How to Build the Timber-frame Shed Part 1 of 2
Timber-framing is a traditional style of building that uses a simple framework of heavy timber posts and beams connected with hand-carved joints.
Timber-framing is a traditional style of building that uses a simple framework of heavy timber posts and beams connected with hand-carved joints. From the outside, a timber-frame building looks like a standard stick-frame structure, but on the inside, the stout, rough-sawn framing members evoke the look and feel of an 18th-century workshop. This 8 x 10-ft. shed has the same basic design used in traditional timber-frame structures but with joints that are easy to make.
In addition to the framing, some notable features of this shed are its simplicity and proportions. It’s a nicely symmetrical building with full-height walls and an attractively steep-pitched roof, something you seldom find on manufactured kit sheds. The clean styling gives it a traditional, rustic look, but also makes the shed ideal for adding custom details. Install a skylight or windows to brighten the interior, or perhaps cut a crescent moon into the door in the style of old-fashioned backyard privies.
The materials for this project were carefully chosen to enhance the traditional styling. The 1 x 8 tongue-and-groove siding and all exterior trim boards are made from rough-sawn cedar, giving the shed a natural, rustic quality. The door is hand-built from rough cedar boards and includes exposed Z-bracing, a classic outbuilding detail. As shown here, the roof frame is made with standard 2 x 4s, but if you’re willing to pay a little more to improve the appearance, you can use rough-cut 2 x 4s or 4 x 4s for the roof framing.
Another option to consider is traditional spaced sheathing instead of plywood for the roof deck. Spaced sheathing consists of 1 x 4 boards nailed perpendicular to the roof frame, with a 1 1⁄2" gap between boards. The roof shingles are nailed directly to the sheathing without building paper in between, creating an attractive ceiling of exposed boards and shingles inside the shed.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 1
Prepare the foundation site with a 4"-deep layer of compacted and leveled gravel. Cut three 6 x 6 treated timber skids (120"). Place the skids following the FLOOR FRAMING PLAN. Lay a straight 2 x 4 across the skids and test with a level.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 2
Cut two 2 x 6 rim joists (120") and nine joists (93"). Assemble the floor frame with galvanized nails, as shown in the FLOOR FRAMING PLAN. Check the frame to make sure it is square by measuring the diagonals.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 3
Position the floor frame on top of the skids and measure the diagonals to make sure it’s square. Install joist clip angles at each joist along the two outer skids with galvanized nails. Toenail each joist to the center skid.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 4
Install the tongue-and-groove plywood floor sheathing, starting with a full sheet at one corner of the frame. The flooring should extend all the way to the outside edges of the floor frame.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 5
To prepare the wall posts, cut six 4 x 4 posts (90 1⁄2"), making sure both ends are square. On the four corner posts, mark for 31⁄2"-long x 11⁄2"-deep notches (to accept the girts) on the two adjacent inside faces of each post. Start the notches 461⁄4" from the bottom ends of the posts.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 6
Mark the door frame posts for notches to receive a girt at 461⁄4" and for the door header at 82"; see the FRONT FRAMING ELEVATION. Remove the waste from the notch areas with a circular saw and clean up with a broad wood chisel. Test-fit the notches to make sure the 4 x 4 girts will fit snugly.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 7
Position the post bases so the posts will be flush with the outsides of the shed floor. Install the bases with 16d galvanized common nails. The insides of the door posts should be 29" from the floor sides. Brace each post so it is perfectly plumb, and then fasten it to its base using the base manufacturer’s recommended fasteners.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 8
Cut two 4 x 6 beams at 10 ft. and two at 8 ft. Notch the ends of the beams for half-lap joints: Measure the width and depth of the beams and mark notches equal to the width x 1⁄2 the depth. Orient the notches as shown in the FRAMING ELEVATIONS. Cut the notches with a handsaw, then test-fit the joints, and make fine adjustments with a chisel.
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 9
Set an 8-ft. beam onto the front wall posts and tack it in place with a 16d nail at each end. Tack the other 8-ft. beam to the back posts. Then, position the 10 ft. beams on top of the short beam ends, forming the half-lap joints. Measure the diagonals of the front wall frame to make sure it’s square, and then anchor the beams with two 60d galvanized nails at each corner (drill pilot holes for the nails).
How to Build the Timber-frame Shed - Step 10
Reinforce the beam connections with a metal post-beam connector on the outside of each corner and on both sides of the door posts, using the recommended fasteners. Install an L-connector on the inside of the beam-to-beam joints; see the EAVE DETAIL.