Kitchen Timber Framing Begins

by ziggy on August 8, 2010 -- 0 comments -- Follow


Admiring the first post

At long last, the kitchen timber framing has begun. The foundation was completed several weeks ago, and since then, more of the framing design has been hashed out and actually started. So far, we’ve got our first two posts up and plumbed, and the first beam awaits shaping and raising.

We are using entirely local timbers, with none further than three miles away. We obtained much of the wood last fall and this spring from a friend at Red Earth Farms, who had a bunch of trees cleared to dig a pond. Honey locust, red oak, white oak, sycamore, one beautiful black walnut, and more. We’ve got piles of massive timbers stashed on our leasehold. (There’s actually little room to work with all of our materials about: clay, urbanite, wood, gravel…sheesh…)

That’s including this Utterly Massive Cottonwood (with a diameter of about 24 inches!), which came from our own land:


Since having this cottowood moved to the site, we’ve decided we probably won’t use it in it’s entirety. It’s actually too short to reach the peak of the roof (it stands shy of 16 feet long). The original idea is that it would stand proud in the middle of the kitchen and support the roof, and simultaneously feature cantilevered steps to reach the loft. But it just doesn’t work with the floor plan. Instead we might cut it at 8 feet and carve steps into it, and use it as a post to support the loft. This sucker is big.

Anyway, the goal is to use these timbers, worked down, to build the frame of the first level of our kitchen. There is much sawing, splitting, hewing, chiseling, and general shaping in our future. Some of the smaller logs will probably be used in the round. This kind of timber framing stuff is mostly all new to me; thankfully Thomas is a skilled woodworker and is heading up the technical side of this part of construction.


Fine-tuning the sycamore tenons

Where we are now… The first two posts are quartered sycamore, 7+ feet tall on the west end of the foundation. For a sill, we are using (an overly large) hand-hewn beam that’s been stashed in the machine shed for years. (I think it was originally from a barn demo job.) We’ve adopted it since no one here has found a use for it. Making it sit level on the foundation was a challenge, since the urbanite is so bumpy and generally not perfectly level. Thomas carved out the bottom of the beam to sit even. Two inch deep mortises make the joint for the post.

Currently, the two posts are raised and leveled, and we’ve got a timber chosen to work into a beam – a hearty length of red oak. This bent will support a cantilevered balcony off of the second story loft, so it’s got to have some heft.


Sawing a red oak to length for a beam

Overall, I think our framing plan will be more than plenty strong, and probably overkill, but that seems to be our style.

More in the future…

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