Jun 122012

A few weeks ago we raised the largest Timber Frame Barn we have built to date, a 64’ x 80’ beauty that is 32’ feet to the ridge, and has a center aisle section with 32’ clear span trusses and 2-16’ wide side sheds. Fact is, it is the largest free standing structure Amstutz Woodworking has ever contracted for. This barn is destined to serve a number of purposes on a working alpaca farm south of Syracuse, NY. It will ultimately house animals, store farm equipment and possibly some antiques tractors, and provide space for sheering Alpacas and storage for Alpaca-related needs. In the immediate future, I am told it will host a wedding reception!

We did this project as a collaboration with Drumm Construction of Tully, NY. We purchased 20,000 board feet of rough-sawn Douglas Fir timbers from a specialty mill in Oregon. One truck load came cross country through a Rocky Mountain snow storm to us in Upper Jay, NY, and a partial truck load went to Tully, where 72 common rafters were cut by Drumm Construction carpenters. In Upper Jay, we cut all of the rest of the frame, including the 6 -32’ clear span trusses. All of our timbers met up with their timbers in Tully in early May, and Cal and I worked with Mark Drumm and his team on the raising. It was a fabulous and fun team effort, and I know we were all impressed with how smoothly the Timber Frame was erected despite less than perfect weather.

Mark and I worked together to design this very efficient Timber Frame. We were able to “stretch” the spacing of all posts and quadrants of the frame to lay out grids of 16’ x 16’ or 16’ x 32’. (The whole frame stands on only 24 posts!). In so doing, we were able to maximize the efficiency of joinery placements, or to put it differently, because of the large spans we could engineer using the Douglas Fir timbers and the trusses, this Timber Frame achieves a very high amount of square footage of usable space for the total number of timber joint connections. We also kept the layout very symmetrical and the joinery highly repetitive, which added to the “big bang for the buck” in this project.

The trusses were engineered by the folks at Fire Tower Engineered Timber, and they did a great job. We designed the trusses so that they could be completely assembled on the ground, and then set on the wall lines with a crane. In turn, the trusses carry a timber ridge system, which then carries the top of the common rafters.

It is our hope that we get to work more with Mark Drumm and his team.