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Grindbygg Timber Framing Course: Site Staging

by Tara

Yesterday evening, our timber framing instructor Peter, his wife Amy, and their two girls, Robin and Linnea arrived! This morning, we went through the workshop site, making sure everything was in order. Peter showed us where he wanted all of our frame members, and Rick moved them into place with his excavator. We set all of them on skids so we'll be able to roll them around using human power during the class—the logs are massive!

Rick, Tyler & Peter Laying Out Grindbygg Timber Frame Logs

All was going well until Peter had a look at the wall plates we'd chosen, which are pretty wavy. Instead of saying, "No way, this can't be done, we need different beams," he spent a good hour brainstorming all the ways it could work to have our rafters resting on wall plates with "compound wonkiness" We love this about Peter! He's always open to doing unconventional things.

Peter Marking Center Line on Curved Wall Plate Peter Marking Center Line on Curved Wall Plate Peter Marking Center Line on Curved Wall Plate Peter Marking Center Line on Curved Wall Plate

During the course of the inspection, Peter and Tyler accidentally cut two of our tie beams a bit too short for comfort. This wasn't a huge deal however, since we were able to use them to replace some posts that Peter deemed too rotten. With Rick's help, they fetched a new pair of tie beams from the woods just above the workshop. The trees were already down, having fallen over in a storm a few months back.

Rick, Tyler & Peter Dragging Logs Out of Our Woods Rick, Tyler & Peter Dragging Logs Out of Our Woods Peter & Tyler Chaining Log

While staging the worksite, we had to rotate our largest timbers (33-foot-long wall plates) 180°. This involved chaining them to Rick's excavator at their center of gravity, and spinning them around. Both times Peter's side wound up heavier than Tyler's. Rather than adjust the chains, Tyler just hung off the beams as Peter pushed them to the correct orientation. As evidenced by his smile in the photo below, Tyler enjoyed the ride :)

Tyler Counterbalancing Wall Plate (Hanging from Log)

After Rick was gone, we picked out which posts would go where, and then did some pretty extensive shuffling of log positions. Several times we used a peavy to roll a massive timber up a 2x4 ramp. Since it took numerous turns to ascend the ramp, we would stick log cleats behind the beam with each turn. This is all very difficult to explain, and we didn't take any photos of the process, but I was completely blown away at the hulking masses we small humans could move using simple tools. It was incredible!

Peter & Tara Assembling Log Skid Log Cleat

Now, Peter, Amy and the kids are on their way to Burlington where Peter will be giving a presentation at a Timber Framers Guild conference about Gringbygg timber framing. They'll be back on Sunday, when all of the participants arrive. Phew! I'm so tired, so in pain, and so excited for our workshop. Now, as per Peter's instructions, we just need to get the bark peeled from our major timbers…