Monday, June 18, 2012

We raised a house in 6 days!

This week was a crash course in timber framing.  By timber framing, I don’t mean nailing a frame together out of 2x4s.  I mean traditional wood frame joinery with mortises and tenons and wood pegs.  No nails.  No screws (ok, so I think there were 2 screws in the whole thing, just to hold the rafters together at the top). 

So we started on Monday knowing absolutely nothing about timber framing.  In 6 days, with the excellent guidance of our instructor Sarah, we learned new tools and techniques, measured and planned out locations and sizes of mortises and tenons, carved them out, cut out braces and posts and tie beams and plates, and assembled them on Saturday with a crew of volunteers to make our three bent frame for our cottage.
Our awesome, badass instructor, Sarah

It was a challenging week for the group, but we pulled together really well.  Lots of new information really fast, lots of long days (working into the evening with headlamps on Thursday and Friday), a lot of communication and teamwork necessary to make everything come together on Saturday.  And hey, we didn't even want to kill each other by the end!  I'd say that's a good sign for our group.

Gathered around for some instruction
But at the end of the week it was incredibly satisfying to see what we had made.  All the planning and detailed work and long days produced this beautiful, perfectly fitting timber structure that will be seen on the inside of our finished cottage and will be enjoyed for decades and decades. 

There was much good local beer drinking and music playing and singing and skinnydipping to celebrate :)  Perfect end to the week.

Here's some photos from the raising day on Saturday:

Laying out bents 1 and 3 (a bent is 2 posts connected by a tie beam)
More layout

Raising bent 1.  I am the one in the plaid shirt and the blue pants :)

Bracing bent 1 in place

Raising and bracing bent 2

All three bents up!

Bracing bents against each other.  The temporary braces will be removed later.

Look, temporary floor going on top of our floor joists!  Britt is excited about this...

Finished!!!  ...for now.

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