A Floor, Part 2

November, 2016

A curiously warm autumn has allowed us to work later into the year than we expected. We find ourselves working outside in short sleeves in November, and we’re not usually those folks, those wacky folks who wear shorts all year around (That’s you, Rich W…). It is, in fact, warm or not, the most glorious season of the year in western Wisconsin, when the bugs have been decimated and the breezes begin to rattle those bronzed oak leaves still in the trees.

J. has been obsessively bracing his tall support posts with diagonals. He finds himself on a slippery slope…just where, exactly, is the line between a post tall enough to need bracing and a post short enough to get by without it? J., as I have said, leans toward the obsessive. I, however lean toward the negligent side, and am more likely to throw up my hands and say, “Awww, it’s fine…” (Please read my post about nearly burning down my kiln building to see how this personality trait has served me.) All in all, it’s good we’re letting J. take the lead on this one.


One of the delightfully wonky verticals with its diagonal brace and a joist hanger showing.

Once “adequately” braced, J. banged in joist hangers and filled in the spaces between the timbers with joists. Typically for this project, this was not as easy as it sounds, since the joists were rough-cut and the hangers are made for narrower stock. So each end of the joists had to be trimmed to fit.

I know what you’re thinking: “Here is where J. and Christy use chisels to do the job in an elegant, quiet way, consistent with their ideals.” Well…winter is breathing down our backs. It happens that a router will also work, and faster. We used a router.


Joists hung, it was just a matter of nailing on some plywood. Here again, we’re a little uncomfortable with the idea of plywood, but this time our reason for compromising is financial. We could go buy hundreds of feet of tongue and groove but we chose to go buy twenty sheets of plywood, delivered. Our neighbor tractored them up the hill for us. Life is full of compromises.


And suddenly, our wonky handmade structure looks very much like the beginnings of every other building. A little disappointing perhaps, but it won’t stay that way for long.

In fact, we decide to get a jump start on next spring’s work and begin to cut the timbers for our house. So our future home immediately becomes (owing to the fact that it’s now the largest flat place on our land) a platform for chiseling timbers.DSC00284.jpg

Almost too good to be true…so I’ll say it again…we’re starting to chisel the timbers for our house.


2 thoughts on “A Floor, Part 2

  1. The Structural Engineer in me is fascinated with your work. The friend and Christ in me is fascinated with your thoughts on God and his AWEsome creation. I just read all your blog posts. It’s been a long time… Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Matt! It’s so good to hear from you; hope you’re all well. You guys should come up and see the place! The kids could run wild in the woods and you could solemnly inspect our work. Especially next year, when the timberframe goes up. Also, go to bed, you should not be up at 3:30!


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