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Project Contentment: a family's small timberframed dream  RSS feed

 
Chris Pyle
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Hi everyone,

I'm starting this thread to document what will be a long journey. I intend to also blog about this project in due time. My wife and I are seeking to slow down our lives and enjoy our children (first is due at the end of September), enjoy each other, get closer to the land and hopefully stop the cycle of constant consumption.

To begin this journey, I've reached out to Jay C. White Cloud to help guide us on this path. I've never built/designed a home before although I've been involved minimally in various remodeling projects. I will post files as the design takes shape, plans for the land and anything else that I deem pertinent.

Another dreamer is joining the ranks, I hope you'll follow along.
 
Burra Maluca
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I don't think you could have chosen a better mentor!

I'm greatly looking forward to following your progress, and eagerly anticipating lots of photos.
 
Chris Pyle
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Hey Jay,

I hope all is well. I've sent some emails your way and haven't heard back. I'm guessing you are really busy or your have an overactive spam filter. Do you have any basic files I could use in sketchup to begin designing?

Also, I've looked over your green halo project many times and I'm in love with it. How do you plan to insulate the building? What sources of heat will you have? How will you run the electric? plumbing? Do you plan to have these things in your building? Amazing work all around.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Chris, et al,

Please accept my sincere and deepest of apologies.

Without going into details, it has been both a challenging and busy year. No excuses, I have dropped, lost and fumbled a few balls because of it. Sometimes being a "pest" is the only way to keep my old brain jogged, as I do get lost. Some days the emails are endless and I do get lost in the maze of it.

We had been corresponding over your 10 acres in Southern Indiana I do believe, and the cost to build there for a move that may someday come. If you bought a very simple timber frame, they can be had for $15 to $25 a square foot plus shipping and raising. Or, you could cut a couple “sticks” over weekends and in about 6 to 18 months, depending on design; you will have yourself a frame. (stick being timber in our Timberwright slang)

You have also asked about “wall trusses” (what some call Larson Trusses) for inclosing the walls. These do have many advantages and are catching on more and more each year for all their many benefits.

As for learning, hands on is the best, yet if one takes time, and works on their own with guidance that can impart a great deal of experience as well. I don’t have anything going on in the Indiana area at this time, and most out there is barn deconstructions for restoration and shipping elsewhere. Let’s get you through this planning and development phase and we will see what else comes up that may give you the experience you would like.
I like “cubes” and having met “Bucky” et al, I am not found of geodesic domes for many reasons, yet agree with you that “cubes” are aesthetically pleasing, when done well, and can be very efficient. Central fireplace (or RMH or other radiant wood system) is both traditional and good practice. As for “passive gain” that is still an up in the air topic…some work incredibly well (for how long we don’t know as many systems are very “tech” dependent.) I usually recommend a detached greenhouse/conservatory with “weather lock” (think something like a ‘mud room’ or breezeway) between it and the daily living space. That way you can enjoy its positives in solar gain and negate its lesser attributes when need be by close of the “weather lock.” Much of the radiant floor/wall stuff is good…when planned well and done well, so good thinking in that area as well. I am sure you are reading my other posts here so you have read my views on foundations, and as for learning how, that will come in time and patients or from the pocket book.

So, for now, again apologies for losing touch. We can keep it all here and if I have missed summing up your emails, just post here and I will catch it as soon as I can.

Warm Regards,

j
 
John Pollard
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Location: Ozarks
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This is a pretty good book on timber framing by Jack Sobon. My local library actually has it so you might check if yours does. Another one I liked was 30 energy efficient homes you can build. The author on this one also likes cubes for their efficiency but pay no attention to his love of urea formaldehyde insulation.

http://www.amazon.com/Energy-Efficient-Houses-You-Can-Build/dp/0878571914/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417663477&sr=1-1&keywords=30+energy+efficient+homes+you+can+build

http://www.amazon.com/Timber-Frame-Construction-Post---Beam-ebook/dp/B00AJQG6NA/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417663147&sr=1-3&keywords=timber+framing

 
Chris Pyle
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Chris, et al,

Please accept my sincere and deepest of apologies.

Without going into details, it has been both a challenging and busy year. No excuses, I have dropped, lost and fumbled a few balls because of it. Sometimes being a "pest" is the only way to keep my old brain jogged, as I do get lost. Some days the emails are endless and I do get lost in the maze of it.

We had been corresponding over your 10 acres in Southern Indiana I do believe, and the cost to build there for a move that may someday come. If you bought a very simple timber frame, they can be had for $15 to $25 a square foot plus shipping and raising. Or, you could cut a couple “sticks” over weekends and in about 6 to 18 months, depending on design; you will have yourself a frame. (stick being timber in our Timberwright slang)

You have also asked about “wall trusses” (what some call Larson Trusses) for inclosing the walls. These do have many advantages and are catching on more and more each year for all their many benefits.

As for learning, hands on is the best, yet if one takes time, and works on their own with guidance that can impart a great deal of experience as well. I don’t have anything going on in the Indiana area at this time, and most out there is barn deconstructions for restoration and shipping elsewhere. Let’s get you through this planning and development phase and we will see what else comes up that may give you the experience you would like.
I like “cubes” and having met “Bucky” et al, I am not found of geodesic domes for many reasons, yet agree with you that “cubes” are aesthetically pleasing, when done well, and can be very efficient. Central fireplace (or RMH or other radiant wood system) is both traditional and good practice. As for “passive gain” that is still an up in the air topic…some work incredibly well (for how long we don’t know as many systems are very “tech” dependent.) I usually recommend a detached greenhouse/conservatory with “weather lock” (think something like a ‘mud room’ or breezeway) between it and the daily living space. That way you can enjoy its positives in solar gain and negate its lesser attributes when need be by close of the “weather lock.” Much of the radiant floor/wall stuff is good…when planned well and done well, so good thinking in that area as well. I am sure you are reading my other posts here so you have read my views on foundations, and as for learning how, that will come in time and patients or from the pocket book.

So, for now, again apologies for losing touch. We can keep it all here and if I have missed summing up your emails, just post here and I will catch it as soon as I can.

Warm Regards,

j


Thanks Jay! I really appreciate hearing back from you. I have no doubt you are a busy man. That information greatly helps me move forward with the design process.

I had a question that is jumping a thousand steps ahead. I found one of your albums online that shows Korean Style floors (which I absolutely love. The scribed effect is beautiful in structure and flooring) but I was curious if there is a process like laying traditional wood flooring? Do you lay the largest timbers and then the "infill" boards are laid with each being scribed at it's mating ends? I would post a link but it's embedded in another forum. I don't know if you have plans to reproduce that info here. I'll wait for your reply before pulling any images in but I found the floors so beautiful I had to ask about them.

Thanks again, your input is invaluable. I don't take it for granted.
 
Chris Pyle
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John Pollard wrote:This is a pretty good book on timber framing by Jack Sobon. My local library actually has it so you might check if yours does. Another one I liked was 30 energy efficient homes you can build. The author on this one also likes cubes for their efficiency but pay no attention to his love of urea formaldehyde insulation.

http://www.amazon.com/Energy-Efficient-Houses-You-Can-Build/dp/0878571914/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417663477&sr=1-1&keywords=30+energy+efficient+homes+you+can+build

http://www.amazon.com/Timber-Frame-Construction-Post---Beam-ebook/dp/B00AJQG6NA/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1417663147&sr=1-3&keywords=timber+framing



Thanks John, I appreciate the suggestions. I have another of Sobon's books and it is packed with information for that type of timberframe. The idea behind bents is a good one but I wonder if I'm not more naturally drawn to the eastern Minka-type homes. I like roof structures that have great overhang for protection and beauty and that ideally have exposed rafters without sacrificing the roof's potential insulative properties. I don't know what goes into keeping some rafters exposed while building a second layer for insulation but I'm very interested in learning.

I also greatly appreciate scribed elements whether they are in the structural components or in the floors or done purely for adornment. I'm not especially interested pursuing form over function but when the two meet in the middle, I find myself captivated.

Jay, along with my question about the Korean floors I have another to ask. I believe you've spoken about a design principle that incorporates modularity/easy access when laying out electric/plumbing/etc. Since I am unable to find any discussion about such systems, I'm at an impasse. I can design the space to be partitioned into the discrete spaces we want but I'm uncertain how that design will be affected by the utilities design. Might you have any info you can share on how this would be designed? Or what spaces I should be thinking about as I build up the structure and spaces of the home? Paralysis by analysis perhaps but my personality type seeks details before beginning the iterative process of design/re-design. If you believe it's more valuable to move in chunks: building, then redesign for heat, then for plumbing, then I am happy to move forward but I wanted to hear your thoughts on the educational process you think best.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Some folks are using sip panels for roofing, you can also build pretty much the same thing by putting down the sheathing that will be seen from the inside (I am using T&G) then put down 3 layers (1" thick each) of the proper foam board (closed cell) then top that with sheathing that is screwed (very long screws needed to go through everything and into the rafters) into the joists. This gives a good insulation value for the roof and also keeps the interior view very nice. It also eliminates the need for an air space. I am still researching the different roof systems at this time but I am liking this method so far. Good luck and happy building adventure. J is the man!
 
John Pollard
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Some call that a built up roof and I like the idea. Whole lot easier than holding something up underneath rafters while attaching. Plus it also makes sense for timber frame so your timbers are visible. I have read that you do need some sort of airspace somewhere in the system or you get transpiration (think that's right) kind of like how you can have moisture on the inside of your windows with humidity or temp changes. The term might be moisture migration. I think a lot of it depends on the final roofing too. Metal would be apt to do it worse.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Chris, et al,

I am sorry to do just a "drive by" yet the response needs more time. Also I don't want to let this post thread go on responded to for very long after someone has a question or comment.

I am, as the subject deserves the attention, going to start a new post dedicated to nothing but the Maru floor systems in Korea that Chris has asked about. They are ancient, captivating wonderful system to learn about and adopt if doing a wood floor. I have been studying and working in this vernacular form since my mother's taught me about them in the 70's, while loving them since being a child playing on them.

I will post here soon about "disentanglement" in design, double roof systems, bent modularity compared to other systems timber framing, and a few words about Jack and other authors that have not only been mentors but dear friends.

Regards,

j
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Chris, et al,

I am still working on a post covering Korean 마루 malu (wood floor also pronounced maru) so that will be coming.

In the interim, I will try and address Chris’s other query.

民家 Minka are (of course this is subjective) one of the finest examples of timber framing in the world. There are few others that use materials in their most natural state, yet so elegantly. These homes are a combination of cobb infill, basket weaving, and incredibly simple joint configurations, sharing many similarities with Korean Hanok, and other Chinese vernacular traditional architecture. This “post and lintel” system of timber framing only vaguely uses the bent system, yet to a degree it is still there in some forms more than others.

Double roof systems are nothing really too new, and most of the better architectural systems (old and new) tend to use some form of this. A “cold roof” is a double roof system, and most “stress skin” of “built up laminated roofs” is a form as well. The latter often be called a “hung roof” as it really is not structural but to itself in most cases. The primary issue I have with most “foam panel” systems is future augmentation, serviceability, and lack of permeability to the system not to mention the environmental impact the manufactures contribute too. When just the roof, this is not such an issue overall, yet I have grown to prefer other systems.

We now build a traditional double roof on almost all frames we design. This forms a structural and well-vented exterior roof with large overhangs, then an isolated thermal layer, followed by an interior system that forms the ceiling. We also sometimes incorporate a “cold attic” for guest rooms and storage. This allows for a more traditional use of this space, thereby minimizing the about of heated or air conditioned space in the dwelling, while style providing a living space that can be used.

The modularity I spoke of comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. From the way, siding and paneling can be sectionalized into larger or removable formats to the “disentanglement” of HVAC, electrical and other systems within the truss wall and other enclosure systems. If moving an outlet, adding lighting, or servicing a pipe means ripping our work already completed then the system is suffering for “entanglement.” The wall truss system we use facilitates rapid upgrading and servicing, as do many of the other concepts we employ.

As you refine the general design, which cannot really happen without know the exact location of the build and its placement on the land, we can refine interstitial elements more succinctly.

Regards,

j
 
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