Photos, Timber framing

Cobra college connection cosmic coincedence

09.17.10 | Comment?


I’ve been calling around looking for lumber to build Holly’s shelves with, but most places here sell green hardwood. If I bought that, I’d be lucky if I could use the wood before next year. I called McQueen Custom Cuts in Welland a couple of times last week, but no one was getting back to me. I actually know the owner from Niagara College. He was one of my instructors when I took the Construction Techniques course in 2007. That course was where my interest in timber framing began. Our textbook had a brief paragraph on Post and Beam and about 3 images of typical joints used in timber framing, as well as some images showing the larger spans building with big wood allows. At the end of the year, our big presentation had to be on some building method we hadn’t done in the course but that we felt had certain advantages over typical stick (stud) framing. I chose to do my presentation on a combination of two alternative building methods: post and beam, and straw bale infill.

I spent a lot of time researching the timber frame part, since I had already done a lot of reading about straw bale. I managed to throw together a decent powerpoint presentation which my instructors were mildly impressed with, and James McQueen (my instructor) brought in pictures of his own timber framed home the next day. He showed us some photos of the raising and then the finished product which he offered to give a tour of to any of us who would like it. I think only me and possibly two other guys took him up on the offer, but I’m glad I did. After seeing his house I decided to pursue a career in timber framing.

Wednesday night, Holly had her family over for cake. Her brother needed a copy of something I had, so I spent ten or fifteen minutes flipping through spools of DVDs. I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did find a cd of photos from the college course they gave us on the last day (which I don’t think I’ve ever looked at before). Yesterday I got a phone call back from Mr. McQueen who said he remembered me when he heard my voice on his machine. He said it was weird that he got the message when he did, because he had just returned to the shop after doing one of his first classes of the year where they showed the cd I had just found the night before. He hadn’t thought much about me until he saw the top image an hour earlier, then came home to find me on his answering machine looking for wood. Weird.

I was supposed to go see him Monday evening, but I just remembered Holly is gone to So You Think You Can Dance that night, so I don’t think I’ll be able to leave (unless I can convince the boys to come to an after hours sawmill while I talk about things that won’t interest them in the slightest). He said he’s probably got what I need, which is a relief. Now I’m just worried about the price. I’m planning to bring my laptop so I can show him the renderings and the shop drawings. Holly’s dad has agreed to let me use his tools, so it shouldn’t take long once I have the materials. Unfortunately it won’t be ready in time for her birthday tomorrow.


Here is the kitchen me and my group made in the Habitat for Humanity house we made at Niagara College. The house was a duplex with very little room for anything. The kitchen was designed to have room for a table, but there really isn’t space for one. My group did everything in this room: framing, insulation/vapor barrier, electrical outlets, drywall, trim, cabinets. It wasn’t the best, but I doubt anything built by volunteers is.


This is half the finished product (it’s a duplex, so picture the same thing mirrored on the left), minus a lawn or driveway. I have been past the place once since completing it, and it definitely looks much better with landscaping. It’s also the newest house on the street, which in that part of town probably makes it one of the nicest. However, I remember how stupid most of the other kids in my class were, and I’m pretty sure this house will have major issues in the future if it hasn’t already.

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