Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Computer model of the "house to be"

Using the FreeForm modeling software, I made a rough 3-Dimensional model of what the house would eventually look like. (in the real house, the roof over the front porch will not be so high.) Posted by Picasa


Blogger Jarkko said...

Now that you are years away from the days of this model. Can you give a rough estimate on how much it would have cut down the building time if you would have left out the tower in your design?

See, I'm slowly going through your posts. It has been an enlightening experience, especially all the great links that you provide tend to eat up lot of reading time.

July 12, 2008 at 1:46 AM  
Blogger oldmilwaukee said...

whew jarkko - hard to say. I've kept very few time records of anything. I can tell you what took a lot longer than I thought it would on the tower:

1. calculating the angles for the tower rafters.

2. making the cricket (flashing) where the tower intersects the main roof.

One thing that was nice about the tower is that it was symmetric, such that for each timber drawing I did, eight timbers were cut.

But it's all sort of a moot point. The house was going to have a tower, if the house was nothing but a tower! So how could you save time building a tower? Make it with 6 sides instead of 8. And make it detached or tall enough so that the roof does not intersect with the rest of the roof.

If I had eliminated the tower, spaced all of my bents identically, eliminated the hip roof, and stick framed the dormers, it would have cut the time to design and notch the frame in half!!! (if not by more) Timber frames want to be simple and mine was not. If I were to build my house again, and try to build it four times faster (and make it nearly as nice), I would timberframe the tower and the great room and stick frame everything else.

July 12, 2008 at 2:26 AM  
Blogger Jarkko said...

Just like you said, integrating tower with house takes time. I am more and more interested in timber framing, but since it is labor intensive (self-building is THE journey) I am actually planning to build something much more modest.

It really shows that your are on your way to completing your dream home. Your dedication for detail is amazing! Just take your latest post about inlaid compass.

I've built stick-framed homes and find it the most economic way, building log homes is fast, but something is still missing. After recent completion of a log cabin, I don't want to walk down that road anytime soon. I guess that in an odd way timber frame falls in between sticks and logs and that is the style I haven't tried yet.

I have just the lot in mind, but I don't own it yet ;D Location would be perfect for timber frame home.

July 12, 2008 at 7:30 AM  
Anonymous Bryan said...

Ran across your blog. I am considering building a timber frame addition for my home. I saw the hammer trusses you built and I was most impressed! I have done gobs of remodels and one full addition to my in-law's town home. Fairly confident the construction would not be outside my capability however I can find almost nothing relating to joinery details for the hammer trusses. Do you have design drawings you might share that would include details of the truss joinery? My span would be 26' so nearly identical to your trusses. really awesome work on your place! :)

June 24, 2009 at 3:25 PM  
Blogger oldmilwaukee said...


I have drawings for my timbers, but they are buried in a big autocad file of all of my timbers. If you give me your email addy, I will respond and we can start a dialogue, where I would be happy to answer any questions. The forces involved in the truss are not intuitive at first, but can be easily understood. Main points of hammer beam joinery as I understand it from my novice point of view:

house the joints, which will give you more shear strength.

pay special attention to the pull out force of the actual hammer beam from the upright post. (I used 5 pegs and through tenons)

upper braces are important for wind loading, but their importance is not obvious when only gravity is considered.

the upright post has a tremendous torque exerted on it, due to the hammer beam and lower brace. Don't undersize the post!

12:12 pitch and steeper are best. you can maybe get by with 8:12 pitch... don't consider anything less.

some so-called hammer beam trusses are actually king post (or queen post) trusses with hammer beams hanging underneath. I have seen examples in glossy magazines.

go to and search for hammer beam truss. And go to timber framers guild web site and buy the .pdf archives of their journal. Several good articles on hammer beam joinery.

Last thing... run your drawings by a certified engineer before building.

June 25, 2009 at 6:24 PM  

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