Cutting Timber

An Eccentric Anomaly: Ed Davies's Blog

Having faffed around a bit on Monday in not such good weather I made some useful progress cutting posts and beams to length for the remaining four days of the week.

Something that's helped is that the weather has improved markedly. Tuesday was perfect - warm with bright sunshine and a light breeze - but it got a bit wetter and more thundery as the week went on but still better than it has been for a while.

Friday was nice on site for most of the day but with haar over the lower ground towards the coast. Very picturesque until the breeze got up mid afternoon and blew the fog up the hill making everything chilly and dank. Not the sort of thing a phone camera is good at capturing but here's before and after:

I can carry the 3.6 metre long 145×145 mm post timbers around on my own reasonably happily so long as I think ahead as to the route and how I'm going to put them down, etc. The similar length 145×245 mm purlins are a different matter. They're awkward even just to slide out of the stack and would be impossible for me to carry so, inspired by the wing dollies used to move glider wings around, I've got a little hand cart which supports one end and allows me to carry the other fairly easily:

Maybe I'll make up a little box on the cart to support the logs nearer the middle making the carried end a bit lighter and the whole operation more manoeuvrable or maybe I'll just get on with it all.

I've been cutting the timbers by going round the four faces with my circular saw which cuts to a depth of about 55 mm then finishing off the 35 or so mm bit in the middle with a handsaw. With care to make the circular-saw cuts co-planar that works pretty well (see the top of the offcut shown below) though it's a bit time consuming.

Something that's been bothering me has been how to cut the slots in the bottom of the posts to go on the post-base brackets. I think the best bet will be to use similar tactics: cut twice across the base with the circular saw, again up each face for 200 mm then chop out the remaining timber with a handsaw and chisel. I tried it out on an offcut of purlin which, considering it was the rough-sawn end and a bit wet worked reasonably well:

It'll need little bevels on the lips of the slot to allow for the welds on the bracket. Also, I think I'll deliberately cut the slots a few mm over length to reduce the risk of any expansion or contraction of the wood or compression caused by the bolts from causing splits to propagate upwards along the grain.

I started on another attempt on the “clean” cut end of the that bit of wood on Friday afternoon but my last battery ran out. It's now hissing down on Saturday morning but I'm fairly confident of being able to do these slots now. Just need to figure out how to drill the various holes accurately enough.