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Thread: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

  1. #1
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    Default Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    I'm replacing a burned down barn so am working with Insurance Claims money.. i.e. a fraction of actual cost to replace the lost structure if I were to pay the pros to build one..... so I'm looking at buying a post and beam kit and putting it up myself (with friends, neighbors, and anyone willing to grow a beard, chew on straw, and wear bib overalls, and it wouldn't hurt if you owned Oxen........)

    Materials offered so far for the most competitive bids have been with structural members in Eastern White Pine (EWP) from vendor "A", and Hemlock from vendor "B".

    The structural stuff SHOULD stay dry and out of the rain which can be long seasoned and copious here in Northern California.

    Hemlock has a miserable rot resistance rating, but Eastern White Pine is rated only marginally better. I plan on having the structure sprayed in a Borate before we install the sheathing and siding. I've considered treating the lumber in "boat soup", but then quickly dismissed material that ENHANCES flammability... the last thing I need.

    I'd love to have Douglas Fir as an option, but the suppliers who use that material exclusively have lost interest in bidding in my project. It's fairly modest at 30' x 40' in that its purely a Agricultural building with many of the Post and Beam suppliers catering to highly stylized barns used for houses.

    BTW.. a Steel building has been dismissed without question... it would be akin to asking me to love a fiberglass boat.. sorry.....

    So Questions:


    1. Borate Treatments - are they any good in a "Spray On" application to fend off termites and the various fungi that love wood?
    2. Between Hemlock and EWP, does either have a propensity to more readily absorb the Borate?



    SUPPLIERS - YOUR RECOMMENDATIONS?

    I'll throw it out there while I'm shopping.. any recommendations on Barn Kit Builders? I'm trying to keep the kit with Engineering, Shipping to California, Roof Sheathing and Siding to under $50K.

    I'll still need to supply 1/2" plywood to go under the siding for shear resistance to meet seismic, doors, windows, and roofing material. Trying to reuse the old foundation as that would be deal killer if I had to rebuild it.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    I see you are on the left coast. Can you guys get pressure treated lumber? Here in NC, that's all anybody uses for framing ag buildings, pole barns, etc, as well as decks and any sort of outdoor construction. Lowes and HD carry a pretty good line, and the real lumber yards have an even bigger selection of sizes. And if I go down to the coast, the lumber yards have some huge stuff, for docks, etc. They even have the super treated stuff for dock pilings in salt water. Think 10x10 or bigger, 24 ft long, treated to 3 pcf or so I think. Heavy stuff too. I wouldn't put a lot of faith in spray on solutions. Better to put dried lumber in an autoclave under pressure for a while, force the anti-everything solution all the way thru. What do the wineries build with ?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    I'd also evaluate conventional stud wall construction. You might find builders more competitive.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Shelter Institute, a post and beam school and builder in Woolwich, Maine, just completed a frame in Idaho. They made a workshop out of it, had a class of 16 students there, and cut the frame and assembled it in a week's time. The owners had the timbers milled out, ready and waiting when Shelter arrived. I believe they've done jobs on the West Coast before.

    https://www.facebook.com/purelivingf...72759282845988

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    I think Shelter would just send you a kit if you wanted. I don’t know if shipping would be prohibitive. Give them a call.

    I know a bit about them, I took their Timber Framing Course about 25 years ago and have worked on a couple of other frames they have built.

    The ones I’ve been involved with were all Eastern Hemlock.

    This page has some pricing for their simplest design: http://www.shelterinstitute.com/20x20
    Last edited by StevenBauer; 12-29-2017 at 09:35 AM.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    My experience with Hemlock here in Central Ca. is that it will be termite riddled in 30 years. I'm old enough now to have to go back and replace work that I did 30-35 years ago. The stuff I have taken down recently including the shear ply is just riddled and ruined.
    Much of the work I did were additions to my existing Redwood or old growth DF buildings and the bugs just stopped when they came up against those. (They went a little ways into the Fir but were obviously discouraged excepting where it may have been wet.)

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    I agree that I'd probably not choose either of the options you mention in the OP. Keep searching.
    David G
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    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Speaking from a perspective of pure ignorance, is there great advantage in going with a kit? Can you just get some lumber and whatever tools you need to make the joints yourself?

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    I’m grateful we don’t have termites here in Maine. Although with Global Climate Change they might be on their way.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    Speaking from a perspective of pure ignorance, is there great advantage in going with a kit? Can you just get some lumber and whatever tools you need to make the joints yourself?
    Pole barn: poles & trusses, stress skin panels or stud & frame.

    Steel is still a better choice! And enough wood can be integrated to diminish the silliness of hating steel.

    Sent from my LG-M430 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by DeniseO30; 12-29-2017 at 06:36 PM.
    Denise, Bristol PA, Oday30, Anchor Yacht Club, On tidal Delaware River. my current project; http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...0-Ducker-Resto

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    We have termites in Michigan so I'm not sure it's climate that has kept them from Maine.
    Last edited by Paul Pless; 12-30-2017 at 07:23 AM.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Their classes make 20' x 24' frames and they usually have kits from those classes available at discount if you do contact them. They might even be open to negotiation if they have more than one kit in storage.


    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    I think Shelter would just send you a kit if you wanted. I donít know if shipping would be prohibitive. Give them a call.

    I know a bit about them, I took their Timber Framing Course about 25 years ago and have worked on a couple of other frames they have built.

    The ones Iíve been involved with were all Eastern Hemlock.

    This page has some pricing for their simplest design: http://www.shelterinstitute.com/20x20
    "... and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago."

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    As a tangential note, I just picked up The Workshop Book: A craftsman's guide to making the most of any work space by Scott Landis. The Taunton Press, 1998. ISBN 1-56158-271-9. Such a deal for $1.25 at a used bookstore. Softcover edition. The hardcover edition was published in 1991.

    Anyway, lots of good info about workshop design and layout, jigs, machinery, storage, fixtures, etc. Hundreds of photos.
    Gerard>
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    When I put on my engineers hat I decide that post and beam is a dumb way to waste a tree. It looks old timey. That is all. The old timers did it because there were too many trees and no saw mills.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Post and beam does not necessarily need to involve all of the extra effort entailed in cutting various sorts of mortise and tenon joints. A beam will stay on top of a post just fine with a couple of big dowels or lags, especially once the ply sheathing is well fastened to it. If that's not enough you can add a big staple made from rebar somewhere where it doesn't show, let in flush with a router if necessary. In my shop I put a 3" x 7" x 4' piece on top of each post, fastened down with a couple of lags, then lagged up through the 3x7 into the beams.

    Braces can be held in place with a couple of lags, and it looks perfectly natural that way.

    That makes it pretty easy to design, manufacture and assemble your own post and beam frame, something that will save you a lot of money which can then go towards other aspects of the shop, things like insulation and double glazing.

    Eastern hemlock is very prone to splitting and twisting in my experience. Old growth western hemlock is a lot less likely to split and give you splinters, but unless it comes from old growth straight trees with no twist it can warp and twist ferociously as it dries. The pine, whatever the variety, will be more stable.

    Either of the hemlocks is a lot stronger than pine, but that's probably not a consideration.

    Pine is much more absorbent than either of the hemlocks, so will soak up more of the borax.

    If you can get it dry that will be even better, in every way. I used to get big beams for keels and such dried for customers at an electronic kiln. It was a giant microwave and did a pretty good job without doing as much damage as a conventional heated kiln would. If you're going to do that, or if you're going to allow the beams to dry for 2 or three years before using them, paint the ends, 2 coats, store on stickers in a cool, dry and well ventilated space. Get them oversized and once they've done most of their adjusting to being dry take them to a bandsaw mill and get them trimmed to size. I know, you probably don't have time for that.

    The bugs like to get between layers and into end grain, so make sure to soak the ends of every single piece of your material heavily, and spray the outside of the frame repeatedly so as to get a lot of borax in there before covering with sheathing of any sort. It won't hurt to spray the ply as well.

    Borax doesn't kill the bugs, it kills the wood rotting fungus that digests their food in their digestive tracts and they starve to death, so they don't just take a bite and fall down dead. That means they have time to bore in a ways, so try to get the borax soaked in as far as possible.

    Zinc napthanate (clear Cuprinol) on top of the borax will stop the bugs sooner, and the borax, which will soak in deeper since it doesn't cure, will help a lot with the fungus. The Cuprinol smells bad for quite a while so maybe you don't want to coat the inside, just all of the mating surfaces, like sheathing to posts and beams and braces, after the borax in water has had time to dry so it can soak in a bit too.

    You can mix and spray your own borate solution using RoachPruf and water and a garden sprayer. RoachPruf is disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, 1/10 as toxic as table salt and 1/8 as toxic as aspirin to humans and, I suppose, farm animals. It is approved by the FDA for use in institutional kitchens where it gets sprinkled on any surface that a cockroach, termite, silver fish or carpenter ant is likely to frequent. It also works for some borers, the larva of beetles. Think powder post beetles in your case. Doing it yourself will also save you a bundle. I can just imagine the hype you'd have to pay for getting a pest control company to do the job, quite needlessly.

    Zinc napthanate is highly toxic.

    You can use pressure treated ply for the bottom coarse.

    There, I just probably saved you 60 hours and a couple thousand dollars.
    Last edited by Gib Etheridge; 12-30-2017 at 12:44 AM.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    All of the bigger timber frame companies here in VT will deliver a pre-cut frame for owner assembly. I can't believe most places won't.

    I can't speak to termites, but the 2nd to last house I built was hemlock (with a few pieces of spruce) & it's done fine: just hit 40 years old. Good hemlock is very strong.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by ahp View Post
    When I put on my engineers hat I decide that post and beam is a dumb way to waste a tree. It looks old timey. That is all. The old timers did it because there were too many trees and no saw mills.
    Actually Pat Hennin from Sheler did the calculations of post and beam vs conventional framing and says his designs use less board feet of wood per square foot of living space. I didn’t check his numbers but he’s a smart guy.

    Great information in in your post, Gib, thanks.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Unfortunately, there ARE termites in Maine!!

    https://www.termites.com/local/maine/

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Techniques when building, including soil treatment, as well as lumber selection, is the better way to help prevent termite damage.
    Although nothing is perfect, I guess.
    https://www.termites.com/damage/buyi...rmite-control/

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Unfortunately, there ARE termites in Maine!!

    https://www.termites.com/local/maine/
    Are they really there, or is this "article" just a scare tactic sponsored by Orkin Pest Control? I dealt with termites all the time as a builder in southern NYS, but have no problem or have heard of termites here in Vermont. Now, carpenter ants, that's another issue! Those little buggers would eat my whole house if I didn't watch out for them.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Are they really there, or is this "article" just a scare tactic sponsored by Orkin Pest Control? I dealt with termites all the time as a builder in southern NYS, but have no problem or have heard of termites here in Vermont. Now, carpenter ants, that's another issue! Those little buggers would eat my whole house if I didn't watch out for them.
    According to the University of Maine:

    Fact Sheet: Termites (Ohio State University) — Very rare in Maine; mostly occur only in pocket areas in some southern and coastal locations
    https://extension.umaine.edu/home-an...ts/termites-2/

    Carpenter ants & powder post beetles sure are fun little buggers, eh?
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Jones View Post
    Are they really there, or is this "article" just a scare tactic sponsored by Orkin Pest Control? I dealt with termites all the time as a builder in southern NYS, but have no problem or have heard of termites here in Vermont. Now, carpenter ants, that's another issue! Those little buggers would eat my whole house if I didn't watch out for them.
    Yes, as Garret references.
    I have seen 2 cases in York County, eastern subterranean type. We had the extension agent confirm it. Back in the late 90's
    Both were in very neglected barns. Sills in the dirt.
    I guess there are 3 types...
    Subterranean...
    Formosa...
    and Drywood... which I understand can be brought in the house in, among other wooden things, furniture that was in warmer climates. They can spread inside the warm house to other locations!

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Insects (and larvae in the corrugation) can also arrive via cardboard boxes from elsewhere. We've had a few southern US cockroaches arrive and scuttle about when my s-i-l sends things from Georgia.
    "... and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago."

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    That 20x20 Shelter barn for $60K erected is $150/SF for an insulated shell.
    You can stick build far less expensively.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Umm.. you're spending $50,000 to build a structure to build small boats in? I hate to be the poopoo but honestly...

    Unless this is your business, that makes no economic sense at all.

    Now it might be that you want want want, absolutely must have a boatbuilding and woodworking shop, and screw any sort of logic about it because that's what makes you happy. If that's the case, then what the hell, screw the cost.

    Also your original post stated replacing a BARN, which is a barn, not a woodworking shop. If that's the case, then everything I just wrote is null and void!
    Last edited by Alan H; 12-30-2017 at 08:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Even for those in the business, boats make no economic sense at all.
    But we persist...

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    That 20x20 Shelter barn for $60K erected is $150/SF for an insulated shell.
    You can stick build far less expensively.
    It’s not that bad, the Shelter building has a second floor so it’s 800 sq ft at $75/SF. And the SIPS have drywall on the inside so the interior of the structure is finished.

    I built one of these for a client to Shelter’s design(not a kit, I cut all the joints) and it came out a bit cheaper.
    Last edited by StevenBauer; 12-30-2017 at 10:25 PM.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by StevenBauer View Post
    It’s not that bad, the Shelter building has a second floor so it’s 800 sq ft at $75/SF. And the SIPS have drywall on the inside so the interior of the structure is finished.

    I built one of these for a client to Shelter’s design(not a kit, I cut all the joints) and it came out a bit cheaper.
    Steven, I'd be interested to know if, for $70-75/ sq ft, that included wiring, plumping and heat. How the heat was distributed.
    And how those systems fit in a SIPS system.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Steven, I'd be interested to know if, for $70-75/ sq ft, that included wiring, plumping and heat. How the heat was distributed.
    And how those systems fit in a SIPS system.
    Wiring is run through chases cut in the foam - or some may run wires in external chases, but that's not common. Plumbing can be run the same way, but no one I know in the north runs any plumbing in exterior walls anyway.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Wiring is run through chases cut in the foam - or some may run wires in external chases, but that's not common. Plumbing can be run the same way, but no one I know in the north runs any plumbing in exterior walls anyway.
    Thanks Garret. Steven describes SIPS with sheetrock already attached for interior finish. I was wondering if the channels were done at the factory? Done on site? How do you continue the chase at the posts? Does code/best practice require a certain depth?
    When you say "external chases" do you mean outside the structure? Or on the interior finish? Conduit?
    Running plumbing, water pipes and vent pipes are a bit of a logistical puzzle, I have found, and increases the price.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by jackster View Post
    Thanks Garret. Steven describes SIPS with sheetrock already attached for interior finish. I was wondering if the channels were done at the factory? Done on site? How do you continue the chase at the posts? Does code/best practice require a certain depth?
    When you say "external chases" do you mean outside the structure? Or on the interior finish? Conduit?
    Running plumbing, water pipes and vent pipes are a bit of a logistical puzzle, I have found, and increases the price.
    In SIPs I've seen & used, they are normally mounted outside the frame - not inserted between them. This means the chases line up with each other in the SIP. Mounting them outside makes life hugely easier & makes for a better seal/unbroken vapor barrier.

    The channels are done both ways - when built or onsite. Making them is relatively easy - hot metal of the correct size melts a hole through the foam.

    External chases (outside the SIP, but inside the house) can be run just as one would on a boat: pieces of wood with a hollow in the back for the wires - running to a larger piece to hold the outlet/fixture. This way is harder & more expensive, but keeps the foam solid for somewhat better insulation. The big advantage to SIPs is that you don't have studs acting as heat/cold conductors through the wall - so some people think the externally (inside the house) mounted chases are worth it.

    ETA: There are a # of videos you can find by googling.
    Last edited by Garret; 12-31-2017 at 10:34 AM.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Haven't been able to find google videos that discuss square foot prices and comparisons.
    SIPS to stress-skin to frame between posts for wiring and plumbing and insulation, etc.
    You?

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Haven't seen any comparing prices, but plenty on wiring: https://www.google.com/search?q=make...nt=firefox-b-1

    As I mentioned - I haven't seen SIPs installed between posts - all outside of them. I 'spose you could - but you'd have to drill the posts for the chases & you'd have all the work of sealing along each post. If you don't want the frame to show - bust build with SIPS - no frame.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Sorry, Garret, I didn't explain very well. If retro-ing the wire chase, ie. SIPS in place outside the structure, you will be interrupted at every post/beam. Code is to have wires in the middle of the frame, as I'm sure you know, so they are less likely to be pierced. In the experience I have with SIPS, they were 11 1/4" thick. But those were roof units with no chases.
    I guess this is getting a bit far afield from BrianM's OP, for which I apologize.

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    Default Re: Building a New Post and Beam Boatshop.. Materials...

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianM View Post
    I'd love to have Douglas Fir as an option, but the suppliers who use that material exclusively have lost interest in bidding in my project.
    Maybe not enough info yet for a "bid" basis? Have you presented photos or developed any sketches of what you would like?


    Quote Originally Posted by BrianM View Post
    Trying to reuse the old foundation as that would be deal killer if I had to rebuild it.
    Good starting point. Has the old foundation been evaluated and confirmed as adequate to support new construction? Do you know, or have construction documentation that shows how the foundation was built? i.e. footing and stem wall dimensions, depth, rebar, soil type/bearing, etc. Will the new building have any floor loads on the foundation, upper level floor or storage area? Will the main level floor be dirt, or slab on grade, something else? Is there any existing foundation within the 30x40 perimeter? Will the new building be completely open inside? i.e. free-spanning with no posts or walls within.

    Is the new building going to be insulated?

    Re. borate treatments: Been used for a long time, since 1800's is my understanding. I've done a few projects where we've treated the whole frames (all DF). These had a sealer finish applied over the borate treatment to prevent it from potentially being leached out by exposure to any running water. More often though we just use borate rods at vulnerable post bottoms and such. Borates/boric acids can also be effective flame retardants. A heavy chamfer cut on post corners and beam edges is a traditional detail used to help reduce/slow the flammability of the timber and is commonly seen in old industrial post and beam buildings.



    P.S. I'd hold out for the douglas fir over hemlock or EWP.
    Last edited by J P; 12-31-2017 at 09:42 PM.

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