Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Upper Loft Bents

Here you go, Dad. Sorry about the delay! My camera was out of batteries on Saturday evening, and I didn't want to put up this week's post without a good capture of what we accomplished. Karen and Chris ran out to the site on Sunday (with the top down - woohoo!) for a few pictures.

Karen is on the left, displaying her mastery of the Makita. Andy is on the right, measuring and prepping boards for Karen to cut. Chris is behind the camera, taking a break from watching them work.
This is Benson, Andy and Mindy's 8-year old, helping us assemble the bents for above the loft. He put in quite a few nails with us. And don't tell OSHA, but yes, all the boys were up on the loft with us. That's what happens when Mom goes to a baby shower and leaves the boys in the hands of bigger boys.

If we put up a poll of who the most adorable builder is... well, just look at him! How could anybody beat that?
The traditional view, taken on Sunday afternoon. We've assembled and installed seven of the ten upper bents. Everything else is cut and ready to go, sitting under the tarp on the loft. We'll get to the last three on Friday this week. The house just keeps getting bigger!

Looking North through the house, the bents really look good to us. We've started to imagine everything from a detached garage, a covered bridge, and a distant cabin built in this style.

No more pictures for this week, but if you'd like to read, I'll ramble for a bit. Most of the posts and joists you can see in the above pictures will be eternally visible from within the finished home. The ten posts are roughly 3' apart, evenly spaced across the 30' N-S dimension. There will be natural traffic patterns between the posts that will end up being used as hallways, but there will be no framed in hallways, at least in the upper living levels.

These bents were fun to build. We cut and placed together one on Friday, but with sleet and freezing rain, it was too slippery on top of the loft to consider assembling any there. We chose to inset the middle knee brace. I'm not sure if you can make it out in the pictures, but it's apparent when you're in the loft. It provides an extra bit of aesthetic appeal.

The bents are composed of a total of 66 linear feet of 2x6 and 15 linear feet of 2x8. They are heavy, they are tall, and we took great care when installing them. Especially the Northern and Southern bents, since there isn't much footing to be found up there on the corners. We built one, installed it, and then built and installed the second bent, both on the North side. Then we built five more with the help of the boys, built one on top of another. Installation for the South wall was straightforward, though there really isn't much margin for error. Keeping the bents horizontal seemed best, and then with Chris on one post and Andy on the other, we caught the tenon on the edge of the mortise and slowly pushed the bent vertical. A few quick nails and a strip of lath and we were good to go.

Somebody asked recently about the picture of the stone wall on the front of the blog. Yes, that's on our land. It's on the back 30, tucked above the natural barrier of the cliff. Chris took that picture when he and Andy ran around the perimeter in the rain on one of our trips back East to look at land. Once Andy and Chris saw that portion of the property, they were sold. The day we closed on the property the seven of us gathered in the grove near that stone wall and said a prayer of thanks. It's a special spot to us.

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