Company or Owner:
Northern Alberta, Canada
Roger's description in his own words:
It was a long time in the planning and certainly a long time getting to this point however the fun part is just around the corner, moving it to site next year. The cabin is being built 3700 km from my house so time has been limited. As a contractor I’ve been able to take 6 months off in the last three years to cut the trees, mill the beams and do the joinery. I have had help from my brother and 2 great friends, as well as from a timber frame consultant in Ottawa, Liam, who has received many questions via email. The plans were done by a friend who modeled the joinery and specifications from his timber frame garage. The learning curve was extensive, believe it or not we didn’t wreck any timbers, lots of checking layout and rechecking then one more review, possible two, before cutting. This year we completed the last bent, top plates and roof rafters, which are all dried, piled and strapped down. The main frame and three bents are still standing inside waiting to be disassembled and moved to location.
The twisting and checks which developed have created a major challenge in cutting the 4 post mortises in the 8”x10”x 40’ top plate. I have decided to only cut these once the frame is up at location. Being somewhat remote we will have to raise the beams the old fashion way with block and tackle, ropes and whatever we can use the tractor for. The frame is 38’x 18’ with a roof overhang of 5’2”, it’s an open concept cabin with a 12’x18’ ft loft, 2 decks, upper and lower, both covered by the roof line, see model images
A few Challenges:
- Cutting and milling in -20C temperatures
- Learning the do’s and don’ts of milling timber ( don’t do it in -20)
- Laying out timbers takes some practice and lots or checking
- Two of the 8”x10”x 24ft’ sill and top plate twisted so bad they had to be scraped are recut, that was painful, see attached picture
- Had to buy some 6’x8’x21’ roof timbers at local mill, they were not dimensional, 5” 1/2 to 9” they all had to be re-dimension with the 12” / 16” circular saw and 12” plainer. This took many days of had work.
- Take a timber frame course or practice lots
- Make test jigs for all joints, my friend took the time to do this and they were all extremely useful
- If you’re not milling you own wood ONLY buy from a mill who know how to cut for timber frame!
- Buy all required tools, don’t use a 6 inch planer when you need a 12”, I bought a 12” planer this year and did lots of re-work
- Save lots of time and $, buy the TIMBER FRAME LAYOUT TOOL…..
- Do not attempt to fall trees if you are not experienced, we were, but its still dangerous.
Bench mark dates:
2014, October, Cleared bush road and cabin location
2015, August, built cabin pad
2015, Dec, Built chain saw mill Oct –
2016 Jan/Feb Cut trees
2016, June- August, Milling of timber
2017 & 18 Cut joinery, test assembles and completed all timbers….
2019 ………… to be continued
Roger used our Layout Square for his project and has this to say: "It turned out, not to be a good idea but a great idea! There is no way the accuracy of the layout would of been anywhere near as good without your layout square, not to mention the time saved, worth its weight in gold."
3 thoughts on “Roger Michon – Alaskan Timber Frame in Progress”
Amazing – you’re living the dream.
I can appreciate the quality of the workmanship but more than that the hard work,perseverance that it has taken. The individuals that have so freely given of their time and experience to help along the way show what kind of man your are. Well done my young brother
Thanks, I’m looking forward to next summer and seeing it up at location. Have to decide if I am going to use SIPS on the roof.