Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hello Beki,
I live not far from you, over in Vermont. There aren't a lot of folks out there that try to build as natural as they can but there are a few of us. It is a lost life skill to build naturally, and many are forced to rely on more modern, and often misleading modalities of building. I stay as far away from concrete as I possible can. I don't care for the environmental foot print, and as a seasoned timber wright, I have seen more problems than good in 37 years of doing this kind of work. Don't miss understand me, I still use it in certain circumstances, but I do it with a keen eye to the applicable reason, and understand all it's short comings. I would have to see a visual description to give you my two cents worth on what you are planning, but there are a number of natural solution to preserving wood, even below grade, where you could expect to achieve 100 plus year lift span. Still not as good as above grade application with good drainage and architectural overhangs.
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.
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.
Brian Knight wrote:Great thoughts from Jay. I think locust is one of the most desirable appalachian species for exterior exposure. Ive heard that whole logs tend to resist rot more than sawed ones. Its a serious pain to work with being so dense and will dull blades faster than just about any wood Ive worked with.
There are some things you can do to treated pine to make it last longer: tape the top edge of framing, use ledger spacers, use hidden deck fastening systems (fasten master's is my favorite). Instead of typical sized board decking, use 2x material. I think a well detailed PT deck could last longer than a poorly detailed locust one.
Here is a pic from one of our projects with a whole log post and locust carrying beam. http://www.houzz.com/photos/2242728/Springtime-Cottage-at-54-Swanger-traditional-exterior-other-metro