Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Finishing the south deck

On Sunday, June 28th, we finished the south deck—thereby keeping with our plan to have it done before the end of April …
We enclosed the rest of the west side, redid the corner post on the east, installed and sanded the railings. The house proportions look better now. Next will be railings for the east deck. The corn is getting higher.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Our timber framer

Since he is Amish, you will not find any website or e-mail address for our timber framer. So I thought I would put in my own plug. We learned about Aaron King through a friend who’d had Aaron build him a timber frame barn which later became a home. I looked into several different timber framers before visiting Aaron at his shop in the spring of 2007. I was not only impressed with his shop, which was orderly, clean and run using either pneumatic or hydraulic-powered tools, but by Aaron’s understanding of what I had in mind and his ability to explain ways to improve the design and gain savings in the process. I made three visits to his shop that spring, each time taking Aaron a new set of drawings. In the end, we had a plan that both of us were happy with.
His craftmanship, precision and sense of the wood were superb. No matter how much the ideas for our house were Linda’s and mine, it was Aaron’s ability to translate those ideas into finished timber art that really make our house special.

Aaron K. King, LLC does not have a phone, but he can be reached at his shop’s address: 21 West Eby Road, Leola, PA 17540.
You can also reach him by calling the number for the phone that lives outside his shop in its own little booth. If no one answers, leave a message. (717) 656-8253.

A special note on terms: Many people see our house and say, “Oh, you have post-and-beam construction.” Well, yes and no. While technically a timber frame structure is a type of post-and-beam, that term is generally used for structures in which the timbers are held together with steel sleeves and/or bolts—such as I used to make our deck. In “timber frame” everything is pegged together with wood dowels, in this case, oak.
Timber framing yields a structure that is all of the same material (wood). This results in tighter joints with less chance of wear from the harder steel flexing against wood. Generally builders consider timber frame buildings to be more durable, stronger and better-looking, although either methods can work well. That is why we went with timber framing. It was also a construction method we had both grown up with and admired.

All the pictures were taken either by Linda and myself using a Nikon Coolpix 995, a D70 or a Nikon SP equipped with an F-mount 21mm nikkor.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The South Deck: continued

The deck on the south side of the house continues to "mature" as we get time on weekends to work on it. As you look at these pictures, watch the corn grow from weekend to weekend.
The second weekend in June we had good weather and managed to lay down the deck boards and get the east-side railing in place.
Last weekend, despite miserable, rainy weather, we got in the south and west railings and the last two deck boards. The posts are held with half-inch carriage bolts and everything is screwed together. We made the railing quite high for more security. Another weekend or so, and it may be done. Then we have to work on kitchen counters and the railings for the east-side porch.
Kent Kjellgren, an Energy Star examiner, came by to finish our energy audit, including the blower test. The equipment pulls air into the house under sealed winter conditions, measures the resistance and this, in turn, indicates how much leakage the house has. He had a frustrating time because the house is so tight that he had a hard time getting a reading. We have around 205 CFM, which is almost no leaks at all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Start of a deck

On May 3oth, we started to build the long-delayed south deck. This is a must-do. We need the deck done before we can add either a hot-water system or photovoltaic panels. Saturday was brute work. We dug four post holes by hand, set in six-six's and concreted them in place. They are solid.
Sunday we bolted on the cross members, then installed joists. As the afternoon sun moved into shadow. we screwed down the first two deck boards. Lots of cutting and shaping are yet to come.

Linda took all these pictures, but she did half the work too.