The day of raising dawned cool and bright. The crew assembled on the sash mill deck for Dale's raising orientation. Dale reviewed the raising plan outline and addressed the specific safety issues raisings present and covered the raising guidelines for the volunteers. As is almost always the case (Pemberton is the exception), the number of volunteers needed to raise safely is usually a good deal fewer than the number needed to fabricate the frame. This made for an easy day for most of the volunteers, as they rotated from the gallery to the deck, from observing to participating.
Seth fabricated the shear leg for this workshop and he stepped up to explain specifically how it worked and how the volunteers would work together to use it. He reviewed the stabilizing ropes and how an additional rope with block and tackle would be used to pull the assembled bent up into its vertical position.
Next, Neil stepped in to review the exact steps the volunteers responsible for the raising would take in raising and stabilizing the shear leg, how the volunteers would rig the bent, and how a larger group would work together to pull the timbered bent into the air vertically.
We raise Bent 1.
The raising of Bent 1 continues.
Raising of Bent 1 complete:
A side view of the raised Bent 1:
While the raising commenced, Rene Allen began carving the year and the TFG logo into the top of a stream-side down brace to memorialize when and by whom the frame was raised.
With the shear leg moved into position and the second bent being staged for its raising (left), another group of volunteers assembles the third bent, following direction from instructor Will Beemer. In the photo on the right below, Benjamin Sutfin, with his back to you, is driving the post onto the tie tenon.
The second bent is set to be raised by hand with the shear leg. Neil reviews the process with those who will be supplying the lifting power.
We had a little trouble with one of our ropes and decided we would switch to raising a little earlier than planned to assure the safety of participants and materials. That's Dale doing a skip as the bent drops into place. Our operator, Trevor, proved to be an effective and sober telehandler operator. The raising went very smoothly.
Trevor at work.
Here's our host and client, Ella, with a bit of a jaunty look. She's appropriately attired in her hard hat and safety vest and enjoying the raising - the high point of the week for her, Alana, and Scott.
After lunch, we started by raising the rafter plates. The stream side wall receives siding, therefore the studs are also fitted to the sill and rafter plate and require a little more time to seat the plate (below).
The obligatory commander was needed here and there to convince a recalcitrant timber to assume its proper location.
The land-side wall does not have the studs, so raising the 20' plate on this side was more easily accomplished.
Bent 3 being raised, below. The bents were quite modest both in height and complexity, so raising them was somewhat less dramatic than many structures we raise at workshops. Nevertheless, it is always the highlight of the week for the participants to see the plan and timbers come together so seamlessly.
Of course, raising requires many fewer participants than fabrication, so some folks, like Alana Blumenthal, Michael Cuba (looking a bit fierce today, eh?), and Ed Sabir enjoyed the warm sun and the drama unfolding.
Our next move was to install the sash which holds the reciprocating saw. This frame is believed to be the original sash installed when the mill was built, circa 1770. Almost all the components are there, and it will take little effort or materials to complete.
The sash now sits on new timber header and joists we installed.
Below, second scarfed rafter plate (with studs mortised into its bottom surface), on the stream side, being raised.
One of the only joints on this frame that required any adjustment during the raising. Neil is paring the tenon to allow it to be inserted into the rafter plate.
Land-side rafter plate (sans studs) being guided into place by Seth and participants.
Below, rafters being installed by Brian and Dale. The rafters were light enough for participants to hand them up. Tongue and fork connection with a peg at the peak and screws at the tail completed the connection.
The team always finds time to share some humor. As we near the end of work at the end of the day, spirits rise and stress levels fall. Wrapping up a successful raising day always provides everyone with a deep feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Dale and Brian with the last pair of rafters, about to peg them together - just awaiting the screws to be set at the tails.
And, Will Beemer, expressing his elation at the completion. (Except the tuning - but that's for tomorrow.
Dale Emde, workshop manager, congratulating participants and thanking them for a great day raising safely.
The substantially complete timber frame, on raising day, almost exactly 212 years after the original sash mill was raised.
Below, a happy crew, assembled and smiling. The flag on the left is the Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, flag, and on the right, the 48-star flag of yesteryear. (Photo courtesy Daniel Girard)
Finally, the completed carving by Rene Allen, on the upturned face of a down brace, noting the year of the raising and the builder of the frame.
This was one for the ages. The whole crew, instructors, volunteers, and our clients will long remember this day and the workshop experience. They will likely forget the specifics of the frame, the hard work, the really hot days, the freezing cold nights, but they won't forget the good friends they made, the shared experience, and the sense of satisfaction derived from working together towards this uncommon end.
Thank you to all who supported the Sunrise Mill Community Building Workshop.