more chisel work

rafter pocket

And geometry.

I started in cutting the rafter pockets/seats in the frame’s plates (the long upper timbers that connect the three posts on each long wall, and upon which sit the rafters). Most of these are 3″ wide, the ones at each end are reduced a bit, to 2″ to leave some wood at the end of the plate. Those outside rafters will be notched to fit the smaller pocket.

First, the simple bit, sawing down the 45-degree bits. This is the outside corner of the plate, where the rafter will sail past, overhanging the side of the building.

easy part first

Then you knock that bit out with the mallet & 2″ chisel. Easy if there’s no knots.

mallet work

Then pare that surface either flat or slightly hollow. Making sure the straightedge will connect the top & bottom limit of this flat.


The next bit is the one that takes some time & finesse. I didn’t shoot it all – I was busy enough trying to cut it right. I got plenty of practice – there’s 9 pairs of rafters I think.

It’s a notch cut right behind the first angled bit, one plane parallel to the first, the other 90-degrees to each. And an inch &  3/4″ deep at its mid-point. Which moves around if your angles get sloppy. Here I’m paring the end grain of this section.

peak inside

Here’s one plate with its rafter pockets underway. I’m almost done with them now. I have one real devil, with a big knot, to go. And one of the end ones, which are reduced in width.

Pret laid out & cut the outer rafters today, 4×6 timbers, the others will be 3x6s. Here’s his first rafter sitting on the drawing of the plate’s cross-section.

we’re getting there, but there’s still a long list of stuff between us & raising. But each day it gets closer.

5 thoughts on “more chisel work

  1. The step lap rafter seat is my favorite, but can be tough in knotty wood, especially larch. Are you going to use square pegs to hold them down?

  2. Noce work indeed, I’ve been following your work since I’M planning a small timber frame shop starting this spring. I was wondering if you would share the design plans so we could get an idea of where you are going?

    Thank you!

  3. I have really been enjoying the updates on your timber frame workshop project. Just out of curiosity, what ppi saw have you found most effective for doing the joinery work?

  4. Looking great Peter.

    The old version of Lowells book is much better….the new wide soft cover addition is unwieldy and hard to sort of hold and read….you wind up flipping have the floppy book up to keep going.

    Yes that English framing book is awesome. btw out of interest I started a ” historical timber framing ” group on the book of faces ….I dont do much framing but lot of members do….Ive learned a lot in the past few year and made some great friends. Some of the members post pictures of places they have visited…details of frames that are great.

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