Friday, January 23, 2009

Starting work in the shop...

I spent some quality time cleaning and reorganizing my timber framing shop in order to start cutting joinery for the PCEI Artist's Studio Project.

Below, you can see a single stickered pile of timbers. This pile of timbers is the entire PCEI Artist's Studio frame! Rafters, posts, beams, sill plates, and top plates are all there!

The timber with the painted ends is the large, curved beam made from American Elm from East City Park here in Moscow.

Humidity in the shop is very high (91%) mainly due to: 1) poor ventilation 2) a leaking roof 3) these green timbers releasing their moisture. Fortunately, it is cold enough to prevent mold growth on the timbers. Just to be sure, I use a box fan to constantly circulate air around the stickered timbers. Even with the high ambient humidity, this helps the wood dry and stay mold free by alleviating stagnant air.


I like my pegs (treenails) a certain way. I do not like tapered pegs. They look bad, as you can see gaps in the peg and peg hole. Even when drawbored, they have a tendency to get pushed back out as the wood settles and shrinks. They are traditional, and have their place, but I don't like them.

Perfectly round dowels would look good, but they don't work. Pounding a 1" dowel into a 1" hole during raising day sounds miserable. The peg will invariably seize up, especially with variations in humidity and shrinking, etc.

I prefer octagonal 1" diameter hardwood pegs where the pointy edges of the octagon are approx 0.06"-0.08" wider than the .99" wide, flat surfaces of the octagon. The idea is that the sharp edges will dig into the sides of the peg hole but will not seize. The peg hole is completely filled, and the peg itself looks nice.

For previous projects, I bought precision-made white oak pegs from Grand Oaks Timber Framing in Tennessee. I've been very happy with these. However, I found a source of octagonal pegs, exactly how I like them, from Cabin Creek Timber Frames in North Carolina. They sell Octagonal pegs in either Walnut or Locust. I bought 100 Locust pegs from them and I'm really pleased.

The locust pegs are in the box. The white oak pegs are in the bucket.

Locust on the left, white oak on the right:

Locust on the top, white oak on the bottom. Tapering an end with a sander helps drive the peg (and looks good). I like how the locust pegs are tapered on both ends, allowing the timber framer to decide which side to drive in first.

We'll use these beautiful locust pegs for the PCEI Artist's Studio.

1 comment:

Joe Bell said...

Glad you liked the locust pegs.

We sell them to a lot of timber framers across the country - especially those who are doing historical restoration or like your self like that extra 'bite' the octagonal ones give.

Came across your posting when I was doing some researching as to how our website came up on different search engines.

Joe Bell, owner,
Cabin Creek Timber Frames