Construction Wood Framing

Summer Kitchen Renovation Part10: Going Out on Two limbs (aka: Roof Framing)

This segment of the story starts with an innocent-looking picture – a first test assembly of the homemade scaffolding … it felt sturdy but did not feel good for testing given the uneven ground next to the workshop:

Assuming the scaffolding was going to work … the next challenge was to get a ridge-beam (“technical” terms are a bit inevitable here … I will keep it simple and the pictures will hopefully provide clarity) set at the correct height and precisely aligned in the middle of the space. We built two posts to support the ridge beam and the original plan was to let them stand on the ground floor, load them up with the ridge beam and lift them up … here is that plan in action just before the “lift them up” part:

… the “lift them up” plan was never going to work … so .. plan B … we erected the two poles in place:

… and it was time to disassemble the scaffolding, bring up the parts and assemble it where we needed it … here it is right up against one of the poles with Iulia making a first climb up:

… and for some perspective on where this is going:

… and the next day … it was time to actually go up:

… and we didn’t come here for sight-seeing (though the seeing was VERY good) … we came here to build a roof … and after MUCH fiddling (measuring, cutting, fitting, adjusting, head-scratching …):

… we got a pair of rafters in place:

… and the next day we woke up fresh and a bit wiser… and greeted by this view … which reminded us that we were able to actualy get rafters up and installed:

… and we got two more pairs on:

… and then a forth:

we were really getting the hang of it … and getting somewhat “comfortable” on the scaffolding … and then we reached the edge of the building … I was anticipating this and NOT looking forward to it … but there it was … inevitably. The next pair was right at the edge and the pair after that is an overhang that extends beyond the building. How do we reach out?

We considered different ways to approach this … and in the morning before heading out to actually meet this challenge I came up with the “diving board” … it took a few iterations … but there it is:

… and Iulia testing it by taking it for a ride:

… and looking from the ground up at the naked part of the ridge beam waiting patiently for some face-to-face time with us:

… and there is scaffolding … ready to jump ship into the shark-infested waters:

… and you may ask yourself (we sure did!): how DID the scaffolding get there?

… and we brought out all the latching straps … and latched it nice and tight:

… and there it was:

At this point I said to Iulia … being jokingly serious, that I think we will not be posting these images until we finish this phase of work AND live to tell about it (=without sustaining injuries or hospitalizations). I did not want my parents to see this (they are following closely!) and worrying. Iulia laughed AND seriously agreed! So … spoiler … you are seeing these images because the story ends well!

… and once again Iulia went up for a first look:

The next day Iulia borrowed some climbing gear (which she fortunately knew how to use) … and while we were over-hanging-out we were also securely strapped:

… and the thing started to really look like a roof:

Half of the roof was done … we pulled the scaffolding back away from the edge … took away the temporary supporting posts … and there it was:

… and we ran out of charred wood. The stack of charred wood that seemed abundant … was consumed until grass was again revealed. So we set out on a late evening charring session to renew the charred stack … so we could carry on with the other half of the roof:

… the charring, amongst other things, burns through some of the resin in the recently cut wood … here is a resin-rich section continuing to burn away from the fire:

We now faced yet another new challenge … attaching a second ridge beam to the first. The space was also getting more crowded … we needed to be able to both place and move the scaffolding with the posts re-installed in their new places … and to do that we had to place one of the posts in the scaffolding:

… and get the 2nd ridge beam up and connected:

… and we were getting good at “raftering” and another four pairs went up with more ease:

… and we arrived at the other end of the building … and we needed to bring the “diving board” over to this end … but we were not quite done with it on the 1st end.

The diving board gave us access to the top part of the overhanging rafters … not to the lower “tail” part … that was overhanging along the two sides. So we split the “diving board” into two … and … I didn’t have to spend much time there … but I did have to spend some time there … and it was actually easier than working up on the scaffolding. Every time we did this we had a set routine and Iulia was handing me things as I needed them, allowing me to stay focused and steady.

During some rainy days we built more scaffolding in the workshop … another large one (like the one in the pictures above), a smaller one (pictures coming up) … and the experimental stool (my first attempt at compound angles) that snuck into the last two pictures … so we had three scales of “high” to work with.

… and the roof started looking real!

… and we moved the “diving board” to the other side …. and got to work on the last two pairs:

… and we were now as good as we were going to get at “raftering” … so they went up easiest … and the diving board came down (and probably retired … taken apart and maybe some its pieces reused … most of it was made from reused materials):

… and we got one of the collar ties in place (the horizontal section that makes a pair of rafters look like an A):

… we had to take down the large scaffolding because it was getting in the way of installing the collar ties. So the next day we completed, brought up and assembled the smaller “home edition” scaffolding:

… and after some experimentation came up with a repeatable technique. Iulia was up on the scaffolding aligning and leveling each piece while I moved around from the side to side with the stool to lock it in place:

These elements will be visible in the space so they went through more treatment before being put up. Like the other pieces, they were charred. But then they were brushed clean (with a metal brush), sanded, cleaned with a wet rag, and oiled (linseed oil). Here you can see the difference between a raw untreated charred surface (some of the raw char has been washed off by rains) and a treated, cleaned, oiled surface:

… and then … after an intense two weeks … the last piece was put in place:

… and a simple and beautiful pattern and rhythm came into being:

… and onto the next challenge … converting this roof framing into an actual roof!

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