M&T Shop Building: Raising the Frame Day Three


Today began with finishing the bird's mouths for the rafters to seat into. Because the original roof system was damaged in a fire, Luke salvaged materials from other Vermont frames that weren’t going to be restored. Because the replacement ridge mortise layout was different than the original, the plates needed to be cut to match the ridge. While Mike and I cut the bird’s mouths, the rest of the team made preparations for the plates’ raising including installing a temporary deck on the second floor joists.

Once the rafter joinery was complete, Matt lifted the first plate up to the posts and we began guiding it down into place while holding the six braces in position. Due to some unexpected wracking of the frame, the plate wouldn’t quite seat onto the last post. Some careful help from diagonal come alongs brought everything into alignment. With a few wraps on the plate, it seated securely onto the tenons.

The second plate was a tad trickier because of some severe twist that developed over its lifetime. Luke shimmed and compensated for this in the shop restoration but during assembly it needed further help to seat properly. More come alongs and sledge blows (onto sacrificial scrap wood) and the second plate was successfully installed.

The rest of the afternoon was spent final shaping and installing the pegs in the rest of the frame that hadn’t yet been pegged. John installed the largest pegs (the original 1-3/8” size) into the plate but the rest of us used 1-1/4”, 1”, and 3/4" for other parts. Eden even got to drive a few of the lower pegs.

Tomorrow we’ll finish the last few pegs and then turn to the ridge and rafters. The incredible five-sided pine ridge and cedar round rafters were salvaged from barns not far from the original frame and are near identical matches. In fact, one of the original rafters was salvageable and is being put back into the frame. We expect to complete the frame tomorrow and begin sheathing the roof. The sheathing process will likely extend into Friday morning.

- Joshua