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Raising the Eagle House Timber Frame: The Sill Beams

Well, this week, it finally arrived. We started putting the sill beams for our new workshop building here at Hawk Circle Wilderness Education, up onto the concrete pier foundation. We've had a brutally cold winter here, then all kinds of programs, as well as many different projects going on, so it's delayed our raising more than we wanted. We've had to wait for the snow to melt, then the ground to thaw out, then for the excavator to come to backfill all the piers, then for the ground and our road to dry out to get our beams up to the site.

We got the beams sorted and began putting them up. We had to check that they were aligned correctly, square, and level. We had a really hot and humid day when we started, and ended a little early because a huge thunderstorm blasted us with a downpour, but after the rain, the sun came out again, almost taunting us to come back up to the site and get raising again!

Our second day, it was cold. Apparently, a cold front moved into the area behind the thunderstorms, which happens, and we also had a series of cold drizzle showers that got us wet and the wind really gave us some wind chill, too. That didn't stop us from putting up the beams, but it did stop me from filming or taking a lot of pictures 'in process', if you know what I mean, because I didn't want to get my camera wet!

The good news is, we got the main frame sill beams completely pegged and up, and we even got started putting in the floor joists into their pockets, too. This project has been in the works for the last two years, and so the wood on some beams is nice and dry and nowhere nearly as heavy as green wood. It's giving all of the frame a mix of silver-gray, weathered wood, and the newer yellow colored wood that wasn't exposed to the elements as much as the others.

I didn't mind that some of these beams got exposed to the weather because all of them will be covered with flooring and insulation and fully enclosed. So, it's not going to be all that cosmetic except for the next few months as we work to get the rest of the frame raised and then enclosed.

The weather didn't stop us from getting a ton of the little details finished to raise the front porch frame, and next week we will be raising the posts and tie beams on the main frame! That is going to be really epic!

What's really fun is to see all the staff and school group students come by the site and start to really 'get' how big this building is, and how amazing it all looks! They are getting excited, and well, I admit, I am too!

Sometimes, raising the sill beams looks like it's easy, but while it's not as dramatic as raising the main posts and tie beams, the rafters and all that, it's really important to get it right, so the rest of the frame will be right too. It's kind of tedious, but there is a rhythmn to the process, and we just go beam by beam, and take our time, and roll with any needed adjustments as they come along....

More pics to come, and I can't wait to see the huge pile of beams in our barnyard go up to the site and then up to their permanent home. That will definitely be a great feeling!

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