Red Suspenders Timber Frames

Image Not Available

Building the arches

The first load of 1x material for the arches is out of the kiln and the shop is prepared to build the first of the laminated arches used in the great room. It's a complex process that requires speed and precision. We use a marine epoxy to hold the material together and it has a comparatively short working time.

Image Not Available The day started off with a bit of fog and high humidity but that won't be a problem inside the shop. This picture was taken shortly after 7:00am and the sun is not up quite yet. The guys are clearing the shop floor to make room for the arch work. The timber ends you see in the trailer are scrap and will be sent to the chipper and recycled as landscaping mulch.

Today, we will be building one of the 6 upper arches used in the great room.
All of the 1x material has been selected and readied for the lamination process. Two crews are set up on the shop floor, one on the right as seen here and one behind the camera. The crews work alternate to each other spreading epoxy and loading the form. Here Richard is applying a thin coat of epoxy to one side of the board while Kevin stabilizes the board. Image Not Available
Image Not Available In this close up you can see that Richard wears gloves to protect his hands as do all of the crew. The roller used is a "closed cell" type that leaves virtually no bubbles in the epoxy coat. The layer of epoxy is allowed to settle slightly before the boards are stacked on the form.
Richard and Kevin have already placed the board on the form in this shot. The straight laminate boards resting on the top of the arch is the new section. Each arch is built in two stages. In stage one, the lower portion is built. You see it just above the bottom form rails. Arches are built in two stages because it would be very difficult to bend all of the laminate material at the same time. Crew two is ready to add to the laminate stack. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Will and Keith place the next board in place. You can more easily see the first stage arch resting on the bottom form rails in this image. All of the clamps used to hold the work in place are staged at the bottom of the form. All of the laminate material at the top between Keith and Will will be molded to the lower arch.
All of the 1x boards are in place. Will and Kevin are beginning the forming process. The first set of clamps secures the center section of the laminate board stack to the bottom arch. You can see all of the clamps and holders are set for quick production. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Keith is setting a number of clamps starting from the center section out to the ends. No pressure is being applied to the clamps as yet. Once the initial set of clamps is in place, the crew will work from the center section toward each end simultaneously.
Pressure is being applied to the clamps pulling the laminate boards into position. It is a team effort because both ends must be pulled down to the lower arch at the same time. Image Not Available
Image Not Available You can see how the 1x boards are being pulled into the final arch shape as the crew works at opposite ends. The end clamps are the most difficult and require the most pressure. It's tricky business requiring a steady hand and team coordination.
You can see from this angle that the final arch shape is coming into view. The crew is applying progressively more clamping pressure from the center section outward conforming the laminate boards to the final shape. The ends still require final clamping at that is a very difficult task. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Richard and Will are applying pressure to the end laminate boards pulling them into position. There is a lot of tension in the laminate at this point and it requires a strong effort to pull everything into place.
Image Not Available
This is a completed great room top arch section ready for the crew to fabricate the end tenons. The laminated arch has an initial hand finish to smooth and square it. You can see the markings on the side and top that indicate where the cuts will be made. You can bet these dimensions were checked several times! If we make a mistake at this point, we've lost a lot of work.

After the joinery has been cut, the arches will receive a final hand finish.