We've been working on a large timber frame gambrel barn, cut entirely in white oak timbers. Design by Uncarved Block and engineering by Fire Tower. We'll keep adding pictures, and it will be going up soon.
We're very excited that Uncarved Block was awarded the timber framing contract for the new Mountain Top Arboretrum Education Center in the Catskills of NY. Architecture is by Jack Sobon, and shows his characteristic funky curvy framing. The whole frame will be scribed. All 23 species present in the Arboretum will be used in this timber frame.
We were hired to just install the European tilt turn windows and curtain wall on this project. We mentioned this curtain wall system back in 2015 here The tilt/turn windows were installed in board-formed concrete walls, and they were HEAVY.
I designed this little cruck timber frame many years ago, as an exercise for the Heartwood School apprentices in scribing. I literally pulled the cherry and pine logs out of the firewood pile. Heartwood and UB raised the frame at several fairs and trade shows, and we always stood out from the crowd.
Lots of outdoor work lately. We've completed the deck and porch framing and finish. We framed the deck with galvanized steel joists, which are strong, fast (they're pre-cut), straight, and won't warp like large section PT lumber. The decking will be thermally modified ash from western Mass. The porch and deck roof is painted tongue and groove 2x6 over native cherry rafters. The hips over the deck are irregular (meaning that they are not 45 degrees in plan view), so the jack cuts are different on each side.
An update on our current project. Exterior trim is complete, including the 70 foot long porch fascia (perfectly straight!). I'll post some pictures soon of the cherry porch and deck rafters.
We had a preliminary blower door test at the house, before the insulation (dense-pack cellulose) was complete. The blower door is a very direct measure of how air tight the house is. We had a great preliminary number of 465 cfm or 0.58 ACH50 (air changes per hour at 50 pascals pressure difference). That's pretty impressive with 48 windows in the house, and beats the incredibly stringent Passive House standard of 0.6ACH50.
I also put some pictures in of the elliptical ceiling in the upstairs hall. We made ribs of 12' MDF, and sheathed it in 1/4 plywood. We very slowly bent 1/2" sheetrock to the radius (they don't make 1/4" that long). The ellipse comes in tangent to the wall surface, so it blends in perfectly.
Lots of activity on the job. Framing is complete. The interior air barrier (Intello) and service cavity are complete. The entire house is off of the electric grid, so we're running all of our tools off of PV. Dense-pack cellulose in the 12" double stud walls and 18" cathedral ceilings is complete. And windows and doors are in. While the sheetrock is being done, we'll be outside starting the south porch and west deck.
Chopping the tenon reduction by hand.
Here's a little geometrically-designed timber framed gazebo that I designed.
I was very fortunate to study medieval geometric design and proportioning with Laurie Smith in the US and England. Here we’re drawing the underlying geometric design of Ely Cathedral (which I visited in 2011). All layout is done with only a straightedge and a compass.
Uncarved Block has been a member for about a year of NESEA's (Northeast Sustainable Energy Association) Bottom Lines group--a business peer-review network. Bottom Lines consists of 30 businesses (mostly builders) that are involved in building energy efficient homes. Those 30 are divided into 3 smaller groups that are distributed across the Northeast.
Brad was recently invited to organize and moderate a discussion at our annual summit on the use of technology in construction businesses. The panel consisted of Mel Baiser of Baiser Construction Management and Ben Kelley of Building Shelter, both incredibly knowledgeable in the subject. The presentation and discussions were great. Pictured above is Mark Boudreau and Marlin May.
The blower door test for the House in the Woods came to 0.49 ACH50 (that's air changes per hour at 50 pascals)--better than the Passive House, the most stringent standard in the world.
Here's the second new video featuring Brad Morse of Uncarved Block. Brad cuts a traditional pegged mortise and tenon joint, using more common carpentry tools. At Uncarved Block, we use a number of very specialized timber framing tools that aren't shown in this video to make the process even more efficient and accurate.
We've been working for the last year getting this project ready, and we're finally out framing. It is an architect-designed shingle-style home right in town. We helped specify many timber frame and high performance details. There's also a LOT of beautiful red oak logs being milled into timbers, flooring, and trim. We'll be posting more photos as we build this great project.
We had a video crew out a few weeks, and here is the first video in a series of three that features Uncarved Block. We visit three of our previous projects, The House in the Woods, the Art Studio, and the Architect's Additions. We've even got the crew in the shop planing and oiling red oak timbers for our next project.
We designed an built a small English-style timber frame porch for a house that we built several years ago. The porch is all white oak, black locust, and copper, which will all naturally rot resistant and will be left to weather. More pictures coming as we wrap things up.