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North House Timber Framing Workshop: Day Four

by Tara

It feels so good to be building a home for ourselves, and to know that our future life as homesteaders is just around the corner. Today's woodworking session was another round of lakeside, house-building paradise. We spent most of the day working on our tie-beams (also known as girts), which are the horizontal spans of wood that sit atop the primary posts of our house, creating the top of the walls, and the bottom of our loft.

First, we made our measurements...

Zero Line Tie Beam 1 Tara Marking a Timber Knee Brace Diagram Lumber Crayon Chalk Marked Timber: Top

...then we sawed the tenons, starting with a circular saw, then finishing the job by hand:

Tara Sawing a Tenon Tyler Sawing a Tenon

Tyler used a chain mortiser to cut the mortises...

Tyler Chain Mortising

...and I learned how to use the bandsaw so I could shape our corbels.

Tara Shaping Corble on a Bandsaw

When five o'clock rolled around, we headed back to camp and clumsily peeled away our sweaty clothes, trying our best not to fill our tent with sawdust. Then, we walked barefoot to the stoney shoreline, and gingerly ran into the crystal blue waters of Lake Superior. It was heart-stoppingly frigid, eliciting from us all manner of yelps, giggles and lamaze-y gasping. What a great end to a fantastic day!

Tyler Running into Lake Superior Tara at Lake Superior Shore


I love the picture of Tara sawing her corbels!
Posted by Sarah on July 20th, 2012 at 11:03 PM
This is thrilling! What a great way to combine learning useful skills with getting the starter "kit" for your house project. I will thoroughly enjoy following this process.
Posted by Julia H. on July 21st, 2012 at 5:33 PM
Hi Tara, Tyler, awesome work but just a caution: working with power tools while wearing rings is really risky. Please have a look on this page covering risks with wearing rings and domestic accidents :

Be safe and good luck for your project! Cheers,

Posted by Dmitry on July 21st, 2012 at 7:23 PM
Hey folks, we need new beams for our roof. Can you just come over? ;-) Great job! Your machines are huge! We have much smaller ones here in Europe.
Posted by Yves on July 22nd, 2012 at 2:06 PM
Yikes. Thanks for the warning, sincerely. We will definitely keep this in mind in the future.

Ha ha, sure! We will do the labor for free, all we ask in exchange is transportation to and from the worksite :)
Posted by Tyler on July 23rd, 2012 at 8:58 PM
Sarah - Thanks! An intern at the folk school told me later: "dude, you were ballin' on the bandsaw!" Nicest compliment I've ever gotten. :-)

Julia - I thought you might enjoy reading about this! You would *love* the folk school. If you ever have the opportunity to come up and take a class there, do it!
Posted by Tara on July 24th, 2012 at 10:06 AM