Timber Frame Houses Dimensions
Timber frame houses and homes dimensions and framing information.
¶ A great deal of judgment is necessary in the regulation of dimensions of timber according to the several offices they have to perform. No specific rules can be given, but a few tips may not be amiss to the builder who seeks soundness of construction combined with economy.
¶ All timbers whose principal office is to sustain a vertical pressure, such as joists, beams, rafters, etc., should have their greatest dimension in depth. Thus, we should prefer a joist 2½ by 12 inches to one 3 by 10 inches, although their sectional areas are equal; and a 2 by 14 inch joist is stronger than either in wood of ordinary tenacity and firmness, but requires bridging in shorter divisions.
¶ Corner-posts should be square: sills resting on walls may approximate nearly to that form, 9 and 10 by 12 being the preferable size; studding should be 2½ by 5, 6, or 8, in proportion to the magnitude of the structure in which they are employed. It was formerly the custom to use 3 by 4 studding for very good houses; but aside from the disadvantage of these dimensions in point of strength, the limited space thereby given for the thickness of sash and blinds is a serious objection; it is painful to see the windows of a house flush with the face of the weather-boarding, and it is equally painful to see them on a line with the plastering inside. Whatever thickness, then, can be given to the walls without creating expense, must be an obvious advantage, and we should even prefer, where economy was a ruling consideration, 2 by 6 inch studding to 3 by 4 inch, the cost of these being equal.
¶ With regard to bracing, it should ever be borne in mind that the greater the "run" of the brace or strut (i.e. the distance from the angle formed by the junction of the timbers braced) the more effectual will the brace perform its purpose. The only limit to this is set by the deflection or sagging of the timber employed for bracing, for which a remedy may be found in counter-bracing; but it seldom occurs that struts of so great a length are required.
¶ There is a system practiced in the West termed balloon framing, of which we may give a brief notice; it is a very rapid and convenient method of erecting temporary buildings, and some of its advocates hold that it is equal if not superior to the old method.
¶ In the first place, the studding is cut to extend the full height of two stories: the manner of supporting the second floor of joists, however, is the chief peculiarity. This will be understood by reference to picture 5, where A shows how the bearer, a piece of plank about 2 by 6 inches, is notched into the studding on the inner face; a notch of half an inch in depth gives the joist a hold on this bearer, which is firmly spiked to every stud; B shows the end of joists and face of bearer.
¶ Fig. 6 represents the old method: A shows a section of the beam or bearer into which the upper and lower studding are tenoned and pinned, and B the face of the same. We are not inclined to favor the balloon system for first-class wooden homes, but believe it may be resorted to with advantage in the temporary class of homes that spring up as the first growth of a new country. The present cheapness of spikes and nails and the facility of construction are much in its favor. Sometimes the bottom sill of such a structure is formed by spiking two joists on the studding, the outside one being sunk flush, as in picture 7.
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