Random/Whimsical Timbers

A timber framer’s wedding can be a lot of fun, in my experience. One of the treats lies in watching the assembled, during the service. The attending framers will spend much of their time looking up, studying the timbers supporting the roof overhead, occasionally looking down to check on the service and gauge the remaining time until the reception. One consistent aspect of all the great church roof framing is regularity and consistency – until we framed the new Madison Church.

Duo Dickinson was, again, the architect behind this opportunity to have fun with timbers. We were adding a larger chapel to an existing church along the Connecticut coast. The room is, basically, supported by fairly standard rigid frames of heavy timbers. In a quest, however, for a “forest feeling,” we shifted many of the secondary timbers so that they are not identical. We even added some timbers that are simply there “because we could,” running from random timber to random timber, and contributing virtually nothing to the structural performance. These are, strictly, sculptural timbers – ones likely to rock the world of any student of timber structure who happens to have a few moments to spare during some lull in the proceedings for the duration of this chapel’s function.

Installing this frame was not without incident. In fact, it may have included the sole occurrence of a timber being installed that proved to be one inch too LONG – ever. That timber being a main post, however, meant we had to lift a very large hunk of timber over our heads, in order to perform that too rare inchectomy. As fun as this project was, we only barely missed making it truly spectacular with a ceiling of deliberately, particularly, and efficiently randomized roof boards. Another sweet project; thank you, Duo.














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