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sophie streit
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Hello,

I hope to find some help here,...I like to build a roof about 6,5 meter x 5,5 meter with a curved ridge beam....

I found only 2 trees on our land which have a nice curve - one is an ash tree the other a pine...it the wood from those trees usable for ridge beams?
I have no idea of any static aspects but is there a certain diameter they should have for that size of roof?

And then I have lot of spruce trees - can I use them for beams?

I am really just starting to think about these things ....Its just for a shed used as a little work room for me as well - does not have to last for 100 of years but it would be nice not just fall on my head in the next 5 years

Also like to ask how to treat the wood if debarked?

Thanks for helping.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Sophie,

Where are you?

Do you have a basic understanding of general construction and/or timber framing?

>>>

The species you mentioned would work fine for a "ridge beam," however the proper application and implementation are limited to your working knowledge of architecture and construction, and in this case probably timber framing.

Regards,

jay
 
sophie streit
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Thanks a lot for your help,

I am in Ireland and - I never build a wooden frame or roof before - that shed is kind of my experimenting playground. I will get help for the roof but I just started thinking what I have on the land and what not I like to make it a little cob/straw bale shed.

Would Rhododendron wood make a ridge beam as well - I have lovely curved rhododenron trees here....I would like to end up with something not "professional" looking but safe. Something like this:
http://small-scale.net/scrap/gobcob-thumb.jpg

Just not so round
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi sophie,

That's funny, the person in the picture you linked is Brian Ziggy, a friend of mine standing in front of his cobb house. He is a great carpenter and good timber framer. I would really need to see picture of the trees in question to give any sound advice if you could post any, but Rhododendron, if large enough can be used. How much standing forest do you own? I would stick with cobb or "straw clay" slip walls. Straw bail is more challenging than folks realize. I will guide you where ever I can, as you progress on this adventure. There are many folk and indigenous styles of construction you could choose. You haven't spoken about he foundation yet. Stone is best.

Regards,

jay
 
sophie streit
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What a funny co-accident Well I do not own the land - we are renting but the house is getting to small for my crafty things (felting) So on the Land is a stone ruin and I took down the walls to a height of about 50 cm as the walls where very old and unstable on the top - I was always concerned about the kids climbing on it. On parts of the wall it was already on the 50 cm height The west wall is currently covert with lot of earth from the outside which we are going to remove next week when we are renting an excavator.
So I have now a stone wall for building on. And my idea was to build the north and east wall with straw and the south(unfortunately a small south side) and west with cob. But since I decides not to build load bearing I could imagine to use straw clay as well. It is - as I said more an experiment but it would be great to get much experience out of it as in a few years we are hoping to buy our own land and build on it in the same way.

There is not much forest on the land but the landlord want to cut the evergreens as they are getting very high and take all the sun from the garden and the house. So I do think I will have enough wood for the roof and beams.

There are so many lovely pictures around the internet with tiny cob sheds/houses build buy "normal" people so I hope I can do it as well I thought it would be good to build the roof first and then the walls as we really have a lot of rain here

Thanks a lot for your help - i really appreciate any advise on any part of the building....
I will go out tomorrow and make some pictures of the trees that I have in mind for the ridge beam.
Here are some pictures from the stone ruin but before I removed the stones to the 50 cm height...so it is not an up to date picture but nice to get an idea....
IMG_2199.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_2199.jpg]
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Sophie,

Outstanding "bones," to build off of. I look forward to the pictures of the trees. You will be able to build anything you can imagine as long as you put a good mind to it and a determination. You are correct, there are many DIY folks out there, God love them, and they pull off some amazing things. I think often they do this because no one got in their way and told them they couldn't, or shouldn't. I will note, the more successful ones hand mentorship, and is one of the reasons I began writing for Permies.com. Many folks will start their own blog, but I feel that is not always the best way to be truly helpful, as it is just one persons voice and opinion while here it is a "chorus," of good intentions of like minded folks. Few questions for next time:

Will you be "firming up" the wall a bit prior to applying a roof load?

Will you do the stone work yourself?

Is the stone walls "dry laid" or "mortared"?

How will you get the trees down?

Will you have a local saw mill turn them into beams, hew them yourself, or try and use them in the round?

What family or local help do you have, and are planing on using?

Regards,

jay
 
sophie streit
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Hello again,

I totally agree with you. I have lot of books about strawbale building and cob and earthbag and a dvd set about straw bale and I was on a short 1 day cob introduction course but there is nothing more worth than help from a forum as books can never loot so close to some ones individual project. Having a blog is nice and I am sure I will post things on my own blog too - but mainly to keep my family up to date. I am from Austria but live in Ireland since 2 years now. So there is no family involved in the building process. We live very isolated so there are no neighbours who could help. So it will basically be myself and my husband. There is no time pressure at all so for this summer it would be nice to have the roof finished, gathering all the materials I might need like used windows and doors. The sheepwool for roof insulation (which I am sure I will get from our closest neighbour), clay, lime...

Now:
Will you be "firming up" the wall a bit prior to applying a roof load?
I am not sure what you mean by that - sorry my English does not develop a lot since I am here - I just do not get the chance to talk to people often
I would like to post the beams for the roof on the outside of the building. I think I do some drawing tomorrow - then I have a better idea and might be easier to explain to.

Will you do the stone work yourself?
I hope there will be not much stonework Within two weeks I will have the stonewall ready on a size of 50 cm and the place cleaned up - hopefully. But if there is any stone work I will do it myself.

Is the stone walls "dry laid" or "mortared"?
The stonewalls were mortared but most of the mortar felled out over time - so I will do that as well during the building process.

How will you get the trees down?
With our chainsaw We already cut a lot of trees for heating in the winter. So we are kind of used to do that.

Will you have a local saw mill turn them into beams, hew them yourself, or try and use them in the round?
No, there is no mill around so I was thinking to debark the with a dwarknife and use them round.

I was out and took a picture of the rhododendron...it look a bit narrower as it actually is I measure it tomorrow. It has very big curves - maybe too much twisted and curved - don't know but the roof might look funny with this one.
IMG_2329.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_2329.jpg]
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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The sheep wool for roof insulation
This will have to be treated with something like diatomaceous earth, borates, or the like, otherwise "the creepy crawlies" will start attacking and nesting in it.

As for the stone work, I guess I should wait to see some of you concept drawings to better understand your plane. The wall in the picture is very much in need of some "firming" meaning to make strong by either relaying sections or repointing sections with new lime mortar.

I was thinking to debark the with a drawknife and use them round.
Very doable, but harder work using round stock, but for the more rustic look, you can do that.

When I see a drawing, I will understand better.

If you are accustomed to using a computer, and have access to Google, You could download a free CAD program called "Sketchup" and use this to conceptualize you design planes. I still draw by hand myself, but do all my finished rendering, and rapid changes using this CAD program.

Till Later,

jay
 
sophie streit
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Hello,

I have not found time for a drawing today but I make the photo of the other tree I have in mind (Ash). So one of them should be the ridge beam.

And I did some measurement:
The stone walls are 50 cm wide.
The inside of the building will be 3,5 meter by 5,2 meter

The Rhododendron has a size of 71 cm (circumference) and the ash about 85 cm

By the way ....is it easier to measure in inch and feet for you or are cm and meter ok?
I hope to find tomorrow time for the drawing...I downloaded the programme from google but did not have a closer look at it yet.
IMG_2333.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_2333.jpg]
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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No Worries Love,

I'm stuck here with all these "Yanks," but being raised by my mixed race Mother and Grandmother, I was exposed to my Native American and Eastern European family. I was raised "Metric," and work exclusively in metric, converting my work to "imperial" measurements for the less fortunate around me, (poor dears, when will they catch up with the rest of the world.) Love the trees, you will give them new lives that will probably last longer than their first one. Look forward to the drawings.

Warm Regards,

jay
 
sophie streit
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Hello,

that makes it a lot easier for me - thinking in inch and feet is a challenge if not use to it.

Well it takes me few day to figure out that I am not very good in bringing on paper what I have in mind. Maybe also because I am flexible and would like to "grow" with the building process.
I made a kind of plan but as I said - its not good - not professional and maybe my 7 year old would have it done better but I hope it is usable and give you an idea.

All cob or straw bale will be on a stonewall which is about 50 cm wide and 50 cm in height.
I think I am going to have 2 sides of cob (west and north), one side with straw bale (east - as i just want to see how they perform in Ireland) and one side cob and slip straw.
On the straw bale side I will add a layer of cob - about 25 cm to get a straight surface for the base plate. The straw bale side must not be load bearing. The cob walls should be load bearing but I would like to have temporary posts to hold the roof as I really do not trust the weather here.
The north wall gives me some headache as it is shared with the building next to it. it not a very straight wall and there are lot of loose stones but I cant take it down because the roof of the side building will come down then too.
So I thought I will "glue" the wall together with cob and "straightened " it out and will have a post there for the ridge beam so that this wall will not have any additional weight to carry.

The inner dimensions are: 3,5 x 4,6 cm the walls are 50 cm thick. so the building will be on the outside: 5,2 x 5,8 cm
I think I am going with the ash tree as the rhododendron might be a to big challenge for me I want to keep the roof as low as possible.

I am very excited that my husband brought home my first window from the waste side So all the windows in the plan are not fix. Its more to show that I want 3 windows on the west side and 2 on the south. But if they are round or so - I do not know yet.

So I think first thing for me is to buy a dwarknife for debarking and think about how to get the posts for the ridge beam fixed in the ground....Should I treat the wood with anything? and will I just dig out a hole, place the post and fill it up with concrete? Or are there better ways? I always have in mind that I am only renting so I do not want to spend endless money for wood treatment and so on.
Any advice is very welcome
buidling.jpg
[Thumbnail for buidling.jpg]
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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All cob or straw bale will be on a stonewall which is about 50 cm wide and 50 cm in height.
That sound doable.


I think I am going to have 2 sides of cob (west and north), one side with straw bale (east - as i just want to see how they perform in Ireland) and one side cob and slip straw.
On the straw bale side I will add a layer of cob - about 25 cm to get a straight surface for the base plate. The straw bale side must not be load bearing. The cob walls should be load bearing but I would like to have temporary posts to hold the roof as I really do not trust the weather here.
I like the cobb, and slip wall. The nonload bearing SB is a good idea as well. I don't like the idea of you trying to build a load bearing cobb wall. I know it can be done, I've done it, but it is by fare the least desirable of building methods. Should you have any trouble with the cobb, down comes the roof. Even traditional and historic cobbs usually have an internal structure of "wattle" and posts that the cobb is adhered to.


The north wall gives me some headache as it is shared with the building next to it. it not a very straight wall and there are lot of loose stones but I cant take it down because the roof of the side building will come down then too. So I thought I will "glue" the wall together with cob and "straightened " it out and will have a post there for the ridge beam so that this wall will not have any additional weight to carry
. Very good idea.

The inner dimensions are: 3,5 x 4,6 cm the walls are 50 cm thick. so the building will be on the outside: 5,2 x 5,8 cm
I think I am going with the ash tree as the rhododendron might be a to big challenge for me I want to keep the roof as low as possible.
I have to know more about what roofing material you are going to use before I can condone a low pitch angle on the roof. What is the main structures roof pitch and material?

So I think first thing for me is to buy a drawknife for debarking and think about how to get the posts for the ridge beam fixed in the ground....Should I treat the wood with anything? and will I just dig out a hole, place the post and fill it up with concrete? Or are there better ways? I always have in mind that I am only renting so I do not want to sp
No wood in ground it will rot in most cases and twice as fast if set in concrete. You can but wood in the ground with some methods but they are more work than others. Lets get the trees down and peeled then we can discuss the "bones" of the structure and what they will stand on.

Here is a photo of a foundation I did. If you follow my about.me online link business card you can see more of the work I and my students do.

Regards,

jay

 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Sophie,

How does your project go? Hope all is well!

Regards,

j
 
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