Rudy, Dylan, Adam and Nick have been busy working on the frame for the south gable end over the past few days. This frame forms the end of the building and will be completely glazed above the verandah. The glazing is being let into a roundwood frame, quite a tricky prospect, but when its done it should look great.
The framing bed is once again in use to construct this extra frame. It will sit just outside the cruck frames that were raised last week. The jowel posts for this frame need some complicated joints cut in the top of them, so we had to find some nice big chestnut trees in the coppice to make them out of. Above you can see the jowel (outer post) being moved into position.
There are four vertical posts that make up this frame, above you can see the guys cutting the mortices in the tie beam which will sit on top of these posts. Above this beam will sit the triangle of the gable end, this is where the clever gazing will be happening, jointing the roundwood timber for this is one of next weeks challenges.
We realised earlier this week that we were running a bit short on softwood for the build. We felled some douglas fir earlier in the year for rafters and joists, but it didn’t go quite as far a we had hoped, so today a trip back to the woods was needed. We needed another two trees for some extra rafters and the battening onto which our shingle roof will be nailed. This time we decided to go for larch, it has many of the same qualities as douglas fir, being one of the more durable softwood species. The ones we had selected were growing in Boarden Door Bottom, a valley on Black Down about 3/4 of a mile or so from the build site.
The trees we had selected were nice and easy to get to and just the size we needed. Not very many trees grow completly vertically, and often the slight lean they have is away from the direction you need to fell them in. There are a number of ways of getting around this problem. But for these tree’s we decided knocking in wedges would send them in the right direction.
The cuts are put in as normal, and then a series of wedges are knocked in with a sledge hammer from the back of the tree.
This tilts the tree over just enough so it falls in the direction required.
Once they were down we loaded them onto the trailer and drove them back to Swan Barn Farm, they will be sawn into the required dimensions on our mill some time in the next couple of weeks.
On a seperate note, I heard The National Trust’s senior ecologist (i think I have his title right) Matthew Oates on the news this morning. He was talking about how many of our native species have reacted to the unusually warm spring weather by emergeing a few weeks early. One of the species he was talking about was elder. I had noticed the same thing last week. The elders at Swan Barn seem to be flowering early this year. Here you can see one just next to the build site.
Very pretty, but it does make you wonder what we are doing to our climate in order to send species out of sync in this way.
However, they do say that while the sun shines you should make hay, and in the spirit of this one of my jobs next week will be making some elderflower champagne. If I remember I will post a recipe.