Mountain Majesty

By Larry Andresen. Larry is the President of Andresen Construction, Inc., in Truckee, CA, an Excavation Contracting business, providing excavation and building services since 1979.


"The ‘Dreams’ project includes building a 3,000’ shop/garage and a 1,400' residence above."


My Introduction to the Wonder of Sawing
There are times in life when we actually get what we pay for and sometimes when making a particular investment, we get even more. In 1996, I purchased the Wood-Mizer LT40HDG24 and started designing and planning the ‘Dreams’ project. This story is about the dreams and accomplishments made possible with a Wood-Mizer sawmill along with details and experiences of these projects over the past 15 years.

Let me start by saying, I love sawing logs. The anticipation, the endless possibilities, the beauty and individual characteristics found after each cut continues to intrigue and amaze me. With each log alter making that first cut and removing the flitch, what is it going to be? Because each log is different, it's kind of like being on a treasure hunt. Until that first cut is made, you don't know what you're going to see.

As an excavation contractor in the Truckee/Tahoe area, our first step for a typical excavation job includes removing the trees. Most of the jobs are for custom homes built one at a time. Consequently, most jobs result in obtaining only one or two or a few good saw logs at a time. With only a few logs at a time and with the nearest mill being so far away, hauling to the mill is not feasible. With no mill at hand or close by, good saw logs would end up being turned into firewood.


"Logs that would have been turned into firewood could now be brought to their fullest potential..."

Why I bought My Wood-Mizer Sawmill
After years of seeing good saw logs being turned into firewood, the idea of acquiring a Wood-Mizer came to mind. Once the Wood-Mizer mill was acquired, not only did turning logs into lumber become a possibility, it became a regular occurrence. From then on logs that would have been turned into firewood could now be brought to their fullest potential and used in the most beneficial way. It was this discovery that literally changed my life by helping to inspire fantastic dreams and to enable them to come true. With this new found discovery, I began working on exciting projects, which have proved to be tremendous learning experiences, great tasks of accomplishments, in addition to providing very rewarding returns.

My Dream Project Begins
The first ‘Dreams’ project includes building a 3,000’ shop/garage with covered storage areas 12’ x 24' on each corner and a 1400' residence above. The shop/garage area is 72' long by 30' wide with 24' x 12' wings protruding from the middle of the building on each side. Inside the shop, incorporated within the roof, are three 24' long x 12' wide lofts for storing lumber. The design of the building was primarily to accommodate the sawing, processing and storing of lumber and space for special wood working projects. There are three 14' tall x 20' wide roll up doors on three sides of building with lots of glass for natural light. The idea is to provide room inside for three units of 20' lumber and machines for processing along the walls on each side.

 

Brand new sawmill
Larry with his brand new LT40 Super Hydraulic sawmill in 1995.
Larry with his brand new LT40 Super Hydraulic sawmill in 1995.
Pouring the Foundations
Forming the foundation walls 4' high and 10'' thick
Forming the foundation walls 4' high and 10'' thick
Finishing the Slab Floor
Logs on Site
With the foundation laid, and the first logs on site, the building was ready to begin.
With the foundation laid, and the first logs on site, the building was ready to begin.

 

Building the Log Walls
The walls were put together by sawing logs to create an 8" to 10" flat face on two sides then stacked with corners altematively crossed and notched to fit together. The first course was bolted to the foundation using elongated coupler nuts to the anchor bolls with all-threads extending up through the first course or bottom log. From this point, the logs were spiked into each other every two feet, and staggered from one side of the open face to the other using 3/4" pipe extending a minimum of 1/3" into the log below.

 

Second Course
The sawmill continues to cut logs for the second course of logs.
The sawmill continues to cut logs for the second course of logs.
Third Course
The log walls grow steadily.
The log walls grow steadily.
4th Course
The walls grow in height as the 4th course of logs is added, in spite of the winter weather.
The walls grow in height as the 4th course of logs is added, in spite of the winter weather.
The Garage begins to take shape

 

Special Construction Methods Used
When constructing the log walls and compression was the only load factor, using any locally available species was acceptable. Then we used a mix of Ponderosa, Jeffery Pine and various other types of Fir. For headers over the doorways and for the structural timber trusses, we used Hem Fir. For the roof and floor decking, we used Ponderosa and Jeffery Pine.

Where the walls are short in length, such as next to doorways, ‘hold downs’ were required. Hold downs consisted of continuous 1" all thread bolts extending from the foundation to the top of the walls up 20'. With all thread bolts coming in 10' lengths, logs were threaded over 10' of bolt at a time. The tricky part was starting the bolts through the holes while the log was suspended 10‘ up in the air.

 

Lots of Drilling!
Electrical conduit as well as through-bolts.
Electrical conduit as well as through-bolts.
Justin removes bark from the logs
We learned it is better to remove the bark BEFORE placing the logs!
We learned it is better to remove the bark BEFORE placing the logs!
14' High Walls
Logs are up to carport. Roof support beams and top of garage doors at 14'.
Logs are up to carport. Roof support beams and top of garage doors at 14'.
Placing Logs over the Doorways
The size of the project is highlighted in this photo.
The size of the project is highlighted in this photo.

 

Sawing & Building the Trusses
Once the walls were finished, we started working on the rafters and the trusses. Roof trusses were constructed on site using Wood-Mizer sawn timbers. The trusses are set on top of the twenty foot tall log walls with the living area created from using the open space within the trusses. With the living area being in the open space of the trusses, skylights not only work well for light, but are also perfect for taking in the mountain and skyline views.

We started by making pattems from 1”x that we used for marking and sawing the various repetitive truss members. Each truss was assembled on the floor one at a time. It took about a day to cut, nail, paint the gussels, move the truss into position and secure them on the walls. The main trusses span 30’ using 4' x 14" top and bottom cords and 4' x 8' for webbing. Trusses were engineered using ¼” steel plate gussets and bolts at the connections.

 

Trusses placed.
View from west entry.
View from west entry.
Garage view
20'x14' drive-through garage doors
20'x14' drive-through garage doors
Project takes shape!
View from rear shows cantilevered beams for deck support.
View from rear shows cantilevered beams for deck support.
Ridge Intersection
Ridge intersection framing at the center of building
Ridge intersection framing at the center of building

 

Roofing & Insulation for the Project
Since this was a ‘spare time’ project, I knew the trusses would be exposed to weather for a while before being covered with a roof. The plywood gussets were painted to protect from extended periods of weather exposure. This not only saved the gussets from weather deterioration, but also helped keep the nails from rusting.

For the roof decking, we sawed logs into 2' thick boards and stacked them to air dry. When reaching 12% + or —, I thought the decking was good to go... the boards continued to dry and after they were installed they ended up with gaps between boards up to '/4' wide. With the black Typar house wrap paper above the decking and with the rustic characteristics of the timber framed trusses and log walls, the gaps were really not a problem. They actually ended up looking just fine, and resulted in an air tight job as well.

Above the decking we placed 2' x 4" sleepers at 24' on center, installed flat and doubled to equal 4' of total depth. Between the sleepers, we put 4' of polyisocyanurate foam insulation, which has an R—value of about 7 per inch = 28 total plus the value of the wood. On top of the insulation, we put another layer of Typar and then ¾” plywood. This plywood was the ONLY lumber that had to be purchased for this project, as all other lumber was sawn from logs on the Wood-Mizer.

 

Preparing the Roof
Roof framing with sleepers over 2'' decking ready for 4'' rigid insulation.
Roof framing with sleepers over 2'' decking ready for 4'' rigid insulation.
Insulating the Roof
4'' rigid insulation placed between sleepers & recessed light fixtures at deck overhang.
4'' rigid insulation placed between sleepers & recessed light fixtures at deck overhang.
Vapor Barrior
Vapor barrior covers 4'' poly-foam insulation
Vapor barrior covers 4'' poly-foam insulation
Waterproofing!
Ice-and-water shield being installed
Ice-and-water shield being installed

 

26 Skylights!
The roof has 26 skylights, 4’ wide by 8' long and 8 more that are shaped to form the octagon configuration at the ridge intersection. They are made with unbreakable, non-fading, corrugated, polycarbonate with 1" x 2" wooden frames. We used 3/4" black pipe spanning 4' across the openings on 16" centers for support and with 140# snow load have been holding up just fine. The polycarbonate is clear, but with the corrugation pattem the views through them are slightly obscured. The plan is to eventually replace with clear glass, but for now and to cut costs I've opted to use the polycarbonate. The floor is constructed under ‘Heavy ‘Timber Construction’ guidelines using 3' T & G planking spanning 4' and will be finished with 1" T & G Pine.

 

Skylights add natural light and open up the view.
View of the skylights from the inside
View of the skylights from the inside
Skylights on the Roof
Building Custom Skylights
Building skylights with sun-tuf polycarbonite , reinforced with pipe cross bars.
Building skylights with sun-tuf polycarbonite , reinforced with pipe cross bars.
The Skylights fill the ridge intersection
Allowing a lot of natural light into the upper portion of the building.
Allowing a lot of natural light into the upper portion of the building.

 

The Tool that made it Possible
After 15 years, my 1995 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG24 is still running just fine and judging from experience with my Wood-Mizer, I expect it will easily last the rest of my life and probably for years beyond. I've never had a log that was too big to saw. With the bed extension, sawing logs over 30' becomes easy. This efficiently engineered and easy to operate sawmill has been a joy to own and operate. Going from working outside in cold snow and ice conditions to having a 3000' enclosed/heated shop is a ‘dream come true’.

 

Shop
Looking up at the trusses before the ceiling decking has been installed.
Looking up at the trusses before the ceiling decking has been installed.
Shop Photos
The ceiling decking is installed.
The ceiling decking is installed.
Living area begins coming together
Lumber to finish drying in upper room
Lumber to finish drying in upper room
The Outside is starting to look done!

 

Other Projects & Future Plans
All in all, the possibilities with a Wood-Mizer are truly endless and amazing. Not only has the Wood-Mizer enabled my dreams to come true, but it has also proven to provide a great return on the investment. Once these projects (the shop/residence, back cabin, which I call the “Tin Barn”) are all completed, I plan to continue making lumber and specialized woodworking projects well into my retirement years. My son Justin has been borrowing the Wood-Mizer to make lumber for his own building projects. When the time comes that I finally saw the last log of my life, I can easily imagine Justin enjoying the same rewards of sawing as I have for years to come.

 

Constructing Access Stairs
Handrail bent into 8''x24'' bottom-tread
Handrail bent into 8''x24'' bottom-tread
Stairs
Stairs from the top.
Stairs from the top.
North Wing
The north wing of the project.
The north wing of the project.
West View
The west view of the project.
The west view of the project.

 

In Closing
ln closing, I would like to say to anyone considering purchasing a Wood-Mizer sawmill, “Don't just think about it, do it!” I so encourage this because the sooner you own a Wood-Mizer sawmill, the more time you'll have to reap the rewards of your own ‘Dreams’ coming true. Wood-Mizer personnel have been a pleasure to work with and provide excellent and reliable support, service and parts.

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