Red Suspenders Timber Frames

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The shop is in full swing as you can see Keith in the background and Steve in the checkered blue flannel. Richard is milling additional spline housings in the back shop as the crew is working toward completion of the frame. We have already made reservations in Pagosa Springs and we are working with several trucking companies to see which one can deliver the frame on time.

Image Not Available The weather has been absolutely beautiful and we have made a lot of progress. The timbers you see in this shot have all been cut and are awaiting final finishing.

It appears that we will be loading two semi trucks for the journey north to Pagosa Springs. Today, it is just too beautiful to work inside so we have moved a lot of the work outdoors to enjoy a delightful Fall day in East Texas.
Chet and Tim are laying out the final timbers in the frame. Chet has really gotten into stride on layout and is doing an excellent job... of course, a lot of hot coffee helps!

Teak the wonder dog, is looking for a nice spot in the morning sun as it is a bit chilly out this morning. She has already checked on all the crew and is satisfied that everyone is accounted for!
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Image Not Available Tim will be finishing most of the posts in the Great Room section of the home today. This is the part of the job he enjoys the most and he is an incredibly productive craftsman. In fact, there is a lot of paper work I've been trying to get him to look at for several days, but he would much rather be outdoors working with big wood. I can't say I blame him in the least.
Steve is finishing up a tenon on yet another rafter timber.

Remember earlier we looked at a finished tenon and discussed why we bevel the tenon edges. Here we can actually see the process being performed. Steve is using a hand plane to bevel the edges of this particular tenon.
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Image Not Available It is necessary to have the bevel edges at a 45 degree angle to the flat surface of the tenon. The only way you can accomplish this with any accuracy is with a hand plane.

It's the little things like this that mark the craftsmanship in timber frame production. No one is going to know if the tenons are beveled once the frame is up, but this simple step ensures that the tenon will slide into the mortise smoothly and produce a tight joint.

Meanwhile, Richard has begun the finishing process. Here, you can see him using a large powered hand plane to surface finish a timber. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Finishing is a time consuming process that requires a great deal of patience. Here, Richard is studying a timber to determine how it should be finished. He must judge surface roughness, any imperfections in the timber face and the timber's overall quality. If he detects any problems at this point, he may recommend that the timber joinery be reworked or he may fail the timber altogether.

Once he approves of the timber, he will begin the planing process.
Hand planing is not as easy as it may first appear. This particular timber had a bit of surface roughness about 1/3 down its length. So, Richard had to adjust the depth of the cut manually as he walked along side with the power planner. He may vary the thickness of the cut no more than 1/32". Any more might alter the way the timber matches its adjoining pieces. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Here is a close-up of the planner in action. The planer is a Mafell 12" power planner with a very precise blade depth adjustment. The operation requires a steady hand and a measured "walk" along the length of the timber. Any slip could result in the planner removing too much wood.

Once the timber is finished, we usually oil the timber, but in this case, we are leaving the finishing to you. Once all of the timbers are finished, they will be wrapped in protective black plastic and banded together for the journey north.

Keith will start inventory on our raising equipment next week and we will start packing the trailer for the trip. Everyone is looking forward to a successful raising in Pagosa Springs!