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Thread: A Timber Frame Boatshop

  1. #1
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    Default A Timber Frame Boatshop

    I need a boatshop. Someday I will build a great cathedral of boatbuilding. It will be heavy timber framed, hammerbeam trusses supporting a second floor loft at the deck height of a big cruising boat. Workbenches along one wall under the loft, plenty of space for woodworking machines along the boat and a dedicated metalworking area on the other side. Maybe there will even be a drafting room sealed off from the dust and shavings. The windows will look out over an island orchard to the Salish Sea beyond.



    But that will have to wait; the current project is constrained by the realities of the suburban backyard of the property I currently inhabit. This structure is just to be a small chapel of boatbuilding- an escape from the traffic noise and pace of life in its surrounding environment. I hope it will be a place that inspires one to build things.

    It is designed to snugly fit the half planked Maid of Endor that languishes at my parent’s house. Principal dimensions are 24’ x 24’ with 10’ of clearance between the main tie beams and the dirt floor. A lean-to style addition to the main bay will house the workbenches and machines. Clearance to run long stock through the machines is provided by the large bay door and smaller man door. Two windows look onto the garden and provide light to the workbench. Siding will be board and batten, no plywood anywhere in the structure. The building is to be uninsulated and unheated, only a small inconvenience in the northwest climate. I dream of a heavy wooden floor, and I may lay one on treated sleepers in the lean-to area at least.


    A devastating downburst in the middle of a sodden night last February resulted in dozens of trees falling within a matter of moments in my parent’s neighborhood. Outbuildings, vehicles, and even a house were destroyed. Luckily the only trees my folks lost did no great damage. I sent an entire log truck of this salvaged timber to the local small mill to be sawn to my specifications for a new boatshop.


    All told I got 7000 board ft. of custom Doug Fir timber, at about $0.35 per, including the log truck, and a long slow kiln dry of the beams . That total does not include paying the neighbor kid to haul the logs out of the forest with his excavator. In addition to all the beams, with an extra of each size, I also received a mountain of 5/4” slabs for siding and sheathing.






    Plans were completed and the good folks at Fire Tower Engineered Timber, http://www.ftet.biz/ stamped my drawings and put together an engineering package to satisfy my local building inspector. Fire Tower specializes in timber frame structures, and were excellent to work with. I believe it was forumite Draketail who recommended them, so thank you for that.

    To prepare the site I rented the world’s smallest Kubota and slid around on top of the frozen sod trying to level the area. Starting through the tundra with a shovel seemed to help the little machine and eventually the site was level and a footing trench was dug in approximately the correct location. The city was not thrilled that my surveying was all done with a string level and a tape measure, but they eventually agreed to let me continue.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    The city was not thrilled that my surveying was all done with a string level and a tape measure, but they eventually agreed to let me continue.
    Considering that’s likely how most of the city has been built, they’d have to be pretty be harsh not to agree.

    Looks like a great project and design, and a nice score on the timber.
    Larks

    “It’s impossible”, said pride.
    “It’s risky”, said experience.
    “It’s pointless”, said reason.
    “Give it a try”, whispered the heart.

    LPBC Beneficiary

    "Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great!"

  3. #3
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Bravo Johnathon, good score with the wood. A great step towards getting your Maid back amongst the first page of threads.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Excellent, I love the detail in your drawings.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post
    looks like you've already got a fine boat building shed, rough plywood door not withstanding...

    you have some prime lumber there, this shed could be standing for generations... best to give it a field stone foundation.
    here's a little inspiration.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Unfortunately the weather warmed and we proceeded to have the wettest winter on record, a significant achievement for Seattle. Water in the trench was a major problem, and it took compacting gravel into the mud, meticulous grading and a sump pump to get it under control. That sentence represents weeks of shoveling mud in the rain.






    As the winter continued I built the forms for the footing, secured the rebar and hauled materials to the back yard one wheelbarrow at a time. I worked out that mixing my own concrete was half the price of buying pre-mix bags and many times cheaper than hiring a pump truck to boom over the house to my inaccessible back yard. Two yards of rock and a yard of sand were needed for the footing, along with fifteen 94 lb. bags of Portland cement. This proved to be too much for the wheelbarrow, and emergency rebuilds happened several times before the foundation was complete.






  7. #7
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Awesome! I'm looking forward to watching your progress. Have fun!
    Proud but humble member of the LPBC

  8. #8
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Fun project. Keep those fotos coming, please.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Yard Patrol didn't seem to mind the activities.



    A dry spell of a few days allowed the materials for the stem wall to be hauled directly to the site in the truck, trying very hard not to collapse the retaining wall and drop the fully loaded truck onto the neighbor’s house. Four more yards of rock and two yards of sand were needed for the stem wall, along with 3000 lbs. of Portland cement. This was all loaded one shovel at a time into a cute little home depot cement mixer borrowed from a coworker. He uses it to make flower pots, so I worked it a fair bit harder than it was used to. An extra round of rebar was added just because I bought too much, and a loop was made to project out of the wall as an anchor point to haul a boat off of a trailer when needed.







    The whole works was leveled and aligned with strings and kept square with diagonal measurements. The stem wall pour was done in one shot, taking five of us about nine hours on a Saturday. Hold-down bolts for the sill plate were added as the pour progressed.




  10. #10
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop





    The next job will be to haul the beams north and lay them all out to choose the best position for each. This will be a simple kingpost truss design, of a bit lower slope than normal to stay within the 15ft height limit for my neighborhood. Tie beams are 8x12, posts and rafters 10x7 with some lighter stuff to fill in between. Locust pegs will pin the joints together. It will all be massively overbuilt and capable of lasting centuries if the townhouse and condo scourge creeping through the neighborhood doesn’t destroy it first.



    Working weather is finally improving. The apple blossoms have arrived!



    Here is a short clip of the wood, this being the wooden boat forum and all.

    http://vid1123.photobucket.com/album...pslkyuxdyv.mp4

  11. #11
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Subscribed. Looks like a fantastic project. It seems funny that your footing is so shallow. Here it would be four feet down. And once you've gone down four feet you might as well go down a little further and double the square footage by putting in a full basement. At least that's the way it happened here.


    Steven

  12. #12
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    Subscribed. Looks like a fantastic project. It seems funny that your footing is so shallow. Here it would be four feet down. And once you've gone down four feet you might as well go down a little further and double the square footage by putting in a full basement. At least that's the way it happened here.


    Steven
    I'm so glad that isn't the case here. 18" is all that's needed. Basements are fairly rare here as a result.

    A proper stone foundation is out as well, too seismically active.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Quote Originally Posted by J.Madison View Post

    A proper stone foundation is out as well, too seismically active.
    That also explains the need for the engineering stamps.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    That also explains the need for the engineering stamps.
    Many municipalities now require any structure that requires pulling a permit to have plans approved by licensed engineers. A buddy of mine in Florida ended up having to hire a firm to survey a roof he built over a patio after he didn't pull a permit and the code enforcement people busted him. They ended up approving it, but it cost him a couple thousand hiring the firm and paying the fines.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Thanks for the thread - though hand mixing & pouring all that cement makes me tired just thinking about it. Been there & won't do it again - though as Stephen says, around here it has to be 4 ft.

    Love the timber frame! I'm about to build a small barn - but I'm afraid it won't be a nice structure like that.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  16. #16
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    watching with interest!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    I've got another shed to build too but it will be steel framed, the last timber one was destroyed by termites.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  18. #18
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    Default

    J, this is wonderful! It takes me back twenty years or so.....I built my wife a timber framed studio:


    And here it is this morning, in a soft spring rain:



    Our home is also timber framed, with timbers which were harvested after a storm blew down a hillside of mature trees......it looks like you will have a really sweet space when you are done.....following the thread with interest!
    Cheers,
    J


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  19. #19
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    The one comment on the design I would make is to get rid of that center support post. It's really going to get in the way. You're going to want to swing a long board around or move the boat and that thing will defeat you every time. I'd put a microlam beam from front to back to support the load that is bearing on that post. I did this when I designed my garage/bedrooms addition to my house. I have a 9"x12" laminated beam 24' long supporting two upper floors and the roof. I can now roll boats out of my shop and swing them anywhere I want in my garage without hitting a support post. It's been six years and the whole thing hasn't collapsed yet!
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Another great build to follow! Jonathan, we shared your wet winter pain here in the Willamette Valley. We've had 54 inches of rain since Oct. 1; normal is less than 34. You've made serious progress despite the mud.
    John, that's a lovely studio you built for your bride.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Nice. I could sure use a few buildings like this.

    Have fun making chips and driving those pegs. Looking forward to the photo with an evergreen bough on the gable of the standing frame.


    Trivial: I'd run the diagonal braces on the doors the other way.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    "The building is to be uninsulated and unheated, only a small inconvenience in the northwest climate."

    Ha! As they say BTDT for a few winters and one fine summer week emptied the shop, put in insulation and drywall and have been much happier (tools and projects too) ever since.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  23. #23
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Agree, Steve. Even in the relatively drier Rogue Valley of southern Oregon, I got sick of having rust forming all winter on my tools and reloading gear out in the barn.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    "The building is to be uninsulated and unheated, only a small inconvenience in the northwest climate."

    Ha! As they say BTDT for a few winters and one fine summer week emptied the shop, put in insulation and drywall and have been much happier (tools and projects too) ever since.
    Awesome project; I dreamed and schemed of timber framing my shop but ended up with an adobe.

    To the OP, if you have the amazing drive to dig and pour foundations by hand, I'm sure you can look into the various methods of rigid envelope insulation that are perfect for modern timber frame buildings. I mean the general idea of sandwiching plywood, rigid foam sheets and some interior surface (e.g. Masonite) to create rigid panels that will span from sill to top plate. I suppose it is more expensive than sheathing with your free boards. It just seems like such a clean way to not only sheathe and insulate but also seal the building against bugs, etc. You could use your custom-milled boards as exterior finish wood.

    Dan

  25. #25
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Awesome project! Thanks for sharing.

    Although your plan is not to insulate and heat the structure for now, you may change your mind later. I'd recommend installing sill plate gaskets to keep air and water out of the concrete/sill plate joint (concrete is never dead flat) and reduce the drafts should you ever want to add heat. http://insulation.owenscorning.ca/bu...foamsealr.aspx

    You likely will have thought of this already, but if not it's easy and relatively cheap to install now, really hard to retrofit.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  26. #26
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Thanks for posting this. Nice progress despite the deluge. I really wanted to go timberframe on my shop, but as it's in an A9 flood zone it would have been difficult. Might still have the roof trusses in timber frame as they'll be high enough not to matter.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

  27. #27
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Quote Originally Posted by snaildrake View Post
    Awesome project; I dreamed and schemed of timber framing my shop but ended up with an adobe.

    To the OP, if you have the amazing drive to dig and pour foundations by hand, I'm sure you can look into the various methods of rigid envelope insulation that are perfect for modern timber frame buildings. I mean the general idea of sandwiching plywood, rigid foam sheets and some interior surface (e.g. Masonite) to create rigid panels that will span from sill to top plate. I suppose it is more expensive than sheathing with your free boards. It just seems like such a clean way to not only sheathe and insulate but also seal the building against bugs, etc. You could use your custom-milled boards as exterior finish wood.

    Dan
    Stress-skin panels - or Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs). Better insulation than fiberglass by far. Strong too & nail up to the outside of the frame. Use a chainsaw or sawzall to cut window openings.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  28. #28
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Nice project. I'll be following your progress. I do wonder though how, if a cement truck couldn't back in for the pour, you'll get a 20' by 8' boat in and out.
    -Dave

  29. #29
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Yes awesome!
    Thanks for sharing your new shop build with us.
    This is going to be a hell of a shed.
    I feel some trembling shop envy rising up :-D
    I´ll follow with interest!
    Max

  30. #30
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Excellent! Such an awesome project.

    Definitely reconsider insulating. Heat is not nearly as important, but insulating will be a big help.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

  31. #31
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    This means that the Maid of Endor thread can't be too far off. That was always a favorite, can't wait to see her again. She'll look good in that shop.
    Steve B
    TraditionalSmallCraftAssociation
    DowneastTSCA.org

    TraditionalSmallCraft.com
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    "If a man must be obsessed by something, I suppose a boat is as good as anything, perhaps a bit better than most." E. B. White

  32. #32
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    You're not gonna have a little wood stove? Does it rain in the Northwest? It makes all the difference between an endurance event and a nice cozy afternoon.


    Great job, it's what I always wanted to do.

    Jim

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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Maid of Endor?
    I must have missed that thread


    Quote Originally Posted by Yeadon View Post
    Probably the greatest thread in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
    Quote Originally Posted by Duncan Gibbs View Post
    Probably the greatest post in the history of the WoodenBoat Forum.
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  34. #34
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    I also picked up on the lack of insulation as being "unneeded" and thought otherwise. Then I saw the photos of you hauling, mixing, placing the concrete and thought: he's got lots of energy to burn. So, I expect that you will stay warm enough for at least a few years. Heat can always be added later although it is much easier to put in the insulation now.

    It will be fun to watch this shop progress. I'll think kind thoughts for you today as I varnish Emily Ruth in my radiant heated shop.

    Jeff

  35. #35
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    Default Re: A Timber Frame Boatshop

    Thanks for the interest.

    How 'bout that guy building a Hess cutter out in the snow? This will be downright luxurious by comparison. At the moment, I've neither the time nor money for insulation. Its about to be summer, you know. Maybe a wood stove, if I can convince myself the whole place won't burn down.

    Sill gaskets/plates will be built in from the start, and the plan is for SIPs insulation someday. I've allowed for the structure to be converted to an accessory dwelling unit eventually when I move away, with the addition of a slab floor and insulation, plumbing, etc..

    Wox, I think I can get the Maid back there on a nice day with a hitch on the front of the truck. It will be a big job. The difference between that and the cement truck is thousands of pounds.

    J P, why would you run the braces the other way? Just aesthetics? It could be done. I may also put the bracing on the inside and have the exterior match the siding.

    Rich, that center post is the highest loaded in the whole structure. It will be in the way sometimes, but there isn't any reasonable way to get a 24' span with solid timber without making the trusses taller or the tie beams lower. A laminated beam could do it, but that isn't the type of structure I'm going for. Besides it would take a lot to have me revisit the permit office.

    I gather not everywhere is as strict with building codes. For this little unheated "garage" I've already had two site inspections from the city, with drawings in hand, and several more scheduled.

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