Red Suspenders Timber Frames

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Finishing an arch

Work is proceeding in several areas as Tim continues to stay ahead of the crew in layout. Several crew members are moving into the fabrication of braces and dormer timbers. In this report, we will see how some of this work is done

Image Not Available Meet Jim Holzknecht. Jim is a veteran of Red Suspenders having started his timber framing career with us many years ago. Jim has rejoined our crew for this project to add his expertise and help. You may have noticed Jim working with the crew during the lamination process in Report #8. This picture was taken just before lamination began, hence the lack of boards on the form.
Jim and Arvel have set up shop in "Braceland" and are working on the chapel arch timbers. You can see by the number of "end pieces" that they have produced a lot of arches and we will follow the production of one arch.

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Image Not Available Arvel has already made the initial end cuts and first radius cut on this chapel arch timber. He will now make the final radius cut that will define the curvature of the arch.
Arvel is using a German made Holzer portable, hand held, band saw to make this inside radius cut. The Holzer was specially made for cutting timbers and in skilled hands, it can produce very intricate cuts.

Portable tools like the Holzer allow us to take the tool to the timber rather than take the timber to the tool.
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Image Not Available Arvel follows the cut line closely, stopping often to check his work. A steady hand is required to handle the Holzer.
Jim lifts away the cutout as Arvel puts away the saw. Image Not Available
Image Not Available You can now easily see the curvature of the timber once the cutout has been removed. This curved arch section was cut from a single timber.
Once the arch is defined, then the tenons are cut. Jim is finishing the tenons on the arch timber that was just cut. Of course, you can see a picture of the "King of Rock and Roll" hanging on the shop wall... hence the name "Braceland"! And that's my final answer. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Jim is planing the arch tenon down to the final dimension lines and chamfering the edges so the tenon will slide into place when the frame is erected. The arch timber will receive a final hand finish before it is consider complete.
Back in the shop, the clamps have been removed from the first stage assembly of the laminated arch. The results are up to expectations and the arch looks very good. It is now ready for stage two. Image Not Available
Image Not Available The crew has mixed the epoxy and started loading the form with laminate. You can see in this image that the laminating boards are very flexible so that they will conform to the radius of the arch.
Most of the epoxy coated boards have been set upon the form to build up the thickness of the arch. You can see the pipe clamps at the ready next to the arch form. Image Not Available
Image Not Available The clamping process begins just as in stage one but the thickness of the arch is a lot greater and it is more difficult to position the pipe clamps.
Doug tamps the laminate into position against the guides as the crew applies more clamps and tension to the laminate material. Image Not Available
Image Not Available All of the clamps are in place and the final tensioning begins. You can get some appreciation of the arch size when you consider that each bent in the chapel will have two of these arches placed on opposite sides.
Jim checks the final tension on the pipe clamps. Everything looks good at this point. The laminated arch will cure overnight in the shop. Once it has been removed from the form, it will be handled as if it were always a solid timber. We will see how the joinery is cut into the laminated arch in a following report. Image Not Available
Image Not Available It's been a hard day but we are very pleased with the results. We will be building one laminated arch each day for the next few days until we get all of the arches built.

There are more reports to come as we follow the crew through the final fabrications stages of the chapel frame.