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new shop (Read 1,797 times)
 
Andrew Sobota
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new shop
Feb 17th, 2013 at 11:44am
 
Long time no be here.  The palsy (right side of mouth still out after 13 mos), life, and well....vases and flower seed stuff have kept me at bay.  But, alas, It has also given me the time to think about how much I need to get Alice out of the house and into her own space, where my fanning and hammer mills can join her.  I think I have settled on an 18' x 24' footprint, full timber frame, with free spanning 18' white oak 8"x10"s.  I hate posts.  I'm gathering as much info as I can before I embark 100%.

So, figuring how incredible this place is, I joined the Timber Frame Guild forum to ask about what sort of footing/slab/whatever the timber frame pros recommend. 

And....

I figure the forum is in deep trouble.  No activity.  I think its a dead art....or at least one would come to the same conclusion after being there.  I did get 4 replies to my query (2 specifically), but here, I'd have had 15 in less time, with more than 5 views.  It's like the forum has 16 members and half are on vacation.  I feel bad for the timber geeks in a way.  Feel proud to have the members and the support you do.  It isn't like that over there.

So...I put it to you fellow woodshop owners, spinners of wood, makers of foundations.

What shall I do for a foundation.  Current options being:
1)  Full footing to get below the frost line, followed with a 5" floor, rebar everywhere (and PEX just in case).  I'd leave a 6" stub wall for wall support after the frame it up.  I'd anchor the posts using some sort of black magic or witchery.  I have two bids at $6800 and $7600 (Ouch and double ouch).
2)  Maybe 8 post footings, and then I'd cut a full timber frame sill for wall support.  But, that's probably still cheaper than a 4' frost wall.  Of course it'll take an extra 60' of 8"x8" WO, but that has to be nearly as good, and a lot less $.  I'd probably go with a wooden floor then, with a slab under Alice.  My bowl gouges would thank me profusely on a regular basis.
3)  The TFG people (2 of them) told me without hesitation to go with a monolithic slab.  Of course locally, if you ask for that, they think you are nuts.  Apparently, the Monolithic slab is Code in Scandinavian countries, so it has to be a viable option.  I think sometimes, we do what we do because the person before us did it that way. 

So fine people....what do you think?  Its MN here, and it does get cold, which means we do have frost, and likewise, I may not always heat the place depending.  I do have a wood stove for it (a medium sized Morso that used to heat my house), which will do just fine as long as I feel like feeding it. 

Any and all suggestions welcome.  Oh...and anyone have a chain mortiser that they want to sell?  I don't mind doing it by hand, but holy crap its a lot of work.  This will be frame mark II, so I have a decent idea of the work ahead of me.  I'd like to completely cut the frame by June on nights and weekend.  I think it has like 48 sets of mortises and tenons and then add to that the birdsmouthed rafters, which are easy in comparison.  It's the same frame as before, but super-sized in all dimensions. 

Thanks a bunch in advance.

Andrew James
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Bert Delisle
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Re: new shop
Reply #1 - Feb 17th, 2013 at 10:26pm
 
Check local building codes. One option I was able to use on a 24'  by 24' shop, it was called Slab on Grade. No frost wall, just heavy perimeter footing with a thicker slab, intention is it will float on frost/thaw cycles (northern Alberta). No problems.
If I were to do it again I would put PEX tubes in the concrete and get a solar water heater from Latitudes 51 for low cost heat.
Stub wall is a waste of time and energy it is not required, use treated base plate on wall framing and put bitumen felt between baseplate and concrete.  Of course this is just MHO.
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« Last Edit: Feb 17th, 2013 at 10:27pm by Bert Delisle »  
 
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Andrew Sobota
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Have chainsaw, Will travel!

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1 hr south of Rochester, MN, Minnesota, USA
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Re: new shop
Reply #2 - Feb 18th, 2013 at 1:15am
 
Bert:

I think you have described what I referred to as a monolithic slab.  Tapers from maybe 5" slab to 12-16" at the edge over about a length of about two feet...on LOTS of gravel to keep moisture at an absolute minimum.  It does seem how I'll go, but I have two specific questions.

1)  It seems to me, that I'd like at least a 1" x 9" raised area at the edge of the slab for my plate to sit on.  Seems it would just be nice for spillage etc.  I'd suspect a good concrete guy could feather up said "rim".  To that I could anchor a plate.

2)  How will said slab work if I don't always keep it heated? 

Of course in an ideal world, it'd be 15% humidity and 60 degrees in the shop year round...here, it'll be 95% humidity in the summer and 85-95 degrees, and 20% humidity in the winter and maybe 15 below.  Of course, I'd never run my equipment that cold, I'd get a fire going overnight first.  And the PEX seems to be a no-brainer...I just wish I had the sun to heat it nicely.  I'm kinda tucked in with northern exposure  at the base of a small tree covered hill...unless I move said building out to the prairie, which may be an option depending.  Then I'd cook in the summer, but have enough sun in the winter to heat up a solar panel or two. 

Thanks.
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Re: new shop
Reply #3 - Feb 18th, 2013 at 12:43pm
 
(2)  the slab would be fine without being heated.  you would only heat the slab when you were working in the shop.  this would give you a nice even heat source that would be cheap to use.
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Re: new shop
Reply #4 - Feb 18th, 2013 at 12:52pm
 
you will not regret it if you put some sort of radiant heat, water or electric, in the slab. Economical and good even heat.
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Re: new shop
Reply #5 - Feb 19th, 2013 at 12:21am
 
You might want to check with your insurance guy about the wood heat in the shop before you put it in.  Mine bout came out of his pants!  He is a good friend and got me an overhead gas unit.  For some reason the insurance industry is in love with these units for utility heating.  They also really don't like wood heat.  Go figure.
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Andrew Sobota
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Have chainsaw, Will travel!

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1 hr south of Rochester, MN, Minnesota, USA
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Re: new shop
Reply #6 - Feb 19th, 2013 at 6:42pm
 
Hmmm....things to think about.  Just got off the phone with another concrete company who likes slabs for such thing. 
Their bid was half as for a full footing and 4' wall to frostline, and they're a very reputable local company....

I don't plan to ask for forgiveness, I plan to ask for permission with regard to heat.  I needn't make that costly mistake.  Of interest, my insurance company has never seen my house. Not once.  They know I own it.  I know they excavate their money from my acct once a month.  They know I don't have a railing on my deck stairs.  The deck itself is railed.  The deck off the kitchen opened up into the ER 14 ft down for two years.  They know I heat with a wood stove in the house.  I think they gave me a discount for having Hardipanel exterior as it won't burn.  Interesting. 

Next up...Find Jesse and the gang who helped with the house.  I'm gonna guess they'll do me better on the slab and it'll be just as perfect as the house was.  They do plenty of concrete work, and I think they need the work. 

Next up...any thoughts on the need for 8x8 white oak posts, or would 7x7s do just as well...same the the 18' span...would a 7x9 or 7x10 deflect more appreciably than an 8x10?

Questions, questions, questions....I need to place the log order before the road bans go into effect in Mid March.

Thanks
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Re: new shop
Reply #7 - Feb 20th, 2013 at 1:02am
 
For the spans, look int GluLam.  It is a laminated beam that is stronger and less expensive than solid beams of the same size.
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Bert Delisle
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Re: new shop
Reply #8 - Feb 20th, 2013 at 1:45pm
 
you are correct Andrew slab on grade is just local term for monolithic slab. 
As for performance without heat, I had no issues in Alberta, summer +35 to winter - 40 C. 
I used a natural gas heater in this shop. it worked but i didn't like the wind blown dust.
in my next shop I put an IR CalCana gas heater up, much nicer as there is no fan to stir up the dust. IR heats the objects not the air so tools really benefit. i just turn the heater on in the morning while I have breakfast and when get out in the shop everything is warm. when i plan a finishing activity i just leave the IR on a little longer. The slab absorbs heat and keeps the whole shop warm (not freezing) for days. much safer than wood and faster heat. IMHO  Smiley
For roof supports we use manufactured Engineered Trusses, much easier to use for long spans. Simple and effective.
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Jenny Trice
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Re: new shop
Reply #9 - Feb 21st, 2013 at 5:33pm
 
Hi Andy!

Glad to see you are still scheming the timber frame shop.  As for the slab, my experience with a couple of slabs up north is that the prep under the slab is nearly as important as the slab itself in terms of how much is may move.  Make sure you get a good excavator and they are experienced with slab prep.  I have one slab that stays rock solid and has no cracks and another that moves so much I have a summer door and a winter door (allowing for slab movement). 

As for the beam dimensions, the stiffness is proportional to the width of the beam and also to the height cubed!  So the height is the more important dimension.  There is data for the modulus of different woods, versus the microlam beams.  I'm pretty sure you are hoping to use solid wood beams since it is going to be timber frame construction.

For heating and cooling, just remember that slab is a huge thermal mass and it will take quite a bit of time to change the temp.  That means a much higher heating or cooling load until you get the temperature where you want it, then the mass is on your side to keep it there.  My cabin is kept at around 50 F and when I try to heat it up to 65 or so, the heat runs and runs for about 48 hours, then it doesn't run very often after that.  The moral of that story is that if you have the pex tubes and a way to keep it at some minimal temperature, the incremental change won't be that bad.  If it were me, I would DEFINATELY put the tubes in when you lay the slab.  Keeping things at some minimal temperature also helps to control condensation. 

Have you considered a geothermal heat pump?  You have room for that and it doesn't require the sun like the thermal panels.  Just money Smiley

Can't wait to hear about it coming together.
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« Last Edit: Feb 21st, 2013 at 5:35pm by Jenny Trice »  
 
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