BUILDING A SOLAR HOUSE IN FRANCE - WEEK 9 - Oak frame and chestnut windows
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After a longish summer break when nothing much happened on site work began again on September 27th. Everything happened off-site in various workshops - the timber frame and trusses and the windows. It started with the setting out for the roof trusses and oak frame in the atelier of Mr Marcelin Mazières in Firbeix. I was summoned to check the dimensions and discuss the details before all the timber was ordered. A full size working drawing of the frame is made on the floor(called 'l'épure' in French) over which the timbers are laid and marked.
The first truss ('ferme') in 'green' oak made up in Mr Mazières' atelier. The reasons for the change in construction of the timber frame and trusses is explained elswhere (design changes).
Pile of oak for the frames and trusses delivered to Mr Mazières - about 4,5 cubic metres - which came from a sawmill in St Jory de Chalais about 30 km from our site.
Mr Marcelin Mazières drilling the holes for the 'chevilles' or dowels made of very hard and rot resistant robinier wood ('fausse acacia') This local wood is a substite for teak and we will be using it for the bathroom floor as well.
Truss 1 which will sit on the North West gable wall, ready for dismantling for transport to site.
Margaret contemplating the layout of frame 4 destined for the South East facade. The timbers of the frame are laid out over the full size working drawing ('épure') on the floor, then the joints are marked out for the mortices and tenons to be cut .
The rafters and other roofing timbers in Douglas Fir. All the timbers that will be used in the house are from local forests and are naturally rot and insect resistant and therefore don't need to be impregnated with toxic timber protection. Mr Mazières has a traditional preference for using sections as nearly square as possible, despite my protestations that I had done structural calculations to produce more economical sections. I had to give in to keep him happy.
I had made a fuss about the exact spacing of the exposed floor joists under the mezzanine, so Mr Mazières invited me to mark them out myself. He considered my calculated sizes far too small as usual, so we compromised by using his preferred sizes but spaced further apart.
In the meantime at another workshop near Brantome, Mr Dubuisson was making all the windows in chestnut ('châtaignier'), another local hardwood naturally rot and insect proof.
The sliding door that will be in my atelier. The drawing of the door was slightly misinterpreted (perhaps read upside down ) and the opening panel was made on the wrong side. I thought long and hard about it, pointed out the error, and then decided to accept the mistake in the interests of good industrial relations. The quality of the craftsmanship and of the wood is very good.
The assembled frame 4, on Monday the 9th of October.
Mr Mazieres working on the dowel holes.
Using the 'Manitou' to dismantle the truss for transport.
The triangular trusses which are on each side of the main central frame, stacked ready for delivery. There has been much discussion about how the frames should be assembled on site - Mr Mazieres is used to lifting them straight from the floor of his atelier onto a large lorry, but the assembled frames are too high and there are too many tight corners on the access road to the site to do that. My original suggestion about how to do each one in 3 sections was eventually accepted. Further bright ideas that I had, were strongly resisted, but I feel may be reconsidered when we get on site next week.
Frame 3 laid out over the 'epure', and the joints being maked, and ready for me to mark out the joists positions.
Detail of some of the mortices and tenons. The big one in the middle will carry the ridge.
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Album last updated on Oct 15, 2007 - 04:41 PM