Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Catching up with 2010

Before a whole year goes by, I thought I'd take another stab at keeping up with this blog of thoughts and news about my building life. Since the last update, I've continued working with the Barnraisers and learning more about traditional timberframing joinery as well as how to integrate those ideas into more modern construction techniques. The big news for me is that I will become a student again in a few weeks; I'll be working towards a bachelor degree in Architectural Engineering Technology at the University of Hartford (CT). I'm excited for number of reasons, not least of which is a break from lugging beams around for a while. I still plan on keeping my chisels sharp- even though I will have a full load of classes each semester- I'm planning on some smaller projects as well as keeping up with the Barnraisers.

One interesting extracurricular project I made this early summer was a bed for some friends of ours. My friend Izzy had a vision for a king size bed frame that involved old timbers as well as plumbing fittings and painted pickets from old staircases. The result was pretty cool:

We went to this great place in NE CT called Rudy's. Rudy has a couple of warehouses full of old house parts. Staircases, complete frames, thousands of doors organized by age (all the way back to the 1700s), hinges, old tools- so basically a paradise for old home junkies. The frame was made of some old red oak joists from the frame I used for the Outpost, a couple of new old connectors that still showed the scribe marks and modern pipe fittings which I adapted to accept the old staircase spindles.

One of the main frames the Barnraisers cut this summer was part of a hybrid house in Higganum CT (where Superman, i.e. Christopher Reeves grew up incidentally). We built a great room that frames the central portion of the house and rose to three stories in the back where the lot sloped down to a lake.

Bents pegged and stacked and ready to raise-

That's enough to walk on right?

The three stories in the back-

Finished frame from the street-

Craning in the connectors-

Lakeside view-

Bobby Kirkus, always razor sharp-

Our intrepid and genial crane operator, Clovis. This man can adjust a 1200 lb. bent in the air by a millimeter: a maestro of his craft.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lyme Barn

So this was a while ago, I want to say last Fall- yes because the clients were trying to get in the house be Thanksgiving (which never happened). They could have moved into the barn we raised- it was done in a couple of months!
This was a cool frame- designed as a workshop and storage for sailboats, wide clearance in the main bays and a long saltbox on the North side. A great example of metal roofing- cut to fit exactly in the factory- so no waste on the site. Powder coated and very strong- I think the guarantee is for 30 years but that is just because the product in this form hasn't been around very long. A nice no worry roof that installs quickly (we did this in a day and half- paper, strapped and metal screwed down by 3 guys) and is very durable.

Aside from the wood scrap (a lot of which we brought home to be repurposed) this was the 'dumpster' from the job site. Everything else was recycled or put aside to be burned in the yard for the winter job coming up.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Extracurricular activities

Between timber framing jobs, I've been taking on some interesting side projects. Here is a bed frame that I made from old cedar fence posts; the clients were into rowing and had a cool old oar that we incorporated into the footboard.

I put the last touches on the Outpost at Chip and Catherines' house- a cedar deck and the last of the screening--

Chip also had an idea for firewood storage on the side of the barn; we built a shed roof supported with simple brackets and used some locally harvested cedar to make the ends--

Saturday, August 01, 2009

New Additions

Been quite busy this summer- we bought a house in Middletown CT and moved in July (its a 1910 colonial) and between that and a bunch of projects I've been pretty slack about updating the 'ol blog. We were lucky that the main summer project was on a nicely wooded lot that provided nice cool shade (on the few days it wasn't raining!). This frame is an addition onto an early 1800s home in Hadlyme that made a new master suite and kitchen. It was the first frame I
have taken part in that was put up with a crane, which definitely had its advantages- we had the whole thing up and pegged by mid afternoon!

All the bents prepped and ready on the deck--

White oak sills with dovetail mortise for summer beam and square mortise for post- note beveled dado for straps that will be nailed off to post and go behind SIP.

The house after demo and before the frame is raised--

Inside the kitchen space-
Panels on- what an amazing thing; just having plastic over the window and door openings, the difference in temp was 15 degrees between the inside and outside! Those things really work.

The panels came the same day we were crane raising unfortunately; we just worked around them--

After, view from street--

Kitchen on left, below right is dining, entrance and 1/2 bath, upstairs right is master BR, bath, and huge closets.
Custom milled trim to match old home--