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Timber frame cheating

 
Posts: 76
Location: Illinois, zone 6b
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I've been observing conventional pole barns with the posts made out of tripled 2x6. Many buildings get away with scabbing together a tall post out of shorter boards. One engineer I talked to thought that tripled 2x6 was stronger than a single piece of wood because of the ring systems. He also mentioned that butt joints under a compression load are fine on posts, on beams its a different story due to bending.


So my brain kicked into gear and I thought "Hey, we could cut really complex joinery like dovetails that are really just two wedges and everything for the posts on scabs and snug it together tight on site before fixing it to the center board of the post. Then we just cut to fit more scabs to complete the post, taking off a saw kerf at a time until it is rubber mallet tight."

New idea, not well tested, looking for constructive feedback.
 
gardener
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Location: Central Texas zone 8a
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Are you saying instead of a 6x6 post, nail 3 2x6s together, but leave the middle one shorter, leaving a slot? Then for the beam, do the same but leave the middle board longer? The long board sets in the slot left by the short board?

Talking bout 3 2x6 nailed being stronger, 1 would speculate something further. 2 2x6s with plywood sandwiched between them would be stronger than 3 2x6s. At least in a beam situation (horizontal)
 
pollinator
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I have seen it done on a municipal building and it was quick and cheap. They went a step further and used it for a foundation too. In their case they scabbed three 2 x 6's together and put them into a ground like a post. Only these were made out of pressure treated wood to resist rot. Of course Black locus or cedar could be used as an alternative. Once they got above ground level though they did as you suggest and went with spruce lumber instead. It has been there for 30 years now if longevity means anything?

Is it better than a timberframe; hardly, but definitely an alternative.
 
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You are basicly describing a very simple form of Laminated Engineered Lumber.

Here in NZ with all the pine plantations around there has been a LOT of research into combining smaller lumber into larger beams. My old high school had laminated engineered lumber roofing beams and was a clearspan auditorium with room for 6 tennis courts or 3 basketball courts under the clearspan roofing. At the base of the beam where it attached on the concrete wall pillars they were something like 4 feet by 2 feet thick.

Other buildings going up here in Christchurch after the earthquakes are made with LEL replacing the steel framing commonly found in commercial buildings.


While triple 2x6 is a bit simpler, you would be surprised at how much extra resilience just gluing the 2x6s together would provide, plus I would through-bolt rather than nail.
 
pollinator
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There is a youtuber Sully800 who did this sort of thing to build a barn. You might want to check out his videos https://www.youtube.com/user/Sully800/videos

He did a decent series of videos of getting his land, going and camping on it while receiving supplies then starting to build the barn. Then sadly he stopped posting videos until doing a cross country trip that he filmed and hasn't done any more videos about his homestead project.

But he did something like what your describing, putting demensional lumber together to make a timber frame style construction. So might be worth watching some of the videos.
 
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