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Dan's Workshop: Timber Joints

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 21:25
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It’s been awhile since I did an update on Dan’s workshop, but it always seems to rain on weekends, so progress has been slow. Last time I told you about our piers versus footer debate and what Dan decided to do.  His next step was to begin fashioning the joints to hold the posts, beams, and girders in place.

Joinery is basically joining two pieces of wood together, and there are any ways to do this. Modern “joints” often use metal fasteners, traditional ones use cuts in the wood and wooden pegs. Techniques vary as well, from traditional to quick and easy, and anything in between. Here are a scattering of photos I took while Dan worked on them.

Mortise and Tenon

Tenons first for mortise and tenon joints

This tenon is at the top of a post.

The end of the tenon was measured and drawn on the underside of the beam.

Making the mortise.

For the first one he used the tools he had. It was extremely slow going, so we decided to invest in some proper timber chisels. He made the maul (mallet).

The process was much quicker and more efficient after that.

Corner chisel


The kneebraces are completely non-traditional. Dan saw them on Youtube, utilized by someone in Europe who renovates old homes. They are simpler and quicker, which counts for a lot when time is at a premium.

Lap Joints

Made with the circular saw and chisel method.

I believe this one is a half-lap scarf joint. Scarf joints
connect lengths of lumber (in this case girders) lengthwise.

The last thing was to make the pegs to secure the joints.

Of course there has been an interested observer.

“Big Duck”

The next step is to start to put it all together. Upcoming weather forecasts are for hot, dry, and sunny, so that should mean good progress. I hope to have more to show you soon!


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