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Timber frame for teachers’ union

Timber framing is an important building system for any sustainable builders’ palette of options, and we always try to include a timber framing element in our projects so our students can gain some exposure and experience in this time-honoured way of building.

Our current project features five “bents” or timber frame sections. Four of them hold up the roof over the curved ends of the building, allowing the roof to be straight, square and simple while the walls follow a rounded path. One bent holds up an entry roof section.

The timber frame section from the building plans was reviewed by both our structural engineer (Tim Krahn of Building Alternatives) and our timber framing instructor (Mark Davidson of Whippletree Timber Framing). From Tim’s recommendations on timber sizing and Mark’s expertise at layout and joinery, the initial design was turned into working drawings for the frame.

From Mark’s layout sketches, we went to work on measuring, marking and cutting the joinery on the actual timbers. Mark showed the class the basics of square rule timber framing, introducing us to principles and techniques of using a framing square to achieve the layout.

Each bent consists of three posts supporting two beam sections (joined with a scarf cut) with four knee braces to provide shear support, and we made four identical bents for each corner of the building. Unlike classic timber frame structures, this frame does not support the roof for the whole building but shares the duties with the straight sections of structural wall.

After completing the marking, the joinery was cut using a combination of classic hand tools (saws and chisels) and power tools (circular saw, mortise cutter and drill). In general, the power tools made the big rough cuts and hand tools were used to clean up and refine the cuts to ensure tight, smooth joints. We then drilled the holes into the mortises for the pegs that will hold all the joints on the finished bents.

As the joints in each bent were completed, we arranged sawhorses so that the entire section could be test fit in a horizontal position. Some of the joints needed to be cleaned up a bit in order to assemble the bents, but once the test fit was successful the pieces were numbered and the frames disassembled until the foundation is ready to receive them.

Welcoming the Class of 2014!

Endeavour’s full-time Sustainable New Construction program is underway, marking the third year of this exciting immersion experience.

Trillium Lakelands Teachers' Union building

Rendering of the Trillium Lakelands ETFO building

This year’s class will be building a new office for the Trillium Lakelands local of the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), in downtown Lindsay, Ontario. The building will be featuring a rubble trench foundation with Durisol blocks and earthbag grade beams, a hybrid straw bale/frame wall system, all natural plasters and finishes, a Passive House-style heating system, 5kW of photovoltaics, composting toilets, solar hot water and much more!

Sustainable New Construction class of 2014

Sustainable New Construction class of 2014

The class brings a wide variety of backgrounds and come from as far afield as Ecuador and the United States, as well as Canadians from across the country. We’re thrilled to have (left to right) Lesley Fukumura (BC), Greyson Sherritt (Ontario), Kathleen Spencer (Quebec), Andy Fisher (Ontario), Ivonka Brehovska (Ontario), Ben Bowman (US), Dániaba Montesinos (Ecuador) and Neil Boyer (US) join us here in Peterborough.

We are excited to have this new group of students joining us at Endeavour. The program has been extended to 6 months this year, giving the class an extra month to ensure they get to see all the finishing materials and details.

Please be sure to follow our progress as we start to blog about the project!

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