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The first part of the planning process after
drawing up the basic outlay on graph paper for
us was to build a shop model using match
sticks.  In this picture we have completed the
second floor and the front porch using graph
paper to downsize the original dimensions.
wanted to make sure the building looked
proportionately appealing.  
The next step was to order the material
e needed to start the building. We
managed to save some money by
shopping around and asking for
contractor prices since we were ordering
in quantities.
We wanted to make sure we were  
dealing with  reputable dealers since
many discount outlet's  carry sub-grade
material. Quality lumber is essential for a
quality project.  
In order to save on expenses the
10 inch thick foundation
serve as the perimeters for the
shop were made with  
rocks we picked from nearby
.  Following the recent
trends, we chose to use treated
lumber to build the shop as there
are many advantages to treated
wood's longevity  and

The basic frame for the initial
shop wall is being assembled
We used shoulder tenon notches on all of the
load bearing beams including the timber that
receives second floor joists.  To achieve a
viable shoulder tenon joint allow at least one
inch of shoulder in
the vertical beams.  
Typically, a 6"X6" treated timber from a
lumberyard w
ill end up shrinking to a 5-1/2" x
5-1/2 inch timber.  The tongue should protrude
inside the tenon deep enough to be pegged by
a 5/8" dowel without compromising the tongue.
The dowel should be a high
quality wood made of either
maple or other hardwood that
can resist shearing pressure.  
Oak for example has a
10,000 pound shearing
pressure per inch; maple dowel
posses similar qualities to
oak.  We soaked our
dowels in a water sealant both
to protect the dowel as well as
lubricating it for an easier
drive into the
You can either cut the
dowels flush with the timber
or create and extension to
utilize it as hanging rod.
Also, you can either
drill and
drive the dowel all the way
through the timber or
. Be sure to drill the
hole one inch less than the
total width of the timber and
mark the dowel with a pencil
so it
protrude deep enough to
support the tenon.     
One difficulty in cutting freshly
treated wood is that the moisture
content will cause the saw blade to
jamb; so make your cuts patiently and
allow for shrinkage.  Quality tools will
always endure the stress any project
may pose.  I prefer using steel saw
blades instead of carbide b
mainly because steel blades are
thinner and can make as good a clean
cut as carbides do and they do not
stress your equipment. A $40 carbide
blade c
an buy you about four steel
saw blades.
Cutting the mortise can be a
tedious job depending on how
deep you have to gauge out the
cavity.  The tools I am using I
purchased almost thirty years
ago to build our house with;
they are old
Craftsman tools
that I purchased from Sears.  
The steel is the fines quality I
have yet to come across  
Here, the two floor joists are fitted
into the middle beam prior
inserting the dowels.  Using treated
pine t
imber your best bid is to
make the tightest fit possible  
because the end result may be
totally different from what you
ed due to shrinkage and
difficulty of making precise cuts.
However, you can minimize
problems by purchasing all your
lumber from the same stock.  
It was necessary for us to raise
the top plate 30-40 degrees
above ground in order to erect
the walls in position.  Using a
come along and some creative
ideas, we managed to raise this
wall with little effort without
any major incidents to regret in
less than 12 hours.  If you are
lucky enough to gather the
neighbors and friends to assist
you a whole shop can be raise
in a few days if all the notching
are done in advance.
The front wall is erected and secured with
2X4's that are dug into the ground to
prevent slipping.  We had a major snow
storm in our area, but the work had to go
on since hot weather was just around the
corner and we didn't want to do this heavy
work in the summer months .  Securing
thefirst  wall is not a major task but very
necessary to ensure the second wall will
connect to it at a right angel when the
horizontal tiers are put up. The knee braces
will help keep the structure in place so it
won't sway sideways which can
compromise the overall structure as it is
being assembled.
Page 2
The instructions below  should
help you understand the process
of building a timber frame
Before using a square to square
your structure be sure to
throughly examine your timber
for warp and twists.  Make sure
the crown of the warp is always
up whether it suppports its own
weight or not.  The best way to
square a warped timber is by
chalk line. snap a line that
covers the bottom curve or the
crown; then either measure it
square or use a large square.