Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Finished 14 rafters

The Artist Studio design calls for a total of 18 rafters. 14 of the rafters are 3"x7" and the gable end rafters are 3"x10". I finished cutting the rafter tails and cleaning up the rafters (cross-cutting, ripping, squaring, planing, sanding) for all 14 of the 3x7 rafters. I think they turned out very nicely. I used a powerful jigsaw to cut the curved rafter tails, and it worked well.

These rafters are all Douglas fir or Western Larch, species chosen for their strength. All but one of the rafters is completely free-of-heart, which will decrease warping and checking as the wood dries.

I had to reject a bunch of Douglas fir rafters that I had originally milled due to severe pitch pockets and shake. From my experience, Douglas fir is a tricky wood to use. If you get a good, straight and tight grained log with no large veins of pitch, it can be an excellent wood to work with.

However, I ended up rejecting tons of Douglas fir due to veins of pitch and the related shake that weakens the wood substantially (and makes a gooey mess). On average, Douglas fir is one of my least favorite woods to work with. That is odd, because Douglas fir is the wood of choice for so many Western US timber framers. They must all get hand-picked, kiln-dried large-diameter coastal firs from British Columbia.

In any event, I used only the best wood for these rafters and they turned out great! I can't wait to see them placed on top of the erected frame.

1 comment:

garan said...

What type of saw did you use to cut the curve in the end of each rafter?