Insights from Rick Collins, the project’s lead instructor and founder of Trillium Dell Timberworks, based in Illinois.
The community frame for the people of Vicksburg will be an important landmark for years to come. It’s an expression of Chris Newman’s vision. (Chris is their local timber framer.) Michigan, like much of the rest of the U.S., is a melting pot of cultures, ideas, and people, and so will this frame be. Built entirely of local materials, it’s got a variety of wood from a whole host of folks around the country and in the community itself.
Woods used in this frame: cherry, black locust, white oak, red oak, white ash, white pine, and yellow poplar. All of this material was sawn, locally, just weeks before. Today we are in full swing laying out and cutting the timber frame. We’ll be building the first of 11 trusses in our assembly area on cribbing.
Multiple species in a single frame can be a challenge, but this too is an expression of the local woodland. Tom Nehil and Ben Trojniak did the engineering for this project, and engineered the wood as well to place species in specific locations throughout the structure.
Using a variety of species is an excellent way to sustainably harvest timber that is not grown in a monoculture. It also promotes healthy forests and ecosystems by providing a variety of habitats, and it guards against the multitude of diseases that monoculture crops are subject to. Certainly this vision is the future of timber framing.
Then we’ll bring all of these pieces together for fit up in an assembly area separate from the cutting stations. Cutting 29,000 bd.ft. in a few short days is a challenge; this method will allow us to accomplish it quickly and accurately.