IPE armstrong fair (Booth is up)

Jig (Knife plate)

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Making jig is almost becoming hobby. It is not wood working.

Good reference book for the jig by ILBA call “Big Boys Jig book” This is series of the jigs developed by member of International Log Builders Association and organized by John Boys. Super helpful book for jig lover. You need to become member to have this, please contact http://www.logassociation.org/index.php

Here what I am sharing today is the knife plate jig modified from log building one. Adapted clamping system also sliding mechanism. Only tools I have seen available to do this job is from Muffel and it cost almost $8,000. My hand made one is about $400 all together.

Parson may able to cut slot by hand very accurate if the cut require only width of chainsaw blade but if it require slightly thicker, it is not possible to do by free hand. Our jig makes our hidden knife plate cut very reliable.

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Challenge is what makes people different

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Made visit to job site to survey the height where the post sits and lay out the angled deck.

Site is even hard to walk and stand, this challenged foundation is done by young builder James Boak. I can see the road he is going to take now and he will become extreme good builder one day that only can be achieved by going through the challenge after the challenge.

Now it is my turn to make the frame, with my best and meet with his young passion to build the best!


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Non cracked timber (Kirf cut)

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Timber will check because of drying ratio is different from across the growth of rings (radial)  or along the growth of ring (tangential). If timber contains the heart of tree, it call boxed hear, if not it call Free Of Heart Center (FOHC). Depends on this grain ratio but boxed heat timber will check guaranteed and we try to use FOHC as much as we can.

Because of the budget is limited, we often use air dry timber, moisture content below 19%. These are mostly locate the interior BC, many of trees killed by fire, dead stand for while so it is dry. But these logs are not big, depends on log source, we have to use boxed heart timber.

Boxed heart timber, usually will check toward nearest face of the timber from the center.  99% this will be side of the beam. When timber check, it will check along the wood grain. All the tree has twist, it is just matter of how much. Timber grade system allow more than what we expect even in structural grade, so we have our own grade to apply for the frame. However, when timber check, check follow the grain, timber will twist as much as grain is twisted. This is the reason why you see some of the beam twisted.

To prevent this, we apply kirf cut. This is the cut from the face of timber being covered, it need to cut all the way to heart of the timber. More the timber is green, all the check will focus on this one cut and will not show any other check on side. But air dried timber, often check is already proceeded, so some of the check can not be eliminated but it will not twist.

Here is one picture that shows our inventory. This timber had been dried for 6 month now, starting moisture was 20% now it is 13%. Dimension has been reduced but you can see how much this cut has been opened up. If we plane to square and use this timber as structural member now, it will be stable.

Timber will check and that is in engineering consideration already so this kirf cut should not sacrifice the strength of the beam. Actually, it will increase the strength as the beam because the side check will be in nutral axis which is the strength of the beam what relying on.

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Is the guys too small or material too big?

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We are hand cutting gluelam project. Nothing complicated, very simple but communication process with engineer for this project was tripple or even more compare to our regular complex work. Why? I am not sure but I may made engineer upset by my email. Hi every one, watch your mouth, do not say what you want to say, especially to engineer.  No, he is good guy, I am sure he did piss off to start with but after, he was reasonable.

Why you want to use this big gluelam to start with though? Heavy load to support but it has a lot to do with luck of using timber in a past or some relative had bad experience. If we specified timber grade carefully thes member could be timber. Perhaps, we could do something interest to turn timber into bridge truss?

May be this was best option….

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Light framed truss

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Truss made out of light material, definitely require the calculation and confident. Engineer Ron Wedman, steel fabricator ADAM Integrate, frame of course build by Daizen!

Post 6×6, Rafter 4×8, Tie beam 3×6  21 feet span

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Renovation (timber window)

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I got call from Raymond in March. We met at the Abbotsford show in 2008. Project site was in Princeton, it was a bid too far to drive down to discuss opportunity but I had good feeling at initial contact and I decide to take chance to visit.

He had ranch, recently purchased. Beautiful property, looking down the hay field. Over look the river if we clime up the hill. He was happy for the property they got but not sure what can be done to make the living space into more their style. They needed to see the wood in, that is why he called me up. After explore the choice he had, we decide to replace the wall that gives them a view of the property, with timber and glass.


I was exploring the way to place the glass right into timber. Instead of putting window frame. So this was perfect opportunity to explore and journey began.

The challenge on this project was to fit frame in without damaging the existing finish. At the first visit, I did careful survey but only enough for me to place the concept of the design, I had to drove down one more time for actual measurement. We aimed to fit right in to existing so I did not allow even 1/8″ for the clearance, but because we had one short wall in between which is jogged, this became the adjustment cushion to do. It was also fortunate that who ever build this original stick frame, it build good and solid.

Frame itself took only a few days because we use 80 feet wide giant machine to cut frame but it took us much more time to deal with detail that to have glass fit in.

Material need to be very stable and grain orientation better to have vertical grain facing to visual side since timber frame become the window frame.

when we arrive the site, Raymond already managed to had walls out with telescope supported the truss. I knew he could handle this work but I become aware of Raymond talent again after seeing this. He is business owner not the carpenter, 63 years old, his shape is better than me. While I was on site setting up, we had lunch and suppere together, went to hot tub every night and I questioned him a lot and it was very valuable ideas he shared with me. Great time.


Frame put up and in place include all beams in 1.5 days. Up till this is done, I was very nourvous about my measurement but it did fit and no extra finishing work would required, he can just sand the wall surface and paint with new magic color that Susan has been trying to decide. The rest of half day to place the glass into frame, thanks for all the crew worked on this, it did fit great, squareness of the frame did not even required extra 1/8 gap we place in a slot.


Next day, we spend morning to fit all the trim and head back home. We stop at Arrison lake for fishing on a way back, we saw dozen of fish shoring and both of us got fish to bite the fly but we did not able to manage to bring to the shore, it was big!


My review on this project is that we still have room to explore the way to install the glass. We have cut the slot to place the glass from out side and covered with trim but this seems so much of time to deal in our shop. If we develop the tools or let giant machine to deal with slot a bid more, it may be good way but placing trim inside and out is definitely efficient way, perhaps better looking from inside as well. View from inside seems a bid too clean.

Glass was tripple glazed double low e glass with smart spacer. Total width is 1″. Smart spacer height is 7/16, we allow 1/8 gap filled with gascket so total slot depth was 5/8.

1/16 closed cell double side adhesived form between glass to timber and trim for inside and out side and we left Raymond to cover this 1/16 gap to calk.

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Small fun timber frame (window added)

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This frame is made out of three same unit so it can move later. Due to moving, I made it to 12×12 in size. To maximize the floor space, we made bunk bed and good storage space at the 6 feet and 7 feet high. Also making window with nook to utilize space. Window was purchased from Wayne Morstad at Colbe window 250-215-3292. I asked if he has any left over window and they did have one cancellation of the windows that I could use 90% of what they had. Very helpful and knowledgeable parson, I will recommend any one to contact him for any windows also folding windows.

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Small fun timber frame

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This is my new try out timber frame, I am hoping to complete by my daughters birthday.

The concept of this unit is that it will be part of our new home when we are ready. So 3 12×12 separate unit is connected with through bolt only. All joinery is made so we can lift the unit.

Ceiling beam was new system, it seems very strong.




Floor and ceiling with 3″ styro form.



To utilize the floor space, I made ceiling height to 10′, making bunk bed at 6′, connection whole way for kids to craw in at 7′ height with 1″ plywood.

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Timber window!

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Glass into the timber. This is one of the detail I wanted to finalized for while.  Now we have made sample. Yes, we made mistake. Now we know what to watch for it.

We got one real project to put entire wall with glass into timber. Our next move is to integrate the opening mechanism in.

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