Red Suspenders Timber Frames

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Finishing up

The weather turned very nice over the last two days and work has moved outside where we can begin joining and finishing some of the larger plates. We are kicking up a lot of sawdust and shavings and have begun work on the two bedroom arches and the frame is nearing completion.

Image Not Available Four of the great room top arch sections are seen here. The joinery has been cut and the arches inspected to ensure quality compliance. Next stop will be final finishing and oiling.
The two remaining arch sections for the outside bents are seen here in the Layout Barn. Doug will begin work on these today. First he will plan all sides to smooth and square the arch sections then he will layout the tenon joinery at each end. Image Not Available
Image Not Available John Box looks on with wonder at the arch form for the three bedroom arches. This is one of the largest arches we've built and it is a challenge. You can see the size of the arch compared with John who stands near 6 foot.
The first load of 1x laminate board from the board planer arrives at the shop. There will be many of these loads before all three bedroom arches are finished. The flexible nature of this material makes handling such long boards difficult. But, it's this very flexibility that we need to conform the laminate material to the arch form. Image Not Available
Image Not Available All of the laminate board for the arch has been pulled into the shop and is ready for staging. Even in this rather cool shop we are working up a sweat moving all this material around. It really has a mind of its own.
The initial build has been done successfully and the crew is pulling the end pieces into position. There is considerable tension in the arch laminate so many clamps are required to hold the board to the form. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Doug and Kevin are inspecting the ends of the form to ensure the laminate is following the curving surface correctly. They have determined that we need additional pressure on the ends of the laminate to pull the boards into place. There is a lot more tension that we anticipated and the crew has to work quickly before the epoxy becomes unworkable.
Keith and Doug decided to run a strap across the end section and pull the laminate into place with a "come-along" braced against the main support post in the form. The plan works better than anticipated and the laminate boards are pulled into place. We will used this technique on the two remaining arches. Image Not Available
Image Not Available The first build of a bedroom arch is completed and it is an impressive sight. Tomorrow, all the clamps will be removed and we will do this all over again as we build up the arch to its final thickness. Building an arch of this size is very time consuming but the end result is very impressive!

Meanwhile, outside work picks up while the weather is so nice.

Short sleeves in January? Only in Texas! Here the crew is working outside in Braceland. Kevin is cutting the curved sections of the knee braces while Will and Keith are working other parts of the frame. Image Not Available
Image Not Available It's hard to see the "cut line" in this shot but Kevin is using the band saw to make the initial cuts for the curved section of this brace. Later he will use the belt sander to bring the curved surfaces into tolerance. Notice that the tenon has already been cut into this brace. Sanding produces the finished surface so all work up to sanding must be completed so the brace is not damaged buy subsequent handling.
There is a lot to see in the picture. Notice the traditional tools on the table saw platform. The mallet is of course used with the chisel to form the joinery. You can also see a "Japanese hand saw" laying on the form used to set the brace curves. This saw produces very precise cuts with little "kerf" because of it very sharp and thin blade. Kerf is the material removed from the cut by the saw. Will is using a miter saw set in a platform Richard built for cutting brace stock. The platform is precisely square so that brace stock can be cut accurately and quickly. Image Not Available
Image Not Available It still gets dark early this time of year but with the mild temperatures, we can continue to work outside. We can just see Jupiter popping out in the east as night falls and it is a beautiful time of year. Here Richard is hand finishing one of the large plate timbers used in the great room. This timber was fashioned from two timbers and joined in the middle by a Scarf joint that you saw Will building earlier. We are assembling and finishing these large plates at the shop rather than on site so that the raising will go faster.

We will complete the frame and ship to the construction site in the next few days.