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#4105 - 03/16/07 01:22 PM Possible faulty timberframe joints
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Hello,

My wife and I just had a timber frame/post and beam panel house constructed and finished just over a year ago. I just found something that causes me concern and I thought I would write to your guild looking for advice and guidance.

So far, I have found five wooden pegs that were not driven completely though mortise and tenon joints. I have not examined every joint in the house yet. It appears that the peg was driven in from one side, and when it didn't line up correctly with the hole on the other side of the mortise, a shorter peg was simply driven in from the opposite side to give the appearance of a properly pegged joint. My first reaction was that this is improper construction and weakens both the joint and the frame as a whole. But before I do anything further, we thought it would be advisable to look for a third-party professional opinion.

We are disturbed that the house we built and are paying for is not built to correct timberframing standards.

Is there any advice or help anyone could provide in this matter? My wife and I would greatly appreciate it. I am available both by email or cell phone.

Thank you,

Brett Weiser
Gardners, PA 17324

717-215-0673

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#4106 - 03/16/07 01:35 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Joel McCarty Offline
Member

Registered: 03/13/02
Posts: 344
Loc: Alstead Center NH USA
Brett and I have alked extensively on the phone.

We're hoping that there is an experienced timber framer in his area who can take a look.

Perhaps even an engineer.

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#4107 - 03/16/07 02:22 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Jim Rogers Online   confused

Member

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1639
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
Why haven't you contacted the builder of the house about this?
Isn't there something they can do?

On another note, I'll be in Carlisle, PA on Tuesday the 27th.

Jim Rogers
_________________________
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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#4108 - 03/16/07 07:48 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
E.H.Carpentry Offline
Member

Registered: 12/30/06
Posts: 194
Loc: Western Massachusetts
Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Rogers:
Why haven't you contacted the builder of the house about this?
Isn't there something they can do?

On another note, I'll be in Carlisle, PA on Tuesday the 27th.

Jim Rogers
I run into that a lot, too. Customer had some big outfit built or remodel a home. Then they found problems with the workmanship but are so mad at the builder that they do not want to call them. So I get to fix it.
Sometimes I wonder why I do not get away with mistakes if I make any. I always get to fix them myself( at no charge of course). Better do it right the first time around the next time.

Brett,

call the framer and for back up have another framer or engineer on side, also.

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#4109 - 03/16/07 08:41 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Timber Goddess Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 574
Loc: Golden, B.C.
I find this an interesting issue. I suppose it depends on the joint itself whether or not it's going to affect the structure. But wasn't there some thread discussing the necessity or lack thereof of a pegged joint? And kudos to Joel and Jim for looking into this one. Can you guys follow up when the conclusions are made? I'm totally curious... smile

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#4111 - 03/17/07 06:40 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Timbo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 71
Loc: NY
I wouldn't lose sleep over it but do call the framer , it's probably something they would be glad to fix. I've seen all sorts of errant pegs in old barns and no joint failures in any of them. It probably isn't to hard of a repair.
_________________________
Timothy W Longmore

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#4112 - 03/17/07 10:44 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Mad Professor Offline
Member

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Williamstown Ma
A consideration is what type of joints have the faulty pegs. Things that need the peg struturally as the joint is meant to have tension (i.e. tie beams) are more critical than joints that work in compression (knee braces).

If they are just knee braces I wouldn't worry about it, if they are bad pegs on tie beams that is another story.

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#4113 - 03/18/07 11:27 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Dan F Offline
Member

Registered: 12/20/05
Posts: 75
Loc: Horsham, PA
BW, you don't have an email address attached to your profile. I'll be out your way on a couple of occasions over the next month or so. I'd be happy to take a look for you.

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#4114 - 03/19/07 06:52 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Thank you all for the responses. I thought I did have an email attached to my profile--I'll check that and correct.

I do plan to go back to the builder but wanted a third-party opinion prior to that. Just want to have my facts straight prior to the conversation as this won't be the first point of contention we've been over.

In answer to the locations of the five pegs found so far--four are in knee braces and one is in a tie beam for the second floor loft. I plan to look for others tonight.

Jim and/or Dan, I live about 15 minutes south of Carlisle and if you are willing to take a look, I can arrange to meet you on whatever day works for you.

Oh yes, I am unsually not on a computer over the weekends, which explains the tardy response. Thank you for you help and patience so far!

Brett

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#4115 - 03/19/07 02:23 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Are you really sure there is a problem? Were they pegs that were just never trimmed flush? Are we sure that they really have "backed out"?

Timber frame peg hole are meant to have an 1/8 inch offset between the mortice and tennon holes so that when the peg is driven in, they draw together tight.

First verify there is a problem - which is why you want another timber framer to look at it.

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#4116 - 03/20/07 06:11 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Brad_bb--It's not that the pegs have "backed out"--the pegs are literally two separate pieces. The builder was unable to drive a single peg the whole way through the joint for whatever reason (looks like they didn't bother to taper the end to help with the hole offset, possibly). To deal with this, they drove a second peg in from the opposite side, but the second peg doesn't "tie" anything together--it goes to the tenon and stops. It basically is there to give the appearance of a single solid peg but, to my untrained eyes, appears to do nothing structurally. None of our pegs are trimmed flush--they all stick out about an inch or so, which is why I was able to pull the stubby end out and find this in the first place.

But, yes, you are right--I am not a professional timber framer, which is why I am looking for a third-party opinion before I do anything else.

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#4117 - 03/21/07 08:52 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
BWeiser has told me that he has at least 15 pegs like this that have been "faked". Someone needs to get there and do a proper inspection/confirmation of this. This could potentially be a big safety issue!

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#4118 - 03/21/07 09:02 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Jim Rogers Online   confused

Member

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1639
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
I'm scheduled to stop by there on Tuesday the 27th and view this frame and pegs....

Jim Rogers
_________________________
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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#4119 - 03/26/07 08:03 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Looking forward to meeting you tomorrow, Jim. Thanks again for making time in your schedule to do this.

Brett

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#4120 - 03/28/07 08:40 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Eagerly awaiting the report....

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#4121 - 03/28/07 06:01 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Jim Rogers Online   confused

Member

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1639
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
Just got home to my sawmill office.
2200 + miles on my old SUV.....

More tomorrow....

Jim Rogers
_________________________
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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#4122 - 03/28/07 09:25 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Timber Goddess Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 574
Loc: Golden, B.C.
I think there's a bunch of us eagerly awaiting the results...

Stay tuned for the next episode of...
CSI: TGF - The Series

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#4123 - 03/29/07 07:05 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
I'll let Jim fill you in--I'd probably miss something! The house shouldn't fall on our heads or anything, at least.

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#4124 - 03/29/07 01:51 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Jim Rogers Online   confused

Member

Registered: 03/14/02
Posts: 1639
Loc: Georgetown, MA, USA
Brett's house is a beautiful white pine frame with sips on the walls. The roof is has a standard 2x10 framing structure.
The pegs were 1" oak pegs or dowels most likely.

Here is a shot of the pegs as they appear:


As you can see they ends of the pegs haven't been chamfered, and when you remove a shorten peg the inside end hadn't been chamfered either. This end when pounded in would, it appears, to catch on the back side of the mortise once through the tenon.

As shown here in this terrible photo:



With a little extra pounding it probably would have come through the hole and been outside the post, but there is, of course, the risk of blowing out the side of the posts. And I'd have to assume that they didn't want to risk it.

As has been discussed here, in the past, and again in an on going discussion, the pegs on the end of the braces may not be doing much to help the frame except during the raising. In order for a peg to be needed, in the case of a tension joint, the opposing brace joint has to fail in compression. This is not likely if the joints and brace lengths are cut correctly.

My advice to Brett was to get a smaller dowel, and push the short peg out and replace it with a longer tapered oak peg to "catch" both sides of the mortise and then cut off the excess peg as needed, especially in the area near the kitchen where these would be at shoulder height.

One peg was at the end of a tie beam, but with inspection of a photo of the bare frame on raising day, we could see that this tie was additionally held to the post with lag bolts coming in from the outside at a second floor joist pocket.
And Brett had seen them using other bolts or lags when he was there before the frame had been covered up.

It is my opinion, that this framing crew was just a little lazy and didn't point, or chamfer the ends of their pegs, and just tried to cover it up with short hole filler pegs....

Brett may create his own replacement pegs and one at a time push out the short pegs and replace them. He may slide the replacement peg in and use it as a peg pusher to remove the shorten peg depending on which side the shorten peg is on.
It wouldn't seem to matter that much as to which side he inserts the replacement pegs as most of the joints I saw seemed to have the mortise and tenon in the center of the beam...

This isn't something that he wants to create a law suit out of, but wanted to understand what effect if any these short pegs would have on his frame. And with the sips covering the walls, and spanning over posts so that one side of the sip was screwed to one interrupted tie beam and the other side of the sip was screwed to the adjacent interrupted tie, these joints would have a very hard time fail.

And if the framing crew who erected his frame ever read this they should chamfer or point their pegs a little more and not use short hole filler pegs any more, this is very unprofessional....

With a few pegs replaced, Brett and his wife can sleep soundly at night....

Jim Rogers
_________________________
Whatever you do, have fun doing it!

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#4125 - 03/29/07 04:55 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
That's very good news. I just can't understand how anyone that is building a timber frame would do something so hokey at the end. You should only be working a timberframe if you are a craftman that cares about the quality of work. How could you love the wood and not finish it correctly? Ok, I think Brett should at a minimum write a letter to the firm that designed it and the firm that erected it and express dissapointment in the lack of care taken. Include pictures of what was found, and include pictures of the new pegs made to correct the problems. At least now Brett gets to be a part of his timber frame by making these repairs. Use of the lag bolts is pretty hokey too and goes against what the timber frame is about.

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#4126 - 03/30/07 07:13 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Thanks again, Jim, for taking time out of your schedule to get lost while trying to find our house and still have the patience to answer my questions and take a look at the issues. My wife and I really appreciate it.

We did take issue with the lag bolts at the time of construction and the timberframer was surprised that we actually had a clue about what a timberframe was. He then started spouting BS to the effect of building codes and snow loads and other garbage to justify him using lag bolts.

However, at that point, the frame was 2/3 up, we were in a construction loan time frame, and didn't feel like we had much leverage to make them do it right because it would have required a complete redesign of the frame to make the joints work without the lag bolts. Lesson learned. So, when I found these pegs, my wife had to peel me off the ceiling. It appalled me that these guys had the audacity to do this peg cover up after we had already confronted them about the lagbolts.

I do plan to make the builder aware of this issue, now that I have a professional, third-party opinion to back me up so I can filter what they try to tell me. But, to reinforce what Jim said, I really have no interest in lawsuits--I just want our frame to be correct. I grew up on a farm with many timberframed barns so I know what can be achieved through this craft. To take shortcuts on a house frame disappoints me. I definitely should have done more homework before picking the builder.

I don't know if it's kosher or not, but I'd be more than happy to post the name of the firm if anyone is interested.

Brett

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#4127 - 03/30/07 08:24 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
pegs_1 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/10/06
Posts: 87
Loc: Minnesota
I can't stand it anymore....

Who cut the frame?

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#4128 - 03/30/07 09:46 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints
Timber Goddess Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/05
Posts: 574
Loc: Golden, B.C.
Thanks for the research into this one, Jim.
I, too, am perplexed at the idea of taking shortcuts like that on a frame. (Ya,ya...I know I run a Hundegger, but structure and quality is Not something we would skimp on)

I personally don't think it's appropriate to post the name of the builder here.
I think that a call from Brett to the Better Business Bureau is probably the way to deal with it. It is likely that this builder is a novice to timber frames and I can only hope that he will learn from this mistake. If, however, he's not a novice, shame on him!
Do it right, Buddy! Word of mouth travels a long way these days!

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#10891 - 04/02/07 08:29 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints [Re: ]
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Sorry for the delay in responding . . . I am typically off computers every weekend. I can see both sides to the "post/don't post" argument, which is why I made the offer instead of just posting the name of the firm.

Prior to further considering informing others of the firm's name, I will first take steps to deal with this issue with them. Then, if that does not work, I will go to the BetterBusiness Bureau in the company's home state and lodge a complaint.

And no, they are not new kids on the block.

Also, I don't view it as "tattling". That belittles the impact of what this firm did with our timberframe. They are selling a product and not delivering what they sell. A timberframe is a major investment of both time and money on the part of the owner. Not to mention I and my wife poured countless hours into the project ourselves over the course of two years and we still are finishing bits and pieces. A house is not a plaything.

If it proves to be necessary, I feel that divulging the name of the firm would be fair warning to other possible customers that should not find what I found. You trust a firm to build your house correctly and when they betray that trust, what is left of their reputation?


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#10907 - 04/03/07 07:22 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints [Re: ]
BWeiser Offline
Member

Registered: 03/15/07
Posts: 8
Loc: Carlisle, PA
I'll update this thread with anything new in case you good people are interested. I appreciate the feedback and help I've received so far.

Thank you,

Brett

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#11044 - 04/10/07 08:52 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints [Re: BWeiser]
Gabel Offline

Member

Registered: 11/18/03
Posts: 687
Loc: Georgia
Brett,

I hope for your sake and for the sake of all of us who do this that these people make it right.

Good luck finishing your house.

Gabel
_________________________
Gabel

www.holderbros.com

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#11165 - 04/18/07 09:40 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints [Re: Gabel]
brad_bb Offline
Member

Registered: 01/24/07
Posts: 603
Loc: Joliet, IL.
Funny how my last response that was within this topic is now missing?...where I talked about why the name should be posted...Hmmmm...was it edited out?

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#11168 - 04/18/07 03:45 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints [Re: brad_bb]
Will Truax Offline
Member

Registered: 05/02/02
Posts: 447
Loc: Center Barnstead NH

That’s a bit of a grand assertion isn’t it ?

Is it not possible you posted to the defunct forum after this new one was set up, but before the redirect was made right ?

This is the Guild forum, not Deeley Plaza, there are no grassy knolls here.

Stuff happens.
_________________________
"We build too many walls and not enough bridges" - Isaac Newton

http://bridgewright.wordpress.com/


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#11170 - 04/18/07 09:55 PM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints [Re: brad_bb]
Mad Professor Offline
Member

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Williamstown Ma
Originally Posted By: brad_bb
Funny how my last response that was within this topic is now missing?...where I talked about why the name should be posted...Hmmmm...was it edited out?


+1

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#11185 - 04/20/07 07:38 AM Re: Possible faulty timberframe joints [Re: ]
Mad Professor Offline
Member

Registered: 07/25/06
Posts: 26
Loc: Williamstown Ma
Derek, those posts were deleted. I does not seem to have anything to do with switching to the new forum.

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