Red Suspenders Timber Frames

Image Not Available< /p>

Raising the Timber Frame

The raising went very well and we finished erecting the frame in five days. We were all a bit sad to see the project coming to a close but the frame, standing on its foundation, was a magnificent sight. We knew intellectually how big the building and the span was, but seeing it standing was an inspiring sight.

Image Not Available Each "bent" in the chapel is assembled on the ground and hoisted into place. You can see Travis "pegging off" several timbers in this image. You can also get an appreciation of the scale of these bents. Although this picture was taken from an overhead position, we can still see only about a quarter of the over all structure!
In this close-up of Travis, you can see how the complex joinery is coming together. Notice the size of the timbers in relation to Travis. Here he is "counter boring" a tenon through a peg hole. When he inserts the peg, it will draw the tenon into the mortis forming a tight joint.

Everyone wears a hard hat when on site. Safety is a primary concern when working with timbers weighing more than 2,000 pounds.
Image Not Available
Image Not Available The bent has been assembled and all the joints are pegged. It is now ready for rigging and hoisting into place. We still are unable to get the whole bent into one single frame.

The men in the background will use the lift elevate themselves into position to tie off the bent once it is in final position.
The first bent is being hoisted into position. You can just make out the boom on the lifting crane on the left side of the image. We estimated that this bent weighs about 6,000 pounds. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Another bent is lifted into place. Here you can clearly see the 60 Ton crane (United Crane of Houston) on the right. We use such a large crane to provide us with a very large margin for safety. As the bent is moved into place, the crane must hold it in position securely while the men connect it to the rest of the frame.
Several men are rigging one of the dormers that will rest between the bents. The machine you see is called a Sky Trak. It is used to unload the timbers from the trucks and to move them around on site as needed. It is highly maneuverable and can handle large loads. Here, it will be used to support the weight of the dormer while the men prep it for the final lift. Image Not Available
Image Not Available Jim and Doug steady the finished dormer in preparation for the lift. The top most timber is actually a purlin that joins two bents. When finished, the dormers will have beautiful stain glass windows that will bring a lot of light into the Chapel.
The second dormer is moved into position. You can see Travis at the top of the scissor lift. Travis will peg off the timbers as the next bent is moved into position.

Notice how the top and bottom timbers of dormer form the bottom plate and one of the purlins spanning two bents.
Image Not Available
Image Not Available The next bent is moved into position. This is actually bent three. One more remains.

Notice that we are now using two cranes together. One supports the weight of the dormer assembly while the larger moves the massive bent into position.
As bent three is moved into position, the crew will assemble the dormer and purlin timbers into the new bent and peg them off.

You can see the Chapel coming together and get some idea of its size in relation to the 60 ton crane at the left of the image!
Image Not Available
Image Not Available Here you can see the finished frame with the three dormers in place. Three other dormers rest on the opposite side wall. The timbers on the far right are not actually attached to the frame but make up the Chapel entry way.

Next, the general contractor will build the side walls and roof to enclose the Chapel and tie everything together.

The images presented on this page are courtesy of Keith Boen, Red Suspenders Timber Frames.