Red Suspenders Timber Frames

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Sizing the timbers

All of the larger logs we need are on the property and the final sawing operation is well underway. A new load of timbers comes out of the dry kilns, the final load goes in and the first planed timbers are ready for layout.

Image Not Available Tim and Keith are removing a new load of chapel timbers from the dry kilns.
Tim checks the moisture content of the timbers to make sure they are in the correct range. Image Not Available
Image Not Available All of the timbers in this load are well within specifications. You can see from this reading that the moisture content of the timber is 15.9% which is well under our 20% moisture target.
Keith, our Shop Foreman, checks the dimensions of the timber. The crew will sort all of the timbers into comparable sizes and ready them for the timber sizer. Image Not Available
Image Not Available The timbers you see here are different widths because they are different pieces of the frame and hence have different loads to carry. Generally, the greater the load the bigger the timber. The pieces you see in this picture are rafters (technically they are upper chords but everyone calls them rafters), posts and collar beams.
All of these logs came from the Borders tract along the Neches River in Trinity County and were part of a select harvesting. These logs average 22" in diameter and about 16'-20' in length. Each log weighs more than 2,000 lbs. and the average age of the trees harvested was 65 years. Image Not Available
Image Not Available John and Victor check their production against the chapel saw list to make sure they have accounted for all the timbers they need to produce. Every project has its own production list and we cut timbers to fit specific orders. We don't want to miss anything at this stage so each area of production is responsible for accuracy.
The timbers from the dry kiln have been sorted and are ready for the timber sizer. We stage the timbers off to the left of this picture then move then to the roller tables to run through the timber sizer. You can see the crew setting the planer knives and readying the machine for operation. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Richard fires up the diesel and the old 1920s timber sizer comes to life. You can just see the first timber emerging from the sizer as Richard "rides the throttle" keeping the RPMs up to handle the heavy load.
Things are moving quickly as the crew drives the enormous machine and milled timbers are moved into the layout barn. Tim is adjusting the drive wheel on the machine while Kevin rolls 1,000 lbs. of milled timber along the roller table and into the barn. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Keith handles the fork lift and removes the milled timbers from the roller table. The timbers will be staged in the layout barn getting them ready for the first layout session.
Tim makes a final check to ensure the milling operation went as planned and that the timbers are the correct dimension. The timber sizer mills the timbers to produce exact right angles and smooth faces. Before we can "layout the joinery" on the timber the timber must conform to exact dimensions. Image Not Available

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Planing continues as Tim and Will feed yet another large timber into the Yates Model 14. Doug can be seen monitoring the drive belts and rollers that pushes the timber through the cutting blades. You can see what looks like snow as shavings are discharged from the machine.

The next stop is layout which will be covered in the next report.