Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cutting the large southern struts.

We test fitted the joinery between the large curved elm beam and the two southern Larch posts. Peter mainly worked on this joinery, and got it pretty tight! You can see that the elm tenon extends completely through the Larch post on either side.

We will most likely round that tenon and leave it exposed. It should be a nice effect.

I always get a kick out of seeing wood of mixed species come together like this to form a strong joint. Mixed species frames can be aesthetically beautiful, since you get a sharp contrast of coloration and grain. But you also are mixing woods with completely different mechanical properties. In many cases, one can take advantage of both aesthetics and engineering when choosing which wood to use and where.

After these timbers were successfully test fitted, we started in on two large, curved, Douglas fir struts that will act as massive braces on the south wall. We had to layout the curves carefully and cut the curves using a combination of chainsaws, circular saws, chisels, mallets, power planes, hand-planes, and belt sanders.

We cut the outside curve using both the little 7 1/4" and the larger 16" circular saws:

The inside curve involved kerfing with the electric chainsaw and then cleaning up with a chisel and plane:

After the curves were cut, we laid out the mortices and tenons via scribing. We carefully positioned the timbers on the floor and then placed the curved strut blank on top. By using framing squares and our eyeballs, we laid out the tenons and mortices carefully. Scribing was necessary in order to get good joinery with such curved and wany wood.

Once laid out, cutting the tenons on the strut was pretty simple.

The finished struts turned out looking very beautiful. They will be amazing once placed inside the corresponding mortices on the elm beam and the larch posts.

We have joinery on the other strut to do, and then its on to the knee braces and rafters!

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