Brennan Timber Frame Day 1
The cedar timbers arrived last Saturday. We spent half a day setting the material inside a wing of a warehouse that serves as our tracing floor. The July heat was flexing its muscles that day, and I was glad to begin this project with a roof over my head. Such precautions might prove unnecessary as Columbia has been graced by a cooling wind these last couple of days. If forecasts hold true, the whole week won't go into the 90s. Quite rare for us South Carolinians to experience a bit of September in July!
Work began today by establishing the frame's layout onto the tracing floor. This initial step commits a great deal of information onto all proceeding steps, and as such requires deliberate consideration.
- Check and double check.
- Gather round with the whole crew and talk through the design and layout.
- Check again, and again.
- Once more, for good measure.
As the frame's layout took shape we also began sealing the end grain of the timbers. Sealing the end grain allows us to reduce the degree of checking that occurs in the wood. A paraffin was or similar product serves this purpose well. After a member of the frame is completed, we will reseal any end grain that was exposed during the build process. And that's how the first part of the morning passed.
By mid morning, we had the three standards and the two main header beams out on the tracing floor and scribed. The layout and scribing processes are highly centralized, with everyone focused on the same task. As the joinery work begins in earnest, the process shifts into several distinct roles. An impromptu assembly line forms as each person focuses on their specific task. Transferring scribe lines, mortise and tenon layout, skillsaw cuts, chainsaw cuts, chisel work, sanding, peg layout, and drilling all begin happening simultaneously. We ended the day well, with all of the first layer's joinery work complete and all of the processes converging together to begin tomorrow's work gathering round the next series of scribe lines.