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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #29985 12/27/12 02:09 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hello everyone tonight, and merry christmas, and a happy and prosperous new year--

Looking back on my posts, I would like to talk a little about that framework , back a few posts--no one responded, but it is an old mid 18oo's church being dismantled

Many times I have pondered how the frame was raised, it sure would not be a normal raising for sure with the cross ceiling members, or girts tying into the plates rather than the vertical posts as normal. Also they seem to join the upper plate right where the vertical post are attached, and as you are probably aware that does not leave very much wood for the attaching point when you take out the mortise for the post--I dare say it has withstood the forces over many years for sure.

It could be that the sides were raised complete with the upper plates, but still that would leave a problem of assembling and tying in the ceiling timbers

Anyone one got any suggestions?

enjoy

NH

Last edited by northern hewer; 12/27/12 02:13 AM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #30042 01/04/13 02:35 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Well winter has arrived in vengeance here in this area, the first major snow fall was a dandy, and temperatures dropping into the -25F area last night--it reminded me of times from long ago, but then we were in an old frame house, that shook in the windy gusts,--2 wood stoves trying to keep the temperature as high as possible at least until retiring to the cold bedrooms, where you slid under multiple layers of quilts to try and keep warm--the problem was your nose had to be able to get fresh air.

Getting back to that frame in the previous post, no one seems to be venturing a guess on how it was erected,

The large rafters were hewn tappered and had a large cog fashioned in the foot where it sat on the upper plate. One of the rafters was laying on the ground adjacent to the still standing frame--Another detail that I noticed was that the rafters were secured to the plate using large blacksmith forged spikes, 2 on each foot

The cog was centered on the foot, but did not run right across the full width of the foot--as well it sat in a corresponding notch in the plate

It was as I wandered into the centre of the naked framework that I looked up and saw how unusual the frame seemed to be with the cross ties mortised into the side of the upper plates, and it was at this point that I wondered how it had been raised, and I have been wondering ever since

I wish now that I had returned sooner to the site to examine it more closely, but when I was able to It was down and the site cleaned, what a shame for sure
I am sure the slides I have probably are the only ones in existence, I am sure no one else cared---

Well here we are and due to those few slides we can still talk about and theorize about how the old timers worked

I hope someone responds

enjoy NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #30043 01/04/13 04:02 AM
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D L Bahler Offline
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Looks not unlike many a German-inspired church house that one may once have seen in this part of the country, those build by German Baptist (or other Brethren) coming from PA, or Mennonites from PA, Ohio, and some directly from Switzerland.

In these frames, the cross ties like you see there are not mortised into the plates, but rather are dropped in from above with a dovetail joint. A very common arrangement in the southern part of the German speaking world for single story buildings.

In these buildings, the cross ties always join into the plates, never the posts. Actually, the only thing that ever joins into the posts in most southern German framing are the horizontal wall girts.

What can you tell me about the ethnic makeup of the peoples of this area? Was there ever a Mennonite or Brethren/German Baptist/Dunkard settlement?


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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: D L Bahler] #30052 01/05/13 01:41 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Thanks for responding DL--I never thought about a dovetail fastening, that sure would have been something to have seen, ands it all falls into place because the cross ties could be let in after the frame was erected--

My, My-- I sure wish now that I had gone back sooner, what a pity

You asked about the ethnic makeup of the pioneering peoples of that area--well I know that the German speaking UEL's that arrived settled in an area a fair distance to the west of this church's position, actually in Dundas county where I live,this area contained the earliest German lutheran church in Upper Canada (St John's), now situated in Riverside east of Morrisburg founded in 1784--this area contains 3 other lutheran churches
St Peter's in Williamsburg (1865), St Paul's (1875) in Morrisburg and St Luke's (1874)in Dunbar.

As far as I know the area (Stormont Ontario) that the church in question was in, was settled by Presbyterian UEL's, and I knows for a fact that no other Lutheran Churches are in this area

The next area (Glengarry) was settled by Scottish UEL's

So this leaves us with a little dilema about the framing type being of German technical extaction

One thing that I did notice about the hewn timber was the roughness of the surfaces of all timbers except the principal ones which were nicely done

Before I leave though one thought-- would a dovetail in the plate weaken it somewhat it appears to be adjacent to the vertical post which probably had a mortise and tenant attachment at this very same spot?-just a thought--maybe you could comment--

enjoy

NH

Last edited by northern hewer; 01/05/13 01:47 AM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #30054 01/05/13 08:34 PM
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D L Bahler Offline
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The roughness of the timbers inclines me to say it is not German

But then again, the Swiss-built church house in Berne Indiana has some very rough timber surfaces, which surprises me (they must have been in a hurry to get it up, and maybe did not have a proper axe for finishing)

Swiss framers at least, and what I understand this is true in many parts of Germany as well, make timbers, often even in barns and granaries, as smooth as they can get them.


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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: D L Bahler] #30056 01/06/13 01:18 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Hi DL and others looking in----

My idea about the variation in the surface finishes of the timbers making up the church frame was that many congregational members gathered together to hew the timbers, the younger and inexperienced members worked on the mediary timbers while the more experienced ones were given the task of creating the principal posts making up the bents so to speak

As I remember it the mediary posts were really roughly hewn, almost like beavers had chewed on them, while the others had real nice finished surfaces.

Getting back to the suggested dovetail attachment of the cross ceiling girts in the side of the upper plate, do you have any ideas about what effect the removal of material to create the dovetail's mortise, might do to the strength of the plate itself?

The plate appears to be about 8 or 9" square, and if that is the case then there would be about 4 to 5" of solid plate left to create the mortise for the dovetail of the cross girt

What do you think?--and does anyone else have any comments

enjoy

NH

Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #30057 01/07/13 01:26 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Here is a shot of one of the rafters that laid on the ground beside the church frame, showing quite clearly the cog fashioned on the foot end of the rafter, it sat on the upper plate and rested in a corresponding notch at that point.

enjoy

NH


Last edited by northern hewer; 01/07/13 01:30 AM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #30058 01/07/13 03:27 AM
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D L Bahler Offline
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Do you have any clues or such s to what the roof construction was? Was it purlin supported, ridge beam, trussed, what? This would also give us some clues as to its design.

For example, if it is somehow German, the exact configuration of the roof would pretty well point us to just where the carpentry tradition is from.

Also, certain roof designs would tell us it is probably not germanic (which right now I kind of doubt it is)


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Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: D L Bahler] #30060 01/08/13 06:26 PM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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hello everyone tonight

Hi DL and others looking in, welcome--

Unfortunately I never noticed the exterior of the church, and the day that I was there the roof structure had already been dismantled, many things I wish I had done then--

I have though been in the attics of 2 of the German Lutheran churches --the one in Williamsburg and the other in Morrisburg, both with distinctively different forms of manufacture--

The church in Morrisburg (1875) has sawn 2.5"by12"- ceiling supporting cross ties with 2 vertical sawn 1" by 12" on each cross tie, centred exactly under the peak to support the weight of the cross ties, the lath and plaster etc.--the ceiling has beautiful rounded corners all 4 sides, to reverberate the organ music, and accoustical speaking is the finest of all 4 churches in that respect.

The church in Williamsburg is about 12 years older (1865), but has a completely different roof structure system (trusses) --It has lower 45foot 12" by 12" hewn ceiling chords in conjunction with 10" by 10" hewn sloping sides timbers to form the complete truss along with a 1" wrought rod support in the centre--these trusses are about 8 feet apart-- and the builder then made use of a length wise purlin on top of the trusses (centred on each side), with one sloping brace back to the bottom chord--The rafters feet then lay on the upper plate, next on the chord, while the upper ends are above the top of the trusses, with no bearing on the truss at that point.

This attic by the way was immaculate and did not show its age at all.

Another neat feature was that the spire which is quite immense sat partially on the front stone wall and the first truss--but this truss was heavier being a bridge truss, the verticals of which passed down through the bottom chord held there with half dovetails and wedges--quite neat--147 years young--and still counting--

You know the trees that produced those 45' bottom chords (pine), had to have been pretty nice ones, from what I know drawing on my experience of hewing long timber--I am guessing the trees must have been 48" on the butt ends, also very straight--to have produced these chords without any wane edges that I could see--I also realize the work involved!!!--

enjoy

NH

Last edited by northern hewer; 01/08/13 06:39 PM.
Re: historic hewing questionnaire [Re: northern hewer] #30075 01/12/13 01:56 AM
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northern hewer Offline OP
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Hello everyone tonight

Hi DL and others looking in:

As I ponder the aspect of the erection of the church frame that has consumed my thoughts now for a long time, and DL your thoughts about dovetail attachment-- well taken-- I am putting forward another scenario for thought, I hope that others might comment that have some thoughts about this subject--



As I look at the ceiling network of timbers, it reminds me somewhat of the 3rd floor of the grist mill where the cross girts supporting that floor, mortises into the top plate from the side, the whole timber framing setting on top of 36" stone walls, this style of framing making use of mortise and tenant fastening.

If I was given the job of erecting this church some thought would have been directed to fabricating a raising bee that would go something like this--

The two long centre ceiling timbers, creating a unit-- married to their short centre connecting girts, this unit elevated to the height of the upper wall plates, sitting on 3 temporary scaffolds,

Next the end bents would be raised, sliding the tenants of the long ceiling timbers into their mortises on the end wall upper plates

Then the side walls would be raised, and the remaining ceiling girts would be slid into their waiting mortises

Lastly all the wood pins would be placed

The temporary tressles would remain to be used to support the ceiling structure until the rafters are placed, and eventual supports for the ceiling put in place, whether it would be rods from the rafter peaks, or other types of supports--from the photo it appears that trusses were not used

Well any comments?

enjoy

NH

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