While Tyler spent the week working in sunny California, I held down the fort and got us ready for the long awaited frame raising of our little timber frame cottage! I set a date, invited some friends, and then proceeded to obsess about the weather every half hour for the rest of the week, checking to see if we'd have sun on the day I'd chosen.
The first stage of preparation was to schlep the timber frame we cut two summers ago from our neighbors storage shed to the house site. Thankfully I didn't have to do this alone—our friends Jeremy and Jenna helped (thanks you two)! After we had them on sawhorses near the house, I covered them with tarps and strapped everything down with a zillion bungees so the timbers would be safe and dry until raising day.
I also spent several hours with Charlie at the house site where we ran through our raising plan numerous times in the hopes of saving ourselves any headaches on the big day. We also began planning the pony wall installation (we'll be framing out an 18" high wall around the entire perimeter of the house, the first course of our strawbale walls will rest on it, safely off the ground).
Next on my to-do list was extending the posts of our house by one foot. Tyler was worried about how low the ceiling would be, and wanted to raise things up a bit. To do this, I met with our friend Rick, who was able to acquire a pair of 3-foot-long castoffs from a local timber framing company for us. The beams weren't the same size as ours, so we cut and planed them down in his workshop. Thanks Rick!!
The following afternoon, I cut the castoffs into 1-foot lengths using our chop saw, then sanded and stained them in the hopes that they would match our timbers. It turns out the wood grain is vastly different, so it's pretty obvious they aren't the same, but we can cover the extensions in some creative fashion later. Maybe we'll put a facade on them so it looks like the posts are sitting on stone plinths?
Finally, I attached the finished foot-long extensions by counter sinking holes in the bottom of the chunks 6" before driving four 12" TimberLOK screws into the end of each one.
I had originally been concerned that this process would somehow weaken the structure and make our house "wobbly", but Tyler, Peter, Charlie, and Rick all assured me it would be fine. Sure enough, after I was through, I no longer held any doubts about the structural integrity of these puppies. They are sturdy!
It has been one hell of a week! Between hauling heavy things up to the worksite, making trips to the lumberyard and hardware store, and calling to coordinate a thousand tiny details with Rick and Peter and Charlie, there has been very little down time. I'm exhausted. Tomorrow morning, I'll be fetching Tyler from the airport, and the day after that, we raise the frame!