Monthly Archives: November 2013

Cutting tenons for a Timber Frame

After defining the tenon shoulders with a handsaw, I cut the cheeks on the bandsaw, then tuned with rasp and chisel to fit.

After defining the tenon shoulders with a handsaw, I cut the cheeks on the bandsaw, then tuned with rasp and chisel to fit.

A survey of resource suggested the following considerations for sizing the tenons used in timber frame construction:

  • The thickness of the tenon is usually one-quarter the width of the timber but no more than one-third.¬†
  • The tenon usually runs the whole width of the member being tenoned.
  • The walls of the mortise should be at least the thickness of the tenon.

Since I was working with 4 x 4 and 4 x 6 stock, I made my tenons an inch thick and two inches deep. And since I think a little shoulder is a good thing, I reduced the width of the tenon by a half inch to leave a quarter-inch shoulder on the sides of the tenons. Continue reading

Timber Frame Mortise

Two housed mortises scaled for a timber frame

These two housed mortise were cut with a router using jigs and template bushing to guide the router.

I had admired the timber frame construction I saw on display in the temples of Kyoto and Himeji castle, so the decision to use those techniques when building the new porch was an easy one. Too, I figured, timber framing shouldn’t be too different from furniture making–simply scale up the joinery. A little reading (the timber framing section of the Forestry Forum and the Fine Homebuilding archive) suggested the theory was might be sound, but the practice of scaling required a whole different set of techniques and tools. Continue reading

The Once and Future Patio

porchThumbnail While the old porch was serviceable, it had been built for functionality, not form. The roofline was sloped to shed water, but the one-way slope contrasted harshly with the roofline of the garage. Nor did the algae covered fiberglass panels and peeling paint contribute to the effect. Still it kept the table dry and provided a convenient place for ammonia fuming, so we tolerated it. Since the patio was being replaced, it seemed reasonable to replace the porch as well. Continue reading

A Craftsman-Appropriate Patio–Construction

patio demo

Demolition begins on the old patio.

Construction began with some destruction. I’d agreed to knock down the porch before the crew from Father Nature Landscapes, so the week before they were do in, I put on my safety glasses and ear protection and took a sledgehammer to the porch. It surprised me how easily it came down. After cutting its remains into station-wagon sized chunks, I hauled the porch to the dump. Continue reading

A Craftsman-appropriate patio–design

The final plan included a brick patio, expanded bed, and new covered porch.

The final plan included a brick patio, expanded bed, and new covered porch.

Having (finally)¬†decided to replace our decrepit patio, we defined our requirements–appropriate for our Craftsman bungalow, follow roughly the same footprint, and a new covered porch–we iterated through variations on the same basic idea until we settled on a final plan. We preserved the same basic footprint, slightly expanding the side bed and pulling out a small paved section next to the house to create a new bed.¬† Continue reading