My crew and I just finished building a Cape-style addition to a faithfully restored 1776 house. The antique home couldn’t be properly heated, so the addition will serve as wintertime living space. Since the owners wanted the new stick-built structure to reflect the old building’s post-and-beam construction, the architect added exposed 6x10 posts and collar ties to the plans for the great room. I ordered #1 Douglas fir beams from the local lumberyard, then cleaned up the planer marks with a hand planer and belt sander (1). We applied Watco Danish oil and let it soak in; the oil penetrates and hardens in the wood, rather than on the surface, and provides a good sealer.
We balloon-framed the two-story walls with 18-foot-long 2x6s on 16-inch centers. Every 4 feet, we created snug-fitting post pockets (2), which we lined with 2-inch-thick EPS foam board to reduce thermal conductivity (3). We notched the posts top and bottom to fit around the plates, then stood them in the pockets (4). Pressed against the foam,...
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