Inspired by projects such as William Castle’s house, featured on our blog yesterday, I set out to design an open web joist using small diameter poles for non-code areas. It’s not as shiny and elegant as manufactured brands, but hey, who can argue with the cost? These trusses would cost just a few dollars apiece if you have a good source of poles. In parts of the U.S., and probably other countries, the poles you would need are practically free. Small trees like this are thinned out to reduce fires and help larger trees reach marketable size. You could use scrap metal for tie plates and cut the cost in half. Barter for a can of screws and you’re talking really dirt cheap.
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to build lintels over doors and windows is with small diameter wood poles. Poles are typically gathered inexpensively from local forests, sometimes with a firewood permit. In comparison, milled timbers, dimension lumber, and concrete and steel timbers are more expensive than pole lintels. Pole lintels are fast … Read more