TFG Blog

Day 2, Sunrise Mill, September 29, 2019

Cloud cover today allowed us to work out from under tents comfortably. Under Dale's watchful eye, Paige Heron and Brian Clark lower one of the large oak sill timbers using a chainfall suspended from a tripod as Erin Evans observes. Some of the dead green oak timbers weigh as much as 1,000 pounds making material handling our most serious safety focus.


Will Beemer introduces the design of the rafters and the approach we will be using to layout and fabricate the rafters, including the reference faces for these timber elements. 


Dave Bowman squatting alongside the scarfed and assemble 40' sill plate presents layout basics to the participants as they begin the process of laying out the sill plate for the posts, sleepers, down braces, and studs which will line the creek-side wall of the sash mill. The posts and studs will be sided as part of this workshop later this week.


Will Beemer joins Dave in answering questions regarding the design and the layout specifics.


Nick Russell, who had to leave us after Day 3, is checking a mortise in the 44' sill.


Mike Stevens is seen here cleaning up a mortise with his chisel on the same sill. We had a cadre of participants preparing the sills (each 44' or so) because we are installing them on Days 3 & 4, after which we will install the sleepers (floor joists) for the deck over the foundation walls defining the mill raceway.


Rick Coryell lining up a boring machine on the same sill. You are probably wondering how many folks were on this one, albeit quite long, sill? Counted nine at one point. Might have had more but the participants were sitting over the other mortises to perform their operations.


Special note: TFG member Blain Snipstal from Brandywine, Maryland, recommended the Guild's community building program to our Alabama Roundhouse client, Marcus Briggs-Cloud, which will be a workshop to remember.


Rene Allen, an instructor on the last two projects, has seriously got the workshop bug. The opportunity to work again with hand tools and with oak timber, something she does not very often have the opportunity to do in her shop at Ashland Post &  Beam where she works. She, too, is cleaning up a sill mortise.


Alicia Heron cutting one of the 6" rafters for bent three. All of the rafters, except the truss top chords at the open end of the sash mill, are softwood - mostly hemlock.


Dave Bowman demonstrating how to dress the cutting edges of one of the boring machine bits for Robert Small as Trevor Diefendorf, Peter von Tiesenhausen, and Dave Maynard share a moment of mirth.

Peter has committed to writing an article for Scantlings on a community building project that he organized for his 30-person community in Dammit, AB (actually it's Demmit, AB) which has become an activity and community hub for the region. Long-time member and workshop instructor, Colin Stotts (Pemberton) and his father led the volunteers in the timber framing.


Long-time Guild member Bruce Cowie, who has attended more than a dozen workshops (might be dozens if you include VMI workshops), and Mike Wenger, another graduate of Heartwood, discuss the white oak plate layout and its reference faces.



Ginny Gifford and Jim Faulk using axes to rough out the sleeper notches for the sills. They used square rule layout techniques to determine their depth of cut.  Ginny's axe was a blur in motion....


Here's an image of about half the sill. Blain Snipstal is cleaning up a mortise in the foreground. You can count the other four participants in the photo to confirm the likely number of folks knocking out this sill in white oak.



Ginny Gifford and Jim Faulk using axes to rough out the sleeper notches for the sills. They used square rule layout techniques to determine their depth of cut.  Ginny's axe was a blur in motion...


Brian Clark, with decades of experience in all sorts of machines, works on the original sash frame and supports which we will install after we have raised the timber frame this week.


Dave Bowman explaining to Randy Johnson (brother of Farris) the finishing of the notching to assure that there are no high spots in the center of the notch.


Farris Johnson (brother of Randy), lays out one of a plethora of hemlock common rafters.

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Posted Sep 30, 2019 2:57 PM PST. Edited on Oct 24, 2019 3:26

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