The Traveling Timber Frame

A Smooth Operation

Carpenter Toby Swanson gives the collar tie a quick final sanding before assembly.

Pulling Together

Working on the bed of the company's flatbed truck, Toby Swanson and Chris Krouse assemble the gable end rafter pair and collar tie. The truck makes a handy flat surface for assembling bents on a rough jobsite, notes company owner Richard Krouse.

Pinning a Joint

Richard Krouse pounds home a peg at the rafter peak joint.

Lifting a Bent

The team lifts the completed gable end rafter and collar tie assembly off the truck using the crane.

Last Licks

With the rafter assembly suspended from the crane, Toby applies a quick coat of linseed oil to the timbers. Applying the oil at the last minute keeps the timbers from being soiled or marked by fingerprints during transport and assembly, says Richard Krouse.

Easing it In

The crew gently lowers the rafter assembly into place on the wall frame.

Stable Gable

Chris and Toby screw temporary bracing onto the gable ends before starting to set purlins.

Flying the Sticks

The crew starts lifting purlins for completing the roof frame. For efficiency, they lift two purlins at a time. The company has placed as many as five purlins with one hoist, says Richard Krause.

Setting Purlins

Toby and Chris lower the pair of purlins onto the rafter frame.

A Little Persuasion

Toby pries a purlin end into position using a crowbar.

Top Dead Center

Toby guides the ridge beam tenon into its pocket at the peak of the gable end bent.

Closing In

With the frame complete, the crew starts to screw rough-sawn barn-board siding onto the walls.

Room With a View

Chris Krouse and mom Toni Krouse decorate the booth as fair-goers start to arrive on the first morning of the fair.

Like This, Only Bigger

R. A. Krouse's scale model on display at the fair, sitting on a table made of sawhorses and a scrap of structural insulated panel.

In the Hall

A view of the timber frame in the open main hall at the Common Ground fairgrounds, which measures 60 by 80 feet. R. A. Krouse built this frame in 1999.

A Stiff Structure

Another view of the roof details in the main hall at the MOFGA Common Ground fairgrounds. Tie beams and knee braces connect the king posts in the main roof trusses, providing added stiffness and stability to the 60-foot roof span.

Reversing the Process

After the show, Toby pounds a purlin back out of its mortise as the crew starts taking down the frame.

Laying it Down

Chris and Toby guide the rafter assembly into position as the crane gently lowers the timbers onto the truck bed.

Pulling it Apart

After driving out the pegs, Chris and Toby pull the rafters and collar tie apart.

Knocking Out a Peg

Chris drives a peg out of a timber using a steel drift pin.

Some Disassembly Required

After lowering a wall bent to the ground, Chris and Toby pull the bent apart as the crane supports the weight of the plate.

Back on the Truck

With the crane doing the heavy lifting, Chris and Toby re-stack the timbers onto the truck for transport back to the shop.

Loading Up

Chris ties the company's scale model display back onto the truck for the trip home.

Strapping Down

Readying for the drive home, Richard cinches down the load straps and secures the excess.

Heading Out

Chris waves goodbye as he pulls out of the fairgrounds with his load of timbers.

See You Next Year

The crew hauls its disassembled timber frame out of the fairgrounds after a successful show.

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