Sunday, October 3, 2010

Local Timber

Scott has been working for 28 days straight, 8:00 AM until after dark almost every night, in an attempt to complete the timber frame so we can begin stacking bales of straw. I was only able to be in Torrey for five of those 28 days. Little did I realize there was still so much wood work to do.

It wasn’t until we began cutting, sanding, sealing and raising the rafters for the porch did it sink in that the porch almost doubles the footprint of our house. Yes, we want outdoor living space. Yes, we need protection for the plaster walls. And, yes, it makes it all seem big ... much, much bigger than I had imagined.

Wood for our entire house comes from forests in the Torrey area. The trusses, posts, purlins and girts are douglas fir. The rafters and posts for the porch plus the and 2” X 6" tongue and groove for the ceiling are salvaged beetle and fire-killed ponderosa pines. Once it’s sanded and sealed, that salvaged wood is fantastically beautiful. We’ve never seen anything like the yellow,  orange and chocolate browns colors that appear as we apply the beeswax seal.

Scott devised a method to cut a lovely curve in the ends of the porch rafters. This small detail created a graceful elegance to what might otherwise feel heavy and ponderous.

A local visitor told us he was happy to see local timber used in such a beautiful way. We can’t help but agree.


  1. Those rafter ends add a lot for the extra effort. Too bad you have to roof over the magnificiant gable at each end. It would look spectacular if it could be glazed.

  2. So exciting to know you're building a straw bale house at Torrey! And so sorry I didn't know about you when I came out in September to buy my little half acre in Teasdale! I plan to build an earthbag ("superadobe") house and will be following your progress with your hands-on alternative home.
    I'm surprised the water table is so shallow at your site. Did you sell your first tank?

  3. We were able to find a buyer who was in the midst of building a new house and needed the same size tank we had. We lucked out there. The water table is at its highest when the irrigation is on. Any other time of the year, and, in fact, only one month later, the water table would have been perfect. We just had bad timing.