Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Hemlock Frame

We've talked all along about using the trees on the property for our building lumber. The best candidate from all the species we have for framing is our eastern hemlock. There are lots of them on the property, especially where the mound will go. It's possible for us to have the wood sawn and milled on-site or to have the lumber trucked to a local mill where it would be processed.

Eastern hemlock can be used for just about anything: dimensional lumber, floorboards, decking, sheathing, posts, beams. It has some drawbacks, primarily it's knottiness and it's brittleness when dry. But, structurally, it outperforms spruce and pine, the most common framing lumbers. It's also rot resistant.

There are three common ways to frame a building today. We need to choose one. They are: stick framing, post and beam and timber frame. Stick framing is how most buildings are put together today with 2x4s or 2x6s making up walls and deeper 2x members forming the roof and floors. Post and beam uses larger members connected together with plates, angle iron and other fasteners. Timberframing uses joinery to hold things together (this is pictured here). In post and beam and timberframing the structure is exposed on the interior of the building, unlike in stick frame where the frame is hidden. Using larger members for post and beam and timberframe requires a lot less mill work but requires more power to move the pieces into place, either people power or some kind of crane or rig to lift members up.

I'm hoping at the gathering to survey people about their feelings on different kinds of frames.


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