Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Still on the skinny skis

For most of the frigid winter, it is best to 'time' your ski workouts for the warmest part of the day. Then comes March... Ahhh, March. Longer days, abundant snow, and warmer temps- so much warmer that now it pays to get out there at dawn before the sun turns the trails to mush. And if you're lucky, the groomer just laid down fresh cords.
The view from the top of the alpine runs.Admittedly these pics were taken on a frosty morning about a week ago, before we got several days of rain. But with more snow in the forecast this week, we could be back in business for a little while longer.

Full circle.

The last wall went up today. This is the corner where the staircase will someday carry guests to the upper floor. Yeah, someday. I put in the top beam just to hold the posts in place and see how it looks. Once the flooring is installed in the haymow, I can continue with the second level of timbers.
If you're following the progress, then you're likely bored with the timber framing photos. Now that i've circumnavigated the barn with posts and beams, it's time to put down the chisel, sweep up the shavings and move on to something different for awhile.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The south wall.

With the walls and one of the cornerposts already fixed in place, this one was the trickiest. But I'm getting the hang of timber framing and the process is getting much easier with experience.
The beam spans about 28 feet, supported by the 5 posts centered between the windows.
My longest timbers won't span the room, so I had to splice two shorter beams over the center support post. Normally, a "scarf" joint would be used here, due to its greater strength. Since it wasn't necessary here (AND since I didn't feel confident that I could cut my first scarf joint without destroying several timbers), I opted to go with a simple lap joint.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Puttin' up the big beam.

Wall #2, test fit on the ground: With Lisa's help, the big beam was hoisted into place one end at a time and temporarily suspended by ropes and ratchet straps. Posts installed:
Pegged together at the joints. Everything fit great!

Friday, March 13, 2009

March in Northern Minnesota

While the rest of the country is looking forward to spring thaw, we are gearing up for March snow. It can be the prettiest time of year. It also prolongs the ski season.
I use a sled to haul the firewood into the house. During the latest snowstorm on Tuesday, I couldn't seem to find the sled... ............Found it!
Shawn was in Duluth on Tuesday and our friend who plows the driveway is in
Mexico. Being afraid that my car would not be able to make it, I parked at the end
of the driveway and walked in. Shawn made a path for me with his truck when he got
home. The car made it in just fine, thanks to Shawn's fine tracking job.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Measure sixteen times...cut once.

Due to my novice timberframing skills, it takes the better part of a day to mill, plane, measure, scribe, cut and fit a single timber. This is a craft of precision- joints should be cut within tolerances of 1/16" tops- anything more and you're making firewood. It's definately a job well suited for perfectionists, so I'm slowing down (yes, apparently it *is* possible for me to work even slower than before), finding my zen and "becoming one with the wood." Over the course of several days, I completed the first section of one wall- 5 posts and a beam that frame the faux barn door opening and end joist for the second story floor. After a little fine tuning with the chisel to get it all to fit, I pinned all the pieces except for the outermost posts. With the end posts still loose, the whole assembly (called a "bent" in the timberframer's world) can be tilted away from the wall so I can patch and paint the remaining exposed drywall seams before fastening everything to the stud wall.
The posts continue up into the second story, terminating at the top of the knee wall, ready to accept a top plate and another course of timbers that will extend up to the ceiling. One wall down, three more to go....

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Minnesota, without the bugs.

Lisa and I jetted down to Mexico for our Yucatan honeymoon last week. We started out in Tulum, biking and baking on the beach for a couple days.
Then we detoured off the 'gringo trail' and worked our way down the coast to the town of Bacalar, just short of the Belize border. The quiet little town overlooks Laguna Bacalar, a 30 mile long freshwater lake that was a piece of heaven.
We stayed at a cozy little resort at the edge of town and right on the water.
We found a tandem kayak to paddled across the lake so we could explore the endless supply of uninhabited mangroves and beaches.
With a week of sun, sand and all the fresh food we could eat, we are back home to reality (frozen lakes and long underwear). Back to work...