Big milestone

Written by karen on June 3rd, 2011

We have spent the better part of a week working on this, and the vertical vigas and glulam are now in place. (A glulam, for the uninitiated, is a long structural timber made of several layers of wood that are laminated together – the crossbeam in this photo. Vigas are wood beams made of a single piece of wood-the round vertical beams in this photo.)

The hardest part of all of this was that the vigas and the glulam are all extremely heavy. After we moved the vigas, Brad drilled holes in the bottom of each one and epoxied in a long bolt.

A metal plate that was part of the mounting kit went on the bottom.

We then drilled holes in the slab into which the other end of the bolt would be epoxied.

It was difficult to get the viga lined up with the hole, and we wanted to do a “trial run” first (sans epoxy) to make sure the placement was right. Once you epoxy them in, that’s where they’ll be forever.

The next step was moving the glulam up to the roof. It was heavier than the vigas, so we used the truck to move it and got a lot of exercise hoisting it up.

Then we cut out notches where the glulam would sit in the viga. We used a chainsaw for this, another new experience. I thought I’d really like chainsawing, but as it turned out, we both hated it.

The final work was done with a chisel and grinder. The grinder was really useful for this.

On one end, we built a little stack of 2x6s for the end of the glulam to sit on while we seated the other end. (Note the rope. It was very windy the whole time we were doing this, making it all the more difficult. You wouldn’t think a gust of wind could blow over a piece of wood that weighs several hundred pounds, but it can and did.)

After trying to seat the glulam in place, it didn’t quite fit. Not only does the notch have to be the right size, but how square it is (how parallel all the parts are down the line) makes a big difference. So we went through this a few times…trying it, grinding, and trying it again.

Eventually, the clerestory windows will sit above the glulam, and the room in front of it will have a high ceiling with vigas in the ceiling. Building the pony wall for those windows is the next task.


1 Comments so far ↓

  1. Nora Watson says:

    WOW — you guys have been extremely busy! It’s amazing to see what you have been able to do! Your place is beautiful.

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