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Roundwood Trusses

 
Doug Barnes
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I have been trying to find a step by step guide to building roundwood trusses and have not found much. Does anyone know where I might be able to find one?
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Doug Barnes,

Some of the more advanced "log architecture" books give a reasonable outline, yet are aimed at very advanced builders. Even what is shown on a google search is limited and some of the advice is...well...lacking in clarity and/or accuracy.

Live edge (round or roundish) timber framing is wonderful, but can be challenging. I will be describing some in a workshop the Bill Bradbury is hosting if we get enough participant interest. If you have more specific questions, I will do my best to answer.

Regards,

j
 
Doug Barnes
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Hi Jay,

I have been doing google search after google search and only really get little bits and pieces. I will post a few of the questions that I have, thanks for your help. I live in Central Maine so I have a lot of Beech, Birch, Ash, Pine, etc....

1. What would be the best wood to use?

2. How green can I use them?

3. What would be the smallest diameter I could use to make a (standard?) truss? I am familiar with what the different truss styles look like. I am just not sure if there is a standard, or one better suited for building with roundwood.

4. What would be the best way to connect them? The type of joint, metal connectors?

I have about 8 acres that is all wooded, and could use some thinning. Which is why I was hoping to be able to find a way to use them, instead of having to buy pre-made trusses.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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1. What would be the best wood to use?


Though species do differ in their mechanical properties...grade, joinery, and wood quality...are the focal points.

2. How green can I use them?


Fresh out of the tree is fine...They only get stronger with age, with very few (if any?) exceptions if selection of the above elements are executed properly.

3. What would be the smallest diameter I could use to make a (standard?) truss? I am familiar with what the different truss styles look like. I am just not sure if there is a standard, or one better suited for building with roundwood.


Round or even live edge wood is stronger than canted (squared) timbers. As for size, that all depends on the load specific dynamics of the design sought. Style to is a mater of design parameters. The most common is probably the King and/or Queen truss systems in many timber frames.

4. What would be the best way to connect them? The type of joint, metal connectors?


I abhor the aesthetics of most metal connectors in timber frames...and...most are not necessary. With that said, truss design is not really for the DIYer, so lots of metal ($$expense$$) is going to be the easiest and safest option. Truss work is perhaps some of the most advanced timber framing and engineering one can find in a structure. Mistakes are easy to make by not understanding all the "load potentials", wood species dynamics, joinery parameters as it affects design in relationship to engineering, etc, etc,...and...these failures are usually referred to as "catastrophic failures." I have been doing this for a very long time and still have 90% of my work "back checked" by a PE I have worked with for 30 plus years that also has a timber framing back ground. This is not all said to discourage...but to warn....Be careful.

I have about 8 acres that is all wooded, and could use some thinning. Which is why I was hoping to be able to find a way to use them, instead of having to buy pre-made trusses.


It can be done, and with the correct skill sets, very enjoyable and rewarding outcomes. It is a massive undertaking, and lots of studying/learning is in order...

To achieve just the basics:

Understand center line layout completely along with scribe and template methodology.

Understand joint design thoroughly.

Know/understand the load potentials for the truss system selected.

Be able to visually grade, and assess the different tree species to be selected.

In reconsideration of this post query, I must share that almost all this information is out there and in good order; both in books and on the web. It is not a "1, 2, 3," type of subject and the information is not presented and/or delivered in a format that most lay-folk are going to really interpret well or easily, nor does it illuminate simple instructions. My book list on Amazon is public, and the timber frame books there covers this subject thoroughly. More questions though are welcome if you have them.

Regards,

j


 
Doug Barnes
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Hi Jay,

Thank you so much for your help! How do I find your amazon book list? Which of the timber framing books would you recommend that I start with?

Thanks again!
Doug
 
Doug Barnes
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Hi Jay,

I have gone back a read a bunch of your other posts and was able to come up with maybe a better idea for the use of my trees. Would any of the books you have in your list help to build something like this?

Thanks,
Doug
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Thank you so much for your help! How do I find your amazon book list? Which of the timber framing books would you recommend that I start with?


You are most welcome!!

Here is the book list link: Book List

Go to the Timber Framing section and take a look...all are helpful, as are the log building books. As for which...?? I would suggest starting with:

Master's Guide to Timber Framing

How Structures Work: Design and Behaviour from Bridges to Buildings

Wood and Wood Joints

Effective Practices & Methods: For Handcrafted Log Home Construction

Log Construction Manual: The Ultimate Guide to Building Handcrafted Log Homes

Buildings in Wood: The History and Traditions of Architecture's Oldest Building Material

Japanese Joinery: A Handbook for Joiners and Carpenters (note: lots and lots of mistakes, typos, misdirected page number references...etc....but still a great book once you know what you are looking at and trying to remember.)

Would any of the books you have in your list help to build something like this?


Yes...
 
Doug Barnes
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Hi Jay,

I can't thank you enough for your help. You have so many great informative posts! The link to your book list brought me to my wish list, but I was able to find it by searching Jay White Cloud. Not sure why I didn't think to drop the C the night before, but if anyone else would like to see it, that is all they have to do. There are lots of great books there!

Thanks,
Doug
 
Miles Flansburg
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Doug Barnes
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Great! Thanks, Miles.
 
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