If there are bad guys in the world, and I'm pretty sure there are, it seems natural to get mad at them.
But, our anger is exactly what they want, because our own anger blocks our ability to create a better world. When we unite with like-minded people with love, our power to co-create is far more impressive than anything the bad guys can come up with.
They are just afraid of us.
We can shrug them off like a bad cold, and clean up their messes like the bad children they are.
I almost hate to admit it but I learned a lot about TimberFraming from Ted Benson's first book on TimberFraming. I haven't seen my copy for about 20 years(bought it in the early 80's). Maybe you can find it used. Never had much use for Sobon's books. Steve Chappell's book A Timber Frame Workshop is a pretty good summary of the craft circa 1995. Most of the tables for load bearing are for North American species so they may not be useful to you.
Your other question about attaching a structure to the top of your brick walls... you definitely want to firmly attach any wood structure to the bricks. I would embed hooked threaded rods at least 6" into the masonry, about 6'-0" oc. You don't want to rely on gravity to hold everything in place, especially since you mention strong winds.
That's very nice of Glen to post plans for a house. Most professionals usually charge a lot. I certainly did.
That being said, your needs would probably fit well into a 4 bent timberframe Salt Box. 2-3 bedrooms upstairs, open first floor, centered around a masonry heater. Your masonry heater on the first floor would probably handle all your heating needs. I don't know about Massechusets but here in NY we have to install some kind of mechanical heating system that kicks-in if the temps get too low.
As Glen points out, a site visit is most likely required to design anything. He has given you a good start.
I used to have a little 5hp chipper that seemed like a cool idea, but I really didn't use it very much because it was such a pain, so I traded it.
But, after cutting down about 50-60 Hemlock trees I had quite a mess to clear up. I bit the bullet and got a used Vermeer chipper that could take up to 6" diameter. I love it. I don't chip anything that big, but it takes everything I put into it. Turns it into nice chips that I can put in the garden, or fill-in low spots or make hugels. Lots of uses.
Apart from wanting to see what the interior looks like, I really appreciated the care and detailing of the vaulted roof with the angled adobe bricks. It looked like the steps were: first- adobe brick vault; next- a layer of cob; next- plastic waterproofing layers; next- volcanic rocks; finally- the living roof. I especially liked the care taken with the drainage.
The only thing that seemed a bit odd was the use of 'pasto en barro liquido' , the broom-thatch-like material soaked in the mud mortar covering the arches. He says he uses it to cover the edges of the plastic tarp. I would probably just mortar over the edge. He covers it with red tiles anyway.
Nonetheless, very cool.
I'm wondering how this would hold up in very wet climates like New York where I live. I've seen adobe last for over a century in the Amazon region, but with metal roofing.
Nice job. Especially since this is your first frame.
This helps confirm what I've thought for a long time, that just about anyone with basic building skills can build a timber-frame. Just approach it with patience and intelligence. And, I suppose, common sense. Build it on your own schedule and you will have something you can be proud of for many years.
You can definitely do it, but I suspect that if the cabin is intended for long-term use that you will regret it.
It's easy to span over stumps with piers and floor joists. Just stay way clear of the stumps when placing your piers. The stumps will dry out under the floor and will eventually rot. I've seen many cases of folks who've done this... the problem is that years later they regret not taking the time or spending the money initially to remove the stumps. It's very hard and expensive to remove them when a house is over them.
If you don't have access to a backhoe or excavator you might try burning the stumps, but that is a very difficult task.
I can't comment on cob because I've never worked with it.
I would suggest that for foundation drainage your best solution is to excavate around the perimeter of the building and install 4"perforated pipe at the depth of the footings (if they exist), or at least to a depth beneath the floor level. Once the excavation is open you may opt to put 2"rigid insulation covered by adhesive waterproofing. There are many products available like this here in the US, I don't know what may be available to you in Bulgaria. Once the foundation is waterproofed, you should backfill with gravel or small stone, not earth, up to finished grade level.
The uphill drain you plan to install to a depth of 1.5 meters will help a lot. Make sure you backfill with gravel or small stone.
The downside to installing a perimeter drain on an old foundation is that it is very expensive. The only other option is to install a sump pump inside the building. Dig a pit about 3feet deep and 2feet wide, install a plastic garbage can with perforations to allow water infiltration then a sump pump into the pit. This will keep the space just barely OK. It's not a good solution, but it is the cheapest.
Yes, you know, it my be overkill... I really don't know. I guess I'm still learning about this thing.
The first few firings I got very little heat out of it. Mostly they were very small fires to just help dry out the materials, since there's really a lot of moisture that accumulates in something like this during the construction process... with all the bricks and mortar and stuff. After finishing the chimney through the roof, and constructing the heated benches, I was finally able to put the fire into counterflow mode last weekend. It performed very well. I felt good heat through the doors , though the bricks were cool to the touch for the first few hours. And well after the first fire died down. The benches got warm. About six hours after the fire died down the bricks began to feel warm. It gave off a nice comfortable, radiant heat.
The second fire is when I was sold on it. The bricks were already pre-heated, so it got pretty darn hot pretty fast. I can't be more precise than that since I wasn't taking temperature readings or counting the minutes. It stayed very comfortably warm for an entire day. At no point was it too hot. I imagine if at any point it got too hot during the winter I could just open a few windows. I really don't like that feeling of being driven out of the house by a too hot stove.
But, as I say, I'm just learning how to live with this thing. So far, so good.
I've added a few more pictures of the chimney through the second floor and through the roof. It has three flues though only one is used by the masonry heater. One is maybe for a wood stove, and one is extra. I love the idea of having an extra flue available for some future idea.
Stephen Harrod Buhner has written extensively on fasting. I read his 2003 book The Fasting Path before attempting my first serious fast. The book was very helpful. It may still be in print, or you can pick it up used.
I really don't like to see any poly sheeting inside a house. The only place I've used plastic sheeting is under a basement slab where I REALLY don't want any moisture coming through the concrete.
In those cases, I've used 6mil plastic.
I've noticed that any scraps of plastic laid about or disposed of on a jobsite seemed to attract moisture (I know that isn't exactly accurate, plastic is simply a barrier to moisture movement). It doesn't matter where it happens to be, one side or the other is wet. Whether on the ground or in a dumpster, one side is wet. The same phenomena happens inside a house. I've had a few 'experts' tell me not to worry, but I really don't like moldy corners or damp-feeling houses.
I've never built in an arid location, so I can't claim any universal expertise. My remarks may not be valid in those locations.
In the design phase of a house we usually tried to get any rainfall to land as far away from the house as possible... meaning larger overhangs, lots of good clean drainage stone around the foundation, and sloping the earth away from the house will help.
The use of plastic sheeting inside a living space always seemed to be a short-term solution used by owners who flipped the house very quickly or shoddy contractors who skeedaddled ASAP. I don't recommend it.
It's hard to say too much about material costs at this point... those are my only costs actually since my labor is free... Many things were already present when I started this project. Electric was in, driveway was in, except for the crane I already had all of the tools.
I had to buy ICF forms for the foundation, concrete for the foundation, steel for the foundation.
I didn't spend a penny on the TimberFrame since the timber was on my property. I logged it, cut it, and joined it.
The panels were a big expense. I got a somewhat reduced rate since I had bought so many panels from these guys in the past.
The windows and doors were the next big expense. No way around that.
Now I'm immersed in the masonry heater and I really don't know how much that will turn out to be.
I'm guessing I'm at 45k to 48k at this point. I'm crossing my fingers that I can get it done under 55k. We'll see.
Mostly, I wanted to show that a high quality living space can be built with patience and dedication by just about anyone if they have their wits about them.
Build the foundation, close it in, and use it as a workshop for cutting your timber frame.
Erect your timber frame, close it in with your choice of EPS panels or straw bales, your choice.
Install doors, windows.
Get the roof on.
Close it in for winter, or move in and continue working.
Finishing details. Plaster, sheetrock, electric, plumbing, finish carpentry, kitchen and bathroom.
For all around flexibility, a farm tractor can't be beat. I have a John Deere 30hp with a loader and backhoe, manual transmission. We use it for moving just about everything, from earth, manure, hay bales, sand, cement, firewood... you name it. The backhoe is indispensable. I have a stump grinder attachment, and a mower attachment, and loading forks that are also very handy. The only drawback is that it isn't great on side hills. Almost all of my property is hilly, very little flat ground.
So, for logging I use a Komatsu d20 bulldozer. It's much safer skidding logs on a side hill with a dozer than a tractor. I like the Komatsu because it's a very small, simple machine. Manual transmission, 40hp, 6 way blade. Not much to it. It's great for pushing stuff, and pulling stuff. It's done everything I've asked it to. And after sitting for a few months between projects, it starts right up again... no problems.
I haven't posted any changes for a while even though I've been working every day... to me it all blends together and I don't notice the changes.
But I thought I'd put up a few more fotos.
Windows and doors are installed, some interior framing, stairways begun. For the last month I've been constructing the masonry heater. First the foundation, out of concrete block, capped with a 6" concrete slab, then the heater.
That's a good description of how to remove stumps. I work with a backhoe and bulldozer combo also... the backhoe cuts the roots and the bulldozer pushes the stump out. All of a sudden it's .. pop. And then you just push it to its final resting place. I like the care you show with pushing stumps over fields and letting the topsoil drop on the fields.
I use a stump grinder quite a bit to keep contours as they are, just without stumps. With small trees, like 6" to 10" its easy work taking a stump down six inches below surface level. With larger stumps like Pine... 36" plus, it can take a long time to grind a stump down... several hours. Digging those out is an OK option in some cases but you're left with a bit hole. A very big hole.
It's good to share notes about how we do these things.
There definitely is a place for stick-built in a structure. But, my preference is for timber framing.
The last stick-built house I did was in 1987. It was quite large and I said to myself at the time that I won't build any more of these. Now it sits idle because no one can afford to heat it.
My passion was always for timber-framing because it required more of my skills. I loved being able to design in puzzle-like patterns, trying to get all of the various elements to balance out optimally. With stick-building you can do anything you want, but with timber-building you have to weigh whether moving a bent two inches to make the bathroom larger is a good decision. Sometimes I tried to get one wall to look a certain way, with windows lining up with purlins in the ceiling, or trying to get the perfect size relationship between posts, beams, and purlins... It's really a work of art you end up with.
That being said, I still do stick built for interior partitions.
Can you hugulkultur over them? Well, technically, no. But the real answer is yes.
Actually, most contractors wait till the DEC (Department of Environmental Concerns) (otherwise known as the Department of Eternal Consternation) isn't looking and dig a huge hole. The stumps mysteriously disappear.
This actually makes a lot of sense since carbon is sequestered in the soil, while burning puts the carbon in the atmosphere.
Incorporating stumps and waste wood into hugulkulturs is an even greater improvement.
In New York State tree removal and Zoning are Town issues.
Some towns don't care how many trees you cut, others are concerned about every twig. My town says I can cut ten cords of firewood for personal use, or 10,000 board feet... take your pick. Otherwise I need a permit.
Also, consider that when removing trees you're left with stumps. New York won't let you burn them or bury them (the logic of which escapes me). So stump-grinding is the best option.
This is really great stuff. It's very basic and very systematic in its presentation... a lot like masonry work.. one brick at a time.
Though I worked as a TimberFramer for more than 25 years, I have built a few fireplaces and chimneys with some success. I attribute the success to having watched masons in Chicago almost 40 years ago. I still have a lot of the tools I acquired at that time... like trowels, masonry hammers, and levels.
I think it would be very instructive for beginners to see something of the process of laying out a job, laying brick, cutting brick, etc. Most useful would be something about mixing mortar... how to achieve the right plasticity, how to choose mason's sand, etc.
Hi Brett- yes I hope it's easy to heat....
As far as sourcing timbers, I always liked to go local if I could. Trucking is minimal, you establish personal relationships with real people doing real things close to where you live, and your money stays more local. That being said... I've shipped Doug Fir from the west coast and Southern Yellow Pine from the south. Depends on the demands of the job.
Things to look for in a well-cut timber: you want it straight, you want it square. I'm less concerned about things like wane (that little bit of curvature of the tree rounding off corners of a timber) on big timbers, or checking. I don't concern myself with knots (since a long timber usually has less knots anyway. Long timbers are frequently clear.) Even twisted timbers can be worked with to an extent. No need to prepare a timber in any way before getting to work. You can work them green, and in many ways that is preferable, since any twisting in the drying-out phase will only result in tighter joints in mortise and tenon. At one point I owned a four-sided planer that I think could handle up to 12x8. It was a 5 ton flat belt machine that we ran off a Jeep motor. It did a wonderful job of sizing and squaring everything we put into it. Now, I just use a 12" Makita Planer... the hand-held kind, not the table-top variety. With this you rely on your sawyer to deliver square timbers.
After the joinery is done, I always put on a sealer of some sort... now I just use linseed oil. I once found a product with beeswax that was wonderful, but I can't find it anymore. I found that one coat of Linseed Oil let me scrape out any scuff marks or muddy foot prints with minimal effort. Just use a scraper of the tip of your framing chisel (at 90degrees to the surface).
Hi Steven- Yes, it should take a helluva snow load.
The plan is to have the Masonry Heater on the first floor and let the heat rise to the second floor. That should work. If not, New York State requires me to put in a heating system run off something more 'reliable' than wood, ie elec. gas or oil.
Hi... thank you for the kind comments.
Lotta questions... I'll try to answer as coherently as I can.
The house is 23'x35' inside dimensions. or approx. 24'x36' outside dimensions, accounting for panel thickness. It's a small house.
The EPS panels on the walls are a sandwich of (from the outside) 7/16"OSB,5.5"EPS, 7/16"OSB, 0.5"sheetrock... which makes them about 6" thick. The roof panels are (from the outside) 7/16"OSB, 12.25"EPS, foil facing...making them almost 12.75". The wall panels are put up first and can be put up by a couple of strong people but I have an old crane onsite so I did them by myself. They're simply screwed to the frame 8"oc. with 8"screws, and splined together inside and out. The roof purlins are then covered by 1x6 t&g pine boards, (giving the interior a nice glow) and the panels are gently placed on that surface and with locations of purlins prepared screwed down with 14"screws. I had the panels pre-cut according to my plans with window and door openings carefully located so as to reduce on-site waste. The manufacturer also assured me years ago that they were able to recycle the waste EPS. Since I can't do that, it's a real plus. Planning for plumbing isn't a big problem, I just try to design in a location for a chase to go to the roof and put most of the plumbing below the first floor. Electrical is another story. I've run outlets in a kind of built-out baseboard... 1x9 on 3/8"spacers... hard to describe.. but the electrical is run behind the baseboard and on the surface of the sheetrock, with outlet boxes cut into the baseboard. Works well. For wall switches , I have to cut out sheetrock in a line, fasten romex to the OSB and cut out a switchbox. Messy but works well once it's taped. I don't like ceiling lights, but in the past I've fished them through channels cut into purlins or beams if a customer wanted track lighting of something. You just have to protect that wiring with metal plates so it isn't punctured by nailing at any point in the future. You never know.
Timbers: 8x8 for columns and beams; some 6x8 for perimeter purlins or at openings (like stairway of chimney); but mostly 4x6 for purlins spaced 2'oc for floor and 4'oc for roof. Collar ties are 6x6. Pegs are 1" oak.
I hope that helps...
Regarding man-hours? Who knows? I've designed and built many frames and speed is not my main concern. I think I started cutting joints in early July and had the frame up by the end of August. That's working by myself. I had some help (two inexperienced people) with the raising. I do have the advantage of some equipment onsite, tractor, crane, bulldozer, dumptruck. That helps a lot. But that hasn't always been the case.
I put up several of my first frames with a gin-pole, or raising off the back of a truck. We later advanced to leasing cranes before buying our own crane. The one I'm using now is not road-worthy so its owner had to get a new one , but the crane works very well. I was able to pick it up for the price of scrap. (And I can still sell it for scrap when I'm done.)
Just some thoughts.
Road Fabric is probably your best bet. I installed it through a swampy area, about 100ft. x 12ft, and we were able to run pretty heavy equipment over the road during building. I remember it costing about $500.- for a 12ft roll... not sure. Fifteen years later it still looks great. You can, of course, keep dumping tons of stone into the mud and hope that eventually it will solidify.
Just an update... this is basically how the house is now. You don't see the woodstove I installed a couple of days after I took these fotos, or the air exchanger to keep things 'fresh' inside. But the 2x8 t&g decking is
installed and will serve as both ceiling for the 1st floor and floor for the 2nd floor. Windows and doors have been installed and sealed. I intend to build a Masonry Heater in the center part of the house next year, but I'll have to wait for better weather to begin that. For now, it's just easy work to be done, like interior framing, electrical and plumbing. O&O. Chau.
We put up EPS panels... 5.5"core walls and 12.25"roof... that's R-24+ walls and R-49+ roof... they look a bit haunting (and boring) from the outside, at first... but inside they're great. I have concerns about sufficient ventilation to deal with any off-gassing of the materials (the hemlock timbers, EPS core, OSB, pine decking, etc.) We'll have to see how the first winter goes with the place closed-in.