It’s finally happening – raising day! Your dreams are about to become reality. After all the agonizing, discussions and re-assessment, you’ve finally gotten everything together. Now it’s time to build your home. This is pretty exciting for everyone, and there’s a lot going on. Understanding something about this next phase should set your mind at ease and make some of the hustle and bustle a little less intimidating.
After all the timber has been delivered, sorted and inventoried, the crew begins the job of assembling the bents. Some components are pre-assembled at the shop, but most are reassembled on-site.
The timbers are all marked for their exact location in the bent, walls and roof trusses. Except for the fact that it may take a forklift or a crane to accomplish the job, it’s a little like putting together a do-it-yourself furniture kit (Insert tab A into slot B), but a lot more fun.
The crew starts raising day by constructing the last bent to be raised and finishes the procedure with assembling the first bent that will be put into position. When all the bents are complete, it’s time to bring in the crane.
Using a Crane
Unlike an Amish barn raising, most timber frame homes are erected with the aid of a crane. This significantly reduces the need for manpower, makes it safer and more efficient, and it allows the bulk of the assemblies to be completed on the ground.
The crane flies each set of timbers to the proper location and holds it in place until the ground crew has it stabilized with connecting girts and pegs. As the timbers are put into place, the crane will also fly in the ridge beams and purlins.
Depending on the size and complexity of the house, the raising can continue for several days or be completed in a single day. It’s a hectic time, and lots of people will show up to see the spectacle.
Most crew bosses will have a morning safety meeting with the teams to ensure that everyone knows what to be aware of and any potential problems that could arise. This is a big, heavy job that requires a lot of bodies, so safety is a first priority.
Raising the frame of your home is a blue-denim ballet. Everyone on the team needs to be able to anticipate other team members’ needs, know what the next intended move is, and be right on cue with the subsequent step of the dance. Crew chiefs call the shots and orchestrate the movement of the crane operator and the ground crew.
Topping Out With a Whetting Bush
Ancient Scandinavians placed an evergreen tree atop a newly completed structure to placate the tree-dwelling spirits of their ancestors. At the time, the observance was religious in nature and continued for hundreds of years as the immigrating Scandinavians migrated to other areas of Europe. The tree-worshiping religious connotation faded over the centuries, and it has become a symbol of thanksgiving, good luck and a dedication ceremony.
Today, we carry on this tradition by nailing an evergreen bough to the highest point of the frame. This symbolic act marks the completion of the raising and is a time for everyone to stand back, appreciate all the hard work that’s gone into the project and congratulate each other on a job well done.
T&G Decking Installation
After the raising is complete, the next step is installing the decking. Timber frame home builders often use 2 X tongue and groove decking for the floor and ceiling. T&G decking is both an attractive component to your timber frame house as well as a cost efficient method of construction. It saves both labor and material, since the decking is the floor of the upper level as well as the ceiling of the lower level.
There are a number of choices in the width and thickness of the lumber as well as options in the variety of wood used and the final finish.