Dirty Little Secrets

There are, actually, quite a few DLS's involved in timber framed homes. Many of them are revealed while trimming and outfitting the building. Others, during the timber seasoning phase. A few only crop up with usage. One of my favorites, though, is The Huge Budget Bump for Christmas Trees. Timber framed homes, of course, are not the only homes with tall great rooms. But a tall great room with celebrated timbers seems somehow to accentuate the primordial lust for a wicked big tree. This example was sent by a favorite client, John McRae, showing the 2009 edition installed in his beloved NH home - The Beeches.

Based on my own decades of installing significant trees in a lovely timber framed great room, I offer the following advice and tips:

  • I have had luck, going to funky cut-em-yourself places and offering to harvest one of their left over monsters. Some tree growers are happy to have a tree removed that has already outgrown their more standard market. Make em an offer, see what they say.
  • I love hanging trees from their upper limbs or trunk, rather than relying on nearly inevitably overwhelmed tree stands on the floor. You can use a noose or a pair of sticks, wired together under convenient branches. The sticks, then, bridged between two handy timbers in the frame (and I would carve the date, height, and price of each tree in the reused sticks) This also allows for bigger green-sustaining water buckets. Speaking of which, look for those siphon fed buckets - much tidier than crawling under low hanging branches with a ewer.
  • I have enjoyed plugging lights into a specifically wired outlet, one with a rheostat on it. This can tie the tree lights into the same plugs that handle the rope lights backlighting timbers. This makes for easy ambiance adjusting.
  • I cannot overstate the convenience of having an extra wide, even double, door into the great room. I had to protect my soft redwood door jambs with cardboard, during insertion. Taking a dried and stiffened tree out is even harder, and done without the festive attitude that accompanied the prior passage. I usually limb the tree out, prior to removal. I have, even, used a chain saw to do this; fun. I often killed two birds by having the tree leave the room as smoke and tinsel enhanced ashes.
Happy Holidays

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