Red Suspenders Timber Frames

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Cutting joinery

Layout continues and timber production is moving at a good pace. One load of timbers remains in the dry kilns and should be finished in a few days. There has been a lot of activity going on in many different shop locations and it is difficult to show all of the work in progress, so, we have selected the pictures most representative of the work being performed.

Image Not Available An unexpected visitor to the shop is checking up on Daddy! She is making sure he is on schedule and not goofing off. Marit Chauvin is a delight to us all and has too many uncles who spoil her, but there are timbers to be cut and work to be done.
Tim has moved layout to the big barn to free up much needed space in the timber shop. He can be seen making a pass along the timber face with a power hand planer. In the process of layout, we must ensure that each timber is perfectly square all along its length. Slight imperfections on the timber face could change the layout dimensions making the joinery difficult to fabricate. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Keith, Will and Doug are working on a jig arrangement for a mortise that will be cut on one of the timbers faces. The machine you see is a chain mortiser. It is used to cut away the waste wood from the mortise, just as we do with Mr. Mortiser.
Will is finishing one of the many tenons in the chapel frame. After we cut the tenon with a power saw, we hand finish all of the surfaces. Will is using a hand plane to achieve a smooth surface and produce the final dimension of the tenon. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Meet Travis Horton. You've seen Travis working in the shop in other reports. Travis is a Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of Stephen F. Austin University and is a trained sculptor. To Travis, working with timbers is a lot like sculpting.
Travis is working on some of the complex joinery on Post 1B. In this image you can see the various cuts that were made to achieve the mortise and double tenon at the end of the post. How do we know this is Post 1B? It's marked on the end of the post. Remember that every timber in the chapel has its own designation so we know exactly where it belongs in the frame. You will see a lot of these markings. Image Not Available
Image Not Available After the joinery is finished, it is coated with "end sealer" which is similar in appearance to white glue but is actually a wax based product. Travis is about to apply end sealer to these timbers.
End sealer seals the end grain of the timbers. Although we dry the timbers to less than 20% moisture content, there is still some moisture left in the core. When we cut joinery into the end of the timber, it produces an easy path to the outside for the remaining internal moisture, which could cause the end joinery to check and change dimension. End sealer retards this rapid loss of moisture. Eventually, all of the timbers will dry to an equilibrium with the surrounding environment.

The joinery for Post 4D and Post 3D are complete and the timbers are ready for final finishing.
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Image Not Available Will and Richard start construction of the form used to build the long sweeping lower arch timber. The arch timber will be a laminate of 1" boards. We will build the laminated arch in another report.
The form must be laid out in a precise manner to ensure the arch complies with the construction drawings. It will take these men the better part of a day to complete the form to the exacting measurements required. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Meet Arvel Aldridge. Arvel is a long time friend of the shop and a well respected timberwright in the industry. Arvel has joined the crew for a few weeks to help out with the chapel project. Arvel is seen here cutting some of the more complex tenons for the hammer beams.
Arvel is finishing up his saw work and is moving the next timber into place. There will be a more pictures of Arvel's in subsequent reports. It is a pleasure watching this man go about his work. Image Not Available