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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


After the octagon timberframe went up, two more frames went up and in place.  Both of these are heartpine.

First, another level of the tower.

Tower Frame

Tower Frame

Tower

Tower

Tower in Place

Tower in Place

In the front right of the picture above, you can see the pyramid that is to go on top of the tower.  We intended to put it up, but after watching the tower getting taller and taller, we decided the better part of valor was to finish the pyramid and put in place after it’s got roof framing, flared skirt, ox-bow windows, and copper roofing in place, and then lift it up.

Finally, the timberframe roof for the master bedroom went up.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom


Trish and I are still hiding out in the West Indies, waiting for spring to arrive in Floyd, but progress continues. This past week the guys put together another octagon timberframe for the second floor of the “minor tower”. This one, because it is a bit bigger than the ones below, and because the driveway is extremely muddy, had to be put together on site.

Starting Assembly

Starting Assembly

Finished Assembly

Finished Assembly

This section is all walnut, cut partly from Crooked River Farm, and partly from neighboring farms. All sustainably harvested, and all produced with local craftsman.  Should be really cool once it’s finished.

In place

In place

From below, the timberframe casts quite an interesting profile on the sky

From Below

From Below


We raised the “Family Room” timberframe today.  We need to rename that room, as it doesn’t fit in with a circa 1900 house.  Perhaps just “The Pine Room” or something, as it will be almost entirely constructed of the practically extinct longleaf heart pine.  This frame has a bunch of “embellishments”, that is, ornamentation not related to the structural requirements.  There are a lot of chisel-marks remaining that show the many places that essentially had to be hand-carved.  It’s cool – unlike any other timberframe, and showing an additional level of artistry and craftsmanship.

The process started months ago, with StreamLine Timberframe procuring the reclaimed wood and cutting all the individual timbers at their shop here in Floyd just as with the garage building.  The timbers were brought out early in the week, where a combination of their crew and our Sticks and Stones crew  assembled them using just the wooden pegs.

Frames ready to go up

Frames ready to go up

Even though this is only a one-story room, we still had to bring out a crane to get these pieces up and in place.

Lifting into Place

Lifting into Place

The crews got the four bents erected, along with their ridge beams just as the sun went down.  On Monday, we’ll get the purlins in place and start drying it in.

In Place

In Place

End of the Day

End of the Day


Dropped in that wine cellar ceiling today.  Jeff Ligon, the concrete subcontractor, had to build the foundation just right.  Sticks and Stones had to to frame it up just right.  Streamline had to build it just right.  And it all had to come together today.  And it did!

Wine Cellar Ceiling Going In

Wine Cellar Ceiling Going In

Bruce, of Sticks and Stones, had put a pencil line on top of the stud wall to show where the ceiling frame should rest.  It came to less than a 1/4″ difference at the worst spot.  Amazing to me.  The Streamline and S&S folks made some jokes about the old days of timberframing where guys would claim they use a micrometer to measure, a crayon to mark, and a chainsaw to cut.  Not that they really did that, and what these guys really do is nothing to joke about.

After we got it all lined up, Mike Stubbs from StreamLine Timberframe absent-mindedly stepped out into the middle of the frame.  Now Mike is a big feller, but that frame didn’t budge the least little bit.

Mike Stubbs

Mike Stubbs

Mike is the Shop Manager at Streamline, and has (to me) become increasingly important (or at least visible)  in this project – he seems to be everywhere.  He sawed these timbers himself, he oversaw the talented timberframing crew building it, he delivered it, and he installed it.  And he, like everyone else at Streamline, is a grrreatt guy to work with.


The octagonal room at the far end of the picture in the previous post is going to be a tower, too.  In the basement, it couldn’t be anything other than a wine cellar, right?

The ceiling in that room is a timberframe and Streamline Timberframe has been waiting to deliver it.  Mike Stubbs, of Streamline Timberframe, built a jig yesterday to more or less load it on the back of one of their trucks to move it out to the farm.

Wine Cellar Timberframe

Wine Cellar Timberframe

It’s made almost entirely from reclaimed oak, having been milled from logs out of an old log cabin.  Streamline Timberframe sawed the rough logs for me on the sawmill in the back of the picture, and then built it in the building right behind the camera.  To the right of the picture, you can see the heartpine “family room” all cut up and ready to assemble.  We should be ready for that in a couple of weeks.

The room above the wine cellar is going to be cherry panelled walls, so it will have ceiling timbers identical to this, except in cherry.  The room above will be a bit more elaborate and have black walnut timbers.  Much of the walnut and cherry were sourced from dead trees on Crooked River Farm, but some had to be sourced from other local farms.  But it’s all sourced locally, cut locally, and manufactured locally.


It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t making progress.

The last pictures of the house were just of a hole in the ground with some forms in place.  We’ve got that hole pretty well filled with basement now, including most all of the framing and the first floor trusses in place.

1st floor

1st floor

Those four posts are the base of the tower which will rise (I think) 57′ feet from the basement floor all the way up to the attic (and beyond).  The main stairs will wrap around it.  The tower is all timberframe, and made out of heart pine.  Heart Pine is long-leaf pine, previously the primary pine species found from Virginia to Texas.  Because it grew so straight and true, was as strong as oak, was very rot resistant, and hard as a rock, it was extremely desirable for everything from ships masts to high end flooring.  As such it was pretty much totally cut over by 1900 and is now all but extinct.  The main source for it now is reclaimed timbers from old manufacturing buildings such as cotton mills and the like.  These timbers came out of the dismantling of the original Old Crow whiskey distillery building in KY, I’m told.   The “family room” will also be a heart pine room with all the timbers, flooring, panelling, and ceiling decking made of reclaimed heart pine.  That portion of the house should also be going up in the next few weeks, as Streamline has finished cutting the frame, and we’re just about ready for it.


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