Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dutch House Logs

Our carpenters tackled the challenging replacement of a hand hewn joist in the Dutch House cellar last week. The original log joist was severly deteriorated - primarily due to old insect damage. the joist was supposed to be supporting the first floor along the west side of the building but really wasn't doing much of anything. The tenon of the joust was gone and the end of the timber was just floating.

The whole joist was not damaged - so we only need to replace about 12 feet of it. The section of the old log that had to be removed was cut into pieces with a chain saw. Here's a pic of the old log laying out on the curb...I think you'll see why we had to replace it!

The replacement timber is a hand-hewn oak timber that was salvaged from another historic structure. It was cut to rough size before carrying it into the cellar, and final cuts were made once the old timber was removed.

It sounds relatively straightforward, but the joist was located directly above the buildings main electrical panel, security panel and sprinkler system and all their associated wires. Oh yeah...and the gas lines and meter too. Earlier this year we had an electrician move the panel and loosen the wires so the carpenters had some room to work with - though not very much! Here's what it looked like installed:

The new joist needed a tenon on one end, and a lap joint on the other where it would be joined with the remaining section of the original joist. Here's pic of the completed lap joint (the new joint is coming in from the left side of the photo):

A new 6" x 6" post was placed directly beneath the lap joint for support. We also added a second 6" x 6" in to support another of the original joists nearby:

Once the joist was installed, shims needed to be used to fill the gaps between the uneven surface of the hewn log and the floor boards above. Here's a pic showing both shims and the tenon-end:

In addition to the replacement of this joist, the bulkhead for the cellar doors was reinforced with steel:

And that pretty much wraps up the structural work at the Dutch House, as well as the projects there in this phase of our work. When we finish the Amstel projects we'll see where we stand with funding and see if we can tackle some additional projects there.

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