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Before he left, the crane operator attached a camera to the end of his boom and lifted it up about 90 feet up into the air to take some pictures of the house and garages below.

House from Above

House from Above

Garage from Above

Garage from Above

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Vasse just sent me a picture of the copper roofing project.  He says that it’s just him and the roof, and he’s seriously outnumbered.  He’s moving around the corner today, which looks like a bit smoother sailing for a couple of days.

Roof

Roof


We’ve finally started roofing the garages – over a year after we started.  Initially we had planned on doing slate.  That is until I started getting quotes.  Because of the steep sections of the roof in the Queen Anne house, and that there are over 50 separate sections of roof on the house alone, the quotes ranged from ridiculous to astronomical.

Enter Vasse Vaught.  Recommended by architect Paul Sullivan at Streamline TimberFrame, Vasse is a local guy who trained and apprenticed in Switzerland in copper-roofing craftsmanship.  Slate can last 150 years or more, but so can copper.  In Europe they take this kinda stuff very seriously – you have to go to school and apprentice for many years. Vasse and I met several times, I spent countless hours on the internet researching,  Vasse made an offer that was fair, and we shook hands.

Vasse on Garage

Vasse on Garage

Vasse is a local craftsman, with a local business, who needed work – just my kinda guy.  He does consulting gigs all over the world, and I told him he could leave when he needed to, so this was his kinda project.  But he told me not to post his web-site – he figures this house is going to keep him busy for the next year or so.  He buys copper in thousand pound rolls, and every single piece of roof is hand-formed and soldered.  In the picture above, he’s soldering one of the seven pieces of flashing to trim in just this one piece of cornice-work.  Old-world craftsmanship.  Worth doing.  Worth supporting.


On the garages, all of the timber frame has been completed, and the roof sheathing done.  So the next step has been to cover it all with what we used to call stress-skins, and are now called Structural Insulated Panels or SIPs.

SIPs are a pretty wild and innovative concept in building.  They consist of a wall “frame” built in a factory of OSB (similar to plywood) integral 2×4’s, and insulation all in one made to assemble on site.  You can build a whole building from them without any other structural components.  In a lot of ways it’s overkill on a timberframe where you already have an incredibly resilient structure in place.  But SIPs are also wonderfully convenient for this kind of building.  They come pre-made with door and window cut-outs, as well as electric and plumbing chases to order.  The walls for the timberframe are “simply” assembled on site and attached to the timberframe.

Well, maybe not quite so simply.  Some of them can weigh a couple of thousand pounds, and you need expensive equipment to move them in place.  Rather than continually renting equipment for this kind of job, I bit the bullet and bought a skid- steer and fork-truck (shown below), which have already paid themselves off in spades helping with this and other kind of work.

Installing Structural Insulated Panels

Installing Structural Insulated Panels


Well, the snow (causing about a week delay) finally melted and the crew was able to get back to work this week raising the other garage.  As Bruce says –  today was a “G-e-e-r-e-a-a-t” day! with getting a lot of the second garage put together.

2nd Garage

2nd Garage

Almost Done

Almost Done

The SIPS (Stuctural Insulated Panels) that will cover the building have been custom-made with the window and door cut-outs, electrical and plumbing conduits installed, etc, and should be delivered on-site in about a week.  Sounds like perfect timing.


We haven’t seen much snow in the past couple of years.  Natural cycles?  Global warming?  We don’t know, but we do know that we haven’t gotten much of it recently.  But it snowed today at Crooked River, and Bruce, the owner of Sticks and Stones, went out today and snapped some pics.

Timberframe in the snow

Timberframe in the snow

Below, Bruce is revelling in his domain.  While we’re building the house and garages, it’s *his* domain.  At some indeterminate point in the future, we’ll wrest the keys from his hand and it will become our domain again.

Bruce

Bruce

The river was previously frozen, but now it simply looks pretty all dressed in snow.

River and snow

River and snow


Well, today was the big day – starting to raise the timberframe garages.  A pretty big deal – the culmination of months and months of work by good friends at Healing Harvest who harvested the trees using eco-friendly and sustainable approaches, Bob Gill, who sawed the wood, Blue Ridge Timberframe who planed it, my good friends at Streamline Timberworks who designed and built the frame, and my buddy Bruce and his very fine crew from Sticks and Stones.  And Roy, the most excellent crane operator.  It’s been so rewarding to me to be able to work with such good and talented friends.

And they did darn good today.  Got much of the first frame up.

Timberframe raising

Timberframe raising


We now have almost all of the timberframe on site, and work commenced today towards putting the pieces together.

Below are the hammer-frame trusses, which will support the 28′ span of the larger garage. This basic hammer-frame design has been used for centuries – Notre Dame Cathedral uses hammer-frame to support it’s roof, but it would seem that structural engineers still don’t quite understand how it works. Having been trained as a structural engineer myself, I kinda like that.

Hammer Trusses

Hammer Trusses

Y’all have heard of the bigger hammer theory, where every intractable problem just needs a bigger hammer? Well, below Brad from Sticks and Stones Construction proves that is just the case to get a recalcitrant beam in place:

Bigger Hammer

Bigger Hammer

The crane will arrive tomorrow early am to start lifting these into place. This is where the rubber really meets the road. Months and months of design, planning, fabrication, and preparation all culminates in the couple days of frame raising, and it’s an exciting time for all involved.


The timberframe craftsmen at Streamline are working exceptionally hard, while pretty much all other farmwork has had to stop for the winter.  The previous pictures show them using modern power tools, but that belies the essential nature of their precision work which relies primarily on  ancient techniques and methods and hand tools.  There is still plenty of hand work to be done, and these guys are true craftsmen of their trade in the large and historical context of the word.  Trish and I feel very blessed that these folks are right here in our community – most folks have to look very far and wide for these rare, archaic,  anachronistic, and valuable skills.

Hand Cutting

Hand Cutting

Hand Tools

Hand Tools


Timberframe garages

Timberframe garages

Thought I would post a sketch of the timberframe garages – the intended result of all this cutting, sawing, burning, etc….