Saturday, August 21, 2010

Waiting to Exhale

Last week we finished working with all of the timbers for our house - 42 purlins; 8 trusses each composed of 6 members: two top cords, one bottom cord, two struts and one king post; 16 posts; 44 braces; 16 girts and 20 splines. Every piece is sanded, sealed with Skidmore's Liquid Beeswax, fitted and waiting under a tarp for the moment it will stand together with its brothers and sisters as the frame of our house. All around the building site you see blue and silver tarps covering pieces of our house. Scott reminds me that some people put cars on blocks in front of their houses. We have put pieces of a house on blocks in front of our car.

I've returned to Logan to resume my part time work at Utah State University, but Doug, Shanna and Scott have continued preparing for the raising of our timber frame. The tractor (named Orangejello) proves to be the useful tool we had hoped it would be, especially now, as it is instrumental in making piles of dirt disappear into the holes left behind following each excavation.

In less than a week, despite day after day of rain, they have even erected the core of our Tempcast masonry heater. Here's a tour of their work.

The pieces are laid out.

Doug applies mortar in preparation for the next part.

More mortar...

More mortar...

Scott custom cuts a hole for the flue.

It begins to look like a masonry heater instead of just a pile of cement blocks.

Another course...

The last two courses are the heaviest pieces weighing in at 126 pounds. This requires a scaffold assist.

Scott stands beside the almost completed heater.

Scott and Doug contemplate the last piece.

The last piece...

The heater is not really finished. This is just the core. Once the walls of the house are up, and we are happily whiling away our time with finish work, we'll add an attractive facade which we haven't yet decided upon.

The fitting of all of the timbers has taken place in two dimensions on the ground, so we don't REALLY know that our grand plan will work. We are tired. We are anxious. We are excited. We are waiting until our mentors from Teton Timberframe arrive next Tuesday. It will be a big day (or several). We are ready to move on to something less demanding. Maybe that will be the strawbale walls. We are waiting to exhale.

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