Monday April 10
Finally, the rain, sleet, snow, and cold from last week has cleared. It is going to be a perfect day to erect the frame.
Brendan, Bob and Splint show up at 7:30 am. A few minutes later, a 40 ton crane from Marino Crane Service in Middletown pulls up in front of the house. As the guys stop the morning traffic, Jim Weber, the driver and crane operator, backs up the driveway.
Within 15 minutes, the crane is set, braced and leveled.
The bents that were assembled last week are rigged with nylon straps to help brace the timbers as they are raised into place. Nylon slings are wrapped around the upper timbers and will be used to rig to the crane.
By 8:00 the first bent is on its way up. The first bent is basically the north wall of the studio. It is composed of corner posts, the beam at the second floor level, the rafters that form the peak and the bracing timbers that tie everything together. The assembled bent is 24 feet wide and will be over 25 ft tall when standing. With most of the main timbers being 8 inch square, the bent weighs about 2000 lbs.
The bottom of each post has a tenon on it. This is like a tongue that will fit into a mortise (pocket) cut into the oak sills that are bolted to the foundation. Each mortise and tenon is cut for a tight and exact fit. As Jim lifts the bent up it will need to be nudged into place. This first bent is the farthest away from the driveway where the crane is set. In addition to lifting it up, the crane has to reach over the old garage to position the bent at the far end of the foundation. Watching Jim maneuver the massive bent is impressive.
A smooth lift and within minutes, the bent is dropping into place. The guys now secure braces to shore and square the bent.
Once braced, Brendan climbs to the top to loosen the slings that are attached to the crane.
The second bent goes up as smoothly. The beams that connect the 2 bents together are lifted (by hand) into place and the braces that support these are all slipped into place.
Floor joists are lifted into place by the crane and placed between the 2 bents. These will support the loft floor. These timbers are joined with dovetail joints on either end. They precisely lock the bents together. At the roof, the purlins are joined to the rafters the same way. With all these in place, the 2 bents are solid and square. Seeing the precision of the joinery as it slips into place is amazing. Each cut, done by hand, is precise and exact.
The third bent is different than the others- This is the bent that will span the main shooting area of the studio. There is no center post and the beam is 15 feet over the floor. As this bent is raised, the framing for the side doors are lined up and need to be in position as the bent is raised. The purlins are lifted into place to secure this bent to the others.
Before the last bent goes up, Katey and I place a 2006 penny into a mortise in the sill to mark the year.
After the last bent is up and the last purlins in place, Brendan nails a pine branch to the top of the completed frame to mark an old framers tradition. This is supposed to give longevity to the frame.
By 11:30 the frame is up, Jim packs the crane up. Since
lots of friends and neighbors have stopped by to watch and visit, now is the perfect time to break for lunch. Katey and my parents have laid a nice spread and everyone digs in.
After lunch, the guys spend the afternoon drilling the joints, putting in the pegs, measuring, cutting and placing the horizontal nailers between all the posts. These timbers are spaced 2 ft apart and are where the cedar siding will be nailed.
The whole day went so smoothly that by 4:30 all the framing was done.
Everyone agreed, it was the best erection they had ever seen.....