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Sunday, 25 August 2013

Large Oak Frame

In what must have been a moment of weakness I agreed to make a green oak frame this week for someone that needed it asap. The frame was to measure 5m by 4.3m in a H frame with mullions on the top section.
Some big bits of wood. 5 of these were over 5m long and and so heavy that I couldn't even roll them over on my own
Looking at the plan it didn't seem too bad, just lots of mortise and tenons to cut, but the job was made much harder by the size of the timber. Some of it was 200mmx300mm section and I couldn't even roll it over.
Luckily I had a large work area as by father had cleaned out the grain shed ready for harvest but hadn't started combining yet. Also I had a forklift to help move the timbers around, but it was still tricky to move them round on my own and it turned out to be a really hard weeks work with some late nights chucked in to get it finished on time.

The A4 plan I had to work off

A homemade hook to roll the beams on my own

The chain mortiser didn't come with a clamp big enough so I had to improvise

Lifting one of the smaller timbers

Checking a mortice and tenon fit

The only way to move these beams

Chiseling up a tenon

Chain mortiser makes it a little faster but they still need a lot of cleaning out

My only worry with this frame was the fact that there are 4 mortise and tenons I couldn't check to see if they fitted. This was because they were far to big for me to handle with the forklift to get them to line up (you'd need a crane). I checked them load so times so there should be no problems.
I also drilled out for the pegs in the mortise side of the timbers only, leaving the hole in the tenons to be drilled on site. This means that if there is any discrepancy with the building it's being fitted to then it can be altered slightly before they are drilled (as the building it's for is a couple of hundred miles away there is no way I can check it myself).
I'm sure carpenters have sat like this for hundreds of years whilst cleaning out mortises
This was a hard week, back breaking week, and I can really feel it this morning. But the frames finished and ready to be shipped to it's new home. Hopefully they'll send me a picture once its been erected. Lighter work next week please!

11 comments:

  1. That is some wood, like what is in the old barns here. You did a wonderful job on it.

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    1. I hope so but I'll wait until it goes together first!

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  2. Looks like a fun job. 20 plus yrs ago we cut and built a timber frame house, but we never had the fancy chainsaw mortiser. We used a 2 inch auger to rough out the mortices and cleaned them up with a large slick. The timbers were Hemlock so it was not as heavy as green oak.

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    1. That sounds like fun. When I started as an apprentice we use to drill them out and clean them up with a chisel. I've done quite a bit of green oak work over the years.

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  3. Welcome to the world of Green Oak framing ! Probably a bit late but the carpenters Fellowship have there annual bash next weekend at Cressing temple ( a site of pilgrimage for all carpenters ) Its a great week end of talks, practical with carpenters from around the UK and Europe. pretty cheap as well. Just look on the Carpenters Fellowship website.

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    1. Thank you! I've been doing a bit of framing for the last 12-13 years this is just the first bit for a while. That weekend sounds like fun but I need to try to finish my living room renovation before my next baby comes! (a good deadline I'm sure your'll agree!)

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  4. There's nothing like quality workmanship!

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  5. I sympathise. I recently installed a 4 metre, 20 by 20cm beam in a small 'tower' that we built. Without the help of my neighbour's tractor, it would still be on the ground today. I couldn't even lift one end off the ground. And it all seemed so sensible when I went to the sawmill.

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    1. This was the same. I remember going up to it to roll it over and it not even budging. I thought then that it was going to be a tougher job than I had bargained for!

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  6. Great job and pics, top work Ken.

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