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Heartwood School: Cruck Framing

Cruck frames use large curved timbers to transfer the weight of the roof directly down to the foot of the posts. Besides being structurally efficient and allowing the wall frames to be lighter, their soaring arches create a beautiful interior space.

Usually, each pair of cruck blades is halved from the same tree. Since the exact curve is indeterminable until the cruck blades are made, many decisions about the rest of the timber frame design must be made during layout.

In this workshop, we will build a three-bent cruck frame, first determining how to choose the proper trees in the woods and learning how to halve them to produce the blades. Then, layout will begin, with the curve of the cruck blades determining the "packing pieces" necessary to support the purlins and ridge. Both scribing and square rule layout systems are used.

Cruck frames are exciting to build because of the way they change throughout the layout process. The decision-making and possible solutions will be an important lesson from the workshop. The course will also include demonstrations on chainsaw safety and milling, hand hewing, and finishing.

* NOTE: Previous timber framing course or experience is recommended.


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