Our timber frame house

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Blog entry by timberframedave posted 10-18-2010 06:01 PM 1653 reads 2 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We are currently building a passive solar timber frame home in the woods out in Port Orchard, WA. My wife & I worked with my dad (who is a very experienced Architect) come up with the floor plan & site orientation of our house back in the summer/Fall of 2006. It took a few months to draw up the final plans, have them engineered & drafted in auto-cad.

Our timber package was delivered to the job site in mid 2007. My dad helped me & my younger brother Mike – layout some of the complicated joinery details & start cutting the green Doug Fir #1 timbers.

I had only worked with small timber framed projects previously. Nothing bigger than a garden shed, gate, workbench, etc. The joinery is very similar – just a heck of a lot bigger with a house. We finished cutting the joinery in about 6 months time – test fitting every connection & moving the big timbers by rolling them around the shop using pipes & wheeled dollies.

The main house raising was done in an 8-hour day using a large crane & quite a few volunteers.
The collar purlin (ridge beam) and main house truss raising only took 2 hours in the pouring rain with the help of a large boom truck.

I am currently finishing up building all of the interior cabinet doors & drawers. The interior trim is all custom cut Brazilian redwood decking (Massaranduba). Not sure why this wood is cheaper to purchase than American cherry. It is as dense as Ipe (Ironwood) but has real nice red tones & nice to take light passes thru the router.

10 comments so far

View Suthy's profile


13 posts in 3588 days

#1 posted 10-18-2010 06:10 PM

This is but a tease. You need to show sooooo…. much more.


View Manitario's profile


2629 posts in 2850 days

#2 posted 10-18-2010 07:26 PM

I agree with Mike: More pictures!!!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View swirt's profile


2646 posts in 2939 days

#3 posted 10-18-2010 08:44 PM

Looks great so far. Very envious here.

-- Galootish log blog,

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2805 days

#4 posted 10-18-2010 08:56 PM

Go man go!!!! Make a blog and keep going!

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 2985 days

#5 posted 10-19-2010 03:48 AM

Man this is fantastic! I have always wanted to build one but never had a chance. More pictures please, showing joints and fittings.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View HenryH's profile


139 posts in 3371 days

#6 posted 10-19-2010 04:28 AM

Wow. I am so jealous! It looks great. It is good to see people are actually able to follows through with their plans and dreams. congrats.

-- HenryH - PA

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 3270 days

#7 posted 10-19-2010 04:31 AM


-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#8 posted 10-19-2010 04:49 AM

How great is that love it.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View RonPeters's profile


713 posts in 2847 days

#9 posted 10-19-2010 05:33 AM

Yeah, more pictures! Very nice layout. Can’t wait to see it finished.

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View timberframedave's profile


20 posts in 2777 days

#10 posted 10-19-2010 05:18 PM

Ok – here are the rest of the pics that I can find. Had 2 computers die during this project (think the sawdust in the shop may have had something to do with it).

Note on the joinery for this project. All joints were mortise & tenon or dovetail. Use the 1/3 rule for tenons. We cut all the joints using a wormdrive circular saw, Japanese pull saw – when needed, jig saw for any curves, 1/2” drill to hog out material in mortise & sharp chisels to clean up. I picked up a Bigfoot beam saw early in this project – raised our cut depth to almost 4”.

When I was new to woodworking – I wasted a lot of time drooling over the biggest & baddest & newest power tool. If I could do it all over again – I would have spent way more time learning to sharpen my chisels. I practice all of the different joinery options on scrap wood. I keep a 4” x 4” x 16” sample in the shop. I cut a dovetail on top, mortise/tenon on the sides – use this for a visual aid for visitors who have never seen such things & don’t understand how the joints fit together.

Here is a link to my dad’s website:
He did a top-notch job detailing the frame & joinery for our house. We used his solar chart to plot our house orientation for maximum solar gain in the winter which saves us money on heating & lighting. Dad has published a few books – check out the Projects, Publications on his site.

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