These are the type of stories I enjoy most, and what makes Mother Earth News such an incredible resource. In this example, a natural builder has devised a faster, easier timber framing method that looks incredibly practical. The article provides enough details to put the information to use (although more and larger size pics would have been nice).
“The modified timber-framing method William Castle has developed lets him quickly and easily turn this low-cost, local resource into beautiful houses, such as his daughter’s cabin (see the Image Gallery). The shell of the 1,000-square-foot house was built over an existing foundation by a crew of three to four adults and two children in less than 10 days — for less than $10,000!
Castle’s building technique has evolved to allow him to do more with less. Many timber framers mill timbers flat and square on all sides. Timbers trimmed square and straight are easier to work with, especially when it comes to cutting joints or attaching sheathing to the outside of the timber frame. The downside is that square-timber framing usually requires expensive woods, such as white oak, that are dimensionally stable and don’t tend to twist as they dry.
Castle has found a compromise that gives him the benefits of both techniques — a kind of “three-quarter-round timber frame.” He simplifies his cutting and fitting by milling one or two sides of each log flat, but he leaves the other sides “in the round,” which keeps the wood stronger and less likely to twist. This allows him to use smaller trees of non-premium species, even with minimal drying.”
Read the full article for free at the source: Mother Earth News