Thursday, August 21, 2008

Quarter Sawn Oak Trim

The interior of our large addition to our house is going to be a little different than the "forest" look that we have in the timber frame current portion of the house. What I mean is that there will be less wood and less Southern Yellow Pine. I said the "forest look" because Stephanie sometimes comments on the over abundance of wood with all the rough cut timbers, pine flooring, trim, pine ceiling etc. It could all be complete if we installed a wood toilet seat and one of those high end wood bath tubs ;)

So we are going for a 1910 Craftsman large bungalow interior look on the addition with more drywall but plenty of trim. If one is to execute this properly you need a lot of Quarter Sawn Oak. We are doing this the traditional way and using oak in the formal or public rooms (entry, living room and family room) and then clear pine in the bedrooms etc. It is all coming from trees milled on site. The pine is from the property and the oak is a mix of trees I cut and some that Mr. M our excavator dropped off for us a while back.

The oak is mainly Red Oak and diameters randing from 24 to 48 inch. As you can imagine this can pose a problem trying to saw up a 48 inch diameter log. This is where the quarter sawing process comes into play. First I need to quarter the log into 4 equal sections and this is done using a chain saw on the large logs. This itself can take and hour or more to rip a large logs lengthwise. Once a section is on the mill there are various ways to skin a cat or cut the quarter section. The basic idea is to have the saw blade perpendicular to the rings in the section of log, giving vertical straight grain boards. I found this great example of quarter sawn oak (to the right) at the Tree Frog Furniture blog. The ultimate goal is to end up with a bunch of boards that have been cut with the grain straight and medullary rays exposed (see the example below). These are basically the tubes that go from ring to ring in the tree. It is one of those things that when you see it you know what I am talking about. I was afflicted with an obsession about quarter sawn oak about 12 -15 years ago when I first started making Mission furniture during graduate school. It has progressed to the point where whenever Stephanie and I would move to a new town I would seek out the local small town sawyer and try and get all the quarter sawn material they had. Id even pay for the material in advance. Then it progressed to looking for the random quarter sawn oak boards in strip flooring when walking through a room or the trim in all the auditoriums that I sit in listening to endless talks.
The sawing is all done on our Lumbermate 2000 sawmill, which has paid for itself many times over. This is a completely manual mill so it requires a little work to move the logs around but for the amount I use it, it gets the job done. Instead of considering it a stand alone saw mill I see it as part of my wood shop, especially since it is permanently located at the back end of the shop. Soon it will even get some work as I cut some veneer for the interior and exterior doors I am working on for the house.The oak is stacked and stickered right off the mill and once there is a pile that is 1000 to 1200 board feet (12"X12"X1") it is placed in the solar kiln for 5-6 weeks of drying. This brings the moisture level of the wood down to 6-8% and it is ready for use.
Finally, I have the finished product which is a whack (a technical term for a lot) of quarter sawn dry boards that I can plane, edge, stain, seal and use to finish all the trim work and other furniture projects that have been started but not completed.

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some updates since May

The framing is done ... yes the framing is done. Friends and family have been asking about updates to the project since we have not posted to the blog since May. While we completed the framing a few months ago, we were busy with a lot of construction activities.

Exterior- Much of the exterior is complete. We had 12 roof brackets to build and install. Three went on each gable end, two on the sleeping porch and two on each dormer. This allowed the two to four foot overhangs that we pulled from the original plans for the Gustav Stickley designed house we were going to build. Similar to the timberframe initial house that we moved into almost two years ago, we used a combination of board and batten siding and and shingles, milled from southern yellow pine and poplar trees , respectively. By mid May we had all the house wrap up and the windows installed.

Installing the siding has gone fairly fast until we ran out of shingles. We need to cut a few more poplar trees down to finish up the back side of the house and the dormers. At the same time we will cut some porch floor boards. We used a 1/4 inch crown stapler for the shingles which was a lot better than 8 penny ring
shanked nails as done before. They did not split at all and held strong. Also the stapler is a lot easier to use on the walk boards versus the nail gun. Also, a dedicated dipping station worked well for the shingles. It was comprised of a used section of metal roofing and a 10 foot section of gutter. This allows you to dip a stack of shingles and and then stand them on end in the gutter. All the excess stain/ preservative runs down the gutter into a bucket to be recycled.
The final picture is of the back corner of the house showing the sleeping porch off our master bedroom. This is my favorite view of the house addition.
Next up ... some interior activity updates and pictures

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