Internal Timber Framing w/ Reciprocal Roof & Plinth Wall

 In Blog, Student Post

Timber Framing – Putting Together Posts, Beams, Braces and Rafters

We can now see all the hard work that we put into measuring, cutting and chiseling. We fitted together all of the pieces to make the inner timber framing with its magnificent reciprocal roof. And oh my, what a beauty she is! What we have now are heavy vertical supports with half-lapped beams with reciprocal rafters on top of them. Even though this type of roofing is self-supporting, we’re taking the extra steps to make them more secure by putting in bolts. This is the end result:


Reciprocal Roof and Timber Framing

Reciprocal Roof and Timber Framing

Imagine waking up in the morning and drinking your tea here (it’s going to be enclosed, don’t worry). Everywhere you look around there will be these large and freshly cut timbers, full of life and positive energy which these wonderful students put into them.
Spirituality and morning coffee aside, there are so many advantages of timber framing. Some of the benefits are:

• aesthetics and uniqueness
• possibilities between open plan designs or using it for insulation enclosure (this build has both)
• when you cut everything, it can be erected in just a few days
• no need for machines, you can do everything with hand tools
• you can both use recycled wood and you can recycle it
• if you do timber-framing properly, it is highly resistant to seismic activity (see civil + structural ENGINEER magazine)

Mid-stages of Reciprocal Roof Building

Mid-stages of Reciprocal Roof Building


Plinth Wall For Extra Security


We’re also building a stem wall (or plinth) which sits on top of the foundations. This wall can certainly be made out of concrete, but for economic and ecological reasons we’re building it with locally dug stones and binding them with quicklime mortar. Stone is strong and is also water resistant. Finally, the lime mortar, which gets firmer with time, fills in the gaps. The mortar is flexible, it works well with moisture and it absorbs and stores the CO2 from the environment.

Students Building the Plinth Wall

Students Building the Plinth Wall

The height of the stem wall will keep the cob and the straw bales clear of most splash from roof eaves and safe from flooding in case there’s any plumbing failures. (‘A straw bale building needs to have a good hat and a good pair of boots’)
Because we are working with lime and we don’t want it to dry too quickly, we make sure it stays moist by spraying water onto it onto the hessian fabric.

Stay tuned for next week’s post! In the meantime, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.


In the meantime, have a great weekend!

The Hartwyn Team [student]

Hartwyn Natural Building Course

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Many thanks, the Hartwyn team

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