheathing. Splitting bigger logs can work, such as sawing out a 16"x16" and quartering it for four timbers, but sometimes there is so much stress that the timbers just bend uncontrollably.

As far as what lengths you should be cutting, that depends on your building dimensions. You mentioned a small eight footish shed. An 8x10, or 8x12 is probably a good dimension, or historically, a dimension based on a right triangle was used, such as a 9x12, with the diagonal being 20 feet. In Mass, we can build a 120 square foot building without a permit, what is the deal in CT? Will your mini lift a 12'6"x14" white pine log?

What are your plans for milling? Do you have a mill nearby that will custom cut for you? A CSM is another option, but a little time consuming. I'll have to post photos of tools tomorrow, I didn't get home until late. Keep the questions coming.
 

lumberjack

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The mini will lift a 14" log of that length no problem.

FWIW, on a 9x12 triangle, the hypotenuse is 15. Multiples of 3,4, and 5.
 

Dave Shepard

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Yes, I know that, I used the hypotenuse from the wrong building. That'll happen when you are doing to many things, to late at night.:D I realized my mistake this morning, whilst boring myself to tears on a bulldozer, but I was not bothered, as I knew you would catch the mistake for me, thereby saving brendon from making one of the weirdest shaped sheds in the Northeast.:lol:
 

Dave Shepard

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Never studied trig, which is unfortunate, as I think it would come in handy, especially with compound joinery. I did enjoy geometry in school, use it fairly often. The hypotenuse of the 12'x16' shed in the Sobon book is 20'. The shed I'm working on is 8'6"x12" I'm not giving you the hypotenuse, because I'm to tired to think about it right now.:|:
 

lumberjack

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Does Brendon? He does now and perhaps you realized the sun doesn't climb over the horizon to see you each morning.


Zing!










:P

ETA: B, the theory works out that if one leg is 3 and the other is 4, the diagnal will be 5. So if the legs are 9 and 12, the diagnal will be 15 (all multiplied by 3)
 
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