Red Suspenders Timber Frames

Image Not Available

Shop work is in full swing, layout continues and John's crew is making the brace stock for the frame. In this report we will look at how mortise joints are cut and we will watch John's crew planing the brace stock.

Image Not Available Its early on a Monday morning but the coffee is hot and the weather will be nice today so it's time to get started.

Teak the Wonder Dog is checking out the place to make sure everyone is "on station" and you can see that we have already moved a bunch of timbers into the timber shop.

Yes, the light upstairs means that Robert, Tim and Gene are also on the job!
The first step in cutting the joinery is to make the initial cuts for all of the mortises. The machine Chet is using is know as Mr. Mortiser. It is actually a horizontal milling machine that "relieves" the majority of the wood from a mortise before it is finished by hand. You can see by all of the chips on the floor that Chet has already done a bunch of oak timbers. Here is "blocking" a new timber to make sure it is rigidly held and at the proper alignment to the milling head. Image Not Available
Image Not Available In this close up, you can see where the milling head has removed most of the wood from this particular mortise. If you look closely, you can see the "cut lines" drawn in very light pencil marks. If you consider how many mortise cuts are to be made in your frame, you can begin to appreciate the effectiveness of this machine. It would be impossible for us to make any deadline if we had to remove all this wood by hand.

Once the majority of the wood has been removed, the mortise is then finished by hand using the traditional mallet and chisel.
The milling bit can not produce as accurate cuts as we can do by hand. Here you can see Steve clearing out the bottom of the cut and squaring the sides with his hand tools. The square you see in the foreground is used to make sure the mortise is cut perfectly square to the timber face.

Every mortise joint in the frame will be finished in this manner.
Image Not Available
Image Not Available While the crew is working back at the timber shop, John and his crew are planing brace stock. We use the smaller planner for braces as it produces an almost finished surface and is very fast.
Mike and Victor alternate pulling the finished braces from the machine... it's that fast. We have a lot of brace stock to plane so using this machine saves us about a day and a half over what it would take with a smaller planer. Image Not Available
Image Not Available You can see in this close-up how the braces look after being run through the planer. Once all of the braces are done, they will be moved to Brace Land where Keith will lay out each individual brace just as was done for all of the post, girts and other beams.
Richard and Keith match the timbers with the timber list to make sure we have everything we need for your frame. There is still a lot of work ahead.

In the next report, we will look more closely at some of the other joinery being cut for the frame.
Image Not Available