Red Suspenders Timber Frames

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Sizing and Layout

All of the timbers for the home have been cut and are now in the dry kilns. Both kilns are operating at maximum capacity. We are well into the frame fabrication.

Image Not Available Keith and Will are unloading the second batch of timbers from the dry kiln and setting them up so that the timbers can be planed in the Yates Model 14 Timber Sizer. At this point, the timber surface is very rough. Sizing will ensure a square timber and make the first dimensional cut. All of the timbers came out of the kiln in very good condition with about 17% residual moisture content.
Richard and Doug can be seen here "sizing" or planing the load of timbers. You can already see the smoother finish on the timber and the heart is plainly visible. All of the timbers came through the planing operation in good shape. From here, they will be stored in the layout barn until Doug and Richard can physically "layout" the joinery dimensions. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Once the timbers have been planed, they are moved to into storage in the Layout Barn. Here Keith is positioning several large timbers for the layout operation. We use these massive sawhorses seen at left to support the timbers. At this point, these timbers weigh about 800 lbs.
Here Doug is studying the plans to make sure he has the correct timber for the portion of the frame he is fabricating. Once the timber is correctly identified, he will evaluate it to determine which side should face the wall and which end should go down. Once this is done, he will "layout" the actual joinery on the wood surface using his square and pencil. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Once the initial layout work is done, Richard takes the plans and checks Doug's work to ensure it is accurate. Richard assumes that Doug did it wrong so all the dimensions and cut lines are measured against the plans. We always use a two man checking process at critical stages so that no one checks his own work. It just works better that way.
After the layout passes inspection, the peg holes are drilled where mortise joints will be cut. Drilling is a precise operation and Richard is using a carpenter's square to ensure that the hole is drilled perpendicular to the timber face. Drilling the hole at an angle makes the joint very difficult to construct and almost impossible to assemble. If the mortise had already been cut, the drill could slip in the mortis causing an inaccurate alignment. Image Not Available
Image Not Available The first load of timbers with layout markings and peg holes drilled is moved into the Timber Shop. Here Kevin is using Mr. Mortiser to make the initial mortis cuts on the timber face. The machine is actually a specially built horizontal mill that precisely removes the proper amount of wood from the mortise joint.
In this close up shot you can see Kevin following the layout marks drawn on the timber face by Doug and Richard. Removing most of the wood from a mortise using this machine greatly speeds the work and keeps the crew from wearing themselves out cutting mortise joints. The final portion of the work is done by hand as you will see later. This particular cut is for a purlin. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Kevin is finishing out some of the mortis joints. All of the joinery is finished out by hand to ensure an accurate fit. It is very time consuming but the level of quality and fit is easily seen. If we don't cut it right, it wont fit right... or maybe not at all! We take a lot of care to do it right.
Here you can see Will working on an edge bevel with the hand planer. Notice that all of the mortis joints have been finished. This timber is about 20' long and contains seven individual mortis joints. Image Not Available