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Episode 41 – Framing a building

In this episode I am going to show how we built the frame of a building.  The main purpose of this is to show how wood is “stacked” so the position of the wood uses the strength of the wood while the nails are mostly nothing more than pins keeping the wood from moving.

This pictures shows several things.   First it shows the construction of a wall.   The wall is constructed laying down so nails can be driven into the vertical boards (studs) through the bottom and top boards.  The studs are spaced 16″ on center because when the sheeting is installed it comes in 48″ X 96″ sheets and 16 X 3 = 48.   Note the extra stud at each end of the wall… this is there to provide a place to nail the end stud of the front and bac walls to nail into.

You will notice on the two standing walls there is two kinds of bracing installed.  First, there is the diagonal bracing to keep the walls from folding.  Second, there is bracing to keep the wall from falling down.  This was done by driving a stake into the ground.

This picture also shows several things.  First, you can now see how the corners are nailed together into those double studs discussed in the previous picture. Double studs are also used near the doorway, but one stud is shorter to provide support for the header board.  The header board is a wide board.  It has to be that way to provide strength due to brute thickness to prevent bending of the board.  Again, to support the header we are “stacking” wood so forces are transferred down the strong axis of the 2X4 and nails are simply just being used to pin it together.

Also notice at the top of the building, we are preparing to build the top floor.  This is being done by building a box   The important boards of that box are the ones on top of the side walls.  These are positioned along the outer edge of the top plate and nailed to the top plate.  When the horizontal floor beams (joists) are installed in place the end of these will be resting on the top plate also.  Again forces are transmitted through the wood and the nails are simply pinning the wood in place.

In this picture we installed the first piece of siding to the walls.  Throughout the whole process we had been checking measurements and squareness of walls on the foundation, etc.  This was the time when the final squaring, plumb , etc. was checked.  Any previous measurement errors would have stacked up at this point and would have made it impossible to be both square and plumb.   Fortunately there were none, we were off something like a 1/4″ on the diagonal measurements from corner to corner.

This type of siding is serving two functions.  First it protects the outside of the building from the elements, but the second purpose it acts as sheeting and will serve the purpose of the diagonal braces by actually becoming like 1000’s of diagonal braces.

In this picture we have installed most of the siding on the three walls to get the additional structural strength and the floor joists have been installed on the 2nd floor.   The two end walls of the 2nd floor have been built and are both diagonal braced and braced to prevent falling over.  At this point in the process the end walls were very weak because they are being designed to support the ridge boards which are not yet in place.   This also required a lot of thought because the 2X4 studs are only supporting an edge of the rafter. In some cases we notched the studs to support the boards.

Short sections of the same type of board that would become the ridge boards was installed as a spacer to allow us to space the rafters and support boards.  However not much was nailed together at this point in time because the ridge boards were not installed.   This was one area where there was almost too much to plan for and we had to think on our feet.

The last picture of this episode shows the top part once we installed the ridge boards and many of the rafters.  The top floor sheeting has been installed and one section of the roof deck has been installed to provide some rigidity.  At this point there still is not much bracing to keep the top section from folding from front to back direction.   We quickly added sheeting to one of the high sloped roofs to provide additional strength.




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