Beam me up

Drilling the first beam

Drilling the first beam

 

The moment of truth.

 

Standing on a plywood platform held up by an excavator drilling a hole through our first Douglas fir beam. The high-torque drill precariously balanced between sucking the auger into the timber, snapping the shaft and jamming it forever or breaking my wrist and flinging me onto the rocks below.

 

A month of planning, selecting and preparing epic foot thick beams from our finest timbers, fabricating 15 kg flitch plates of 3/8” plate steel to join beams over posts, sculpting post tops, laying-out and chiselling beam-post contact points, levelling, plumbing, bracing and double and triple checking.

 

And it all came down to this moment.

 

Executing a perfect intersection of a 3/4” hole bored 24 inches down though the beam and into the post to take a 5/8” threaded rod and a huge 1-1/2” hole bored horizontally to take a machined steel backer.

 

Tolerances of millimetres, potential hang-ups legion, vessels bulging in my head innumerable.

 

The whole house build hinging on a jig I banged together out of scrap lumber with bushings fabricated by a retired Gabriolan machinist down the road. If it works we are on, if it’s buggered, there’s no Plan B except to live in a tent.

 

Smooth as silk the threaded rod sank into the hole and spiralled downward into the backer deep within the wood. The largest DIY Ikea connector on Gabriola in action.

 

We have achieved beamdon!

 

Bracing the posts

Bracing the posts

 

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I chiselled a chamfer on the post tops to create a 7″ dia contact surface

 

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My clever Japanese plumb-bob device

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Looking good

 

Levelling the first beam to layout the contact points

Levelling the first beam to layout the contact points

 

Jacking up the beam to level it on the saw bucks

Jacking up the beam to level it on the saw bucks

 

Nice toque, eh

Nice toque, eh

 

The Beam Machine for holding my chainsaw as a chop saw

The Beam Machine for holding my chainsaw as a chop saw

 

Chiselling a post contact surface

Chiselling a post contact surface

 

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The power of a sharp chisel

The power of a sharp chisel

 

John in action

John in action

 

Beam  connection and 3/8" steel flitch plate

Beam connection and 3/8″ steel flitch plate

 

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Oh baby

Rob's DIY excavator scaffold. Don't tell WCB.

Rob’s DIY excavator scaffold. Don’t tell WCB.

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Drilling 2 feet down using my drilling jig

The1-1/2 inch horizontal auger and my drilling jig

The1-1/2 inch horizontal auger and my drilling jig

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Threading the rod into the backer

Threading the rod into the backer

Victory! We have beamage!

Victory! We have beamage!

 

6 thoughts on “Beam me up

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