Heavy Timber

The bottom structure of the deck relies on two very large beams to handle the long spans and cantilevers. I had some leeway on this, but decided to go at the upper end of what would reasonably fit. Modern engineering practise is always cutting it close to the tolerances of the materials, but I am a big fan of over-engineering, and we could afford to buy big timber.

6x10 beams in the back of the truck

What I considered but obviously not enough was that 16-foot long 6x10 beams weigh a ton.

Noel picked the timbers up at Economy Lumber this morning, and he also bought a few rolls of Grace Vycor Deck Protector, which is an anti-corrosive membrane that you can use between the metal connectors and pressure-treated wood. I would have preferred to use redwood for the beams but the lumber guys just laughed when I asked about it in sizes that large.

Holy cow that beam is heavy

We got the first beam in and in place without too much drama. The second one was a lot damper, which means heavier, and I just could not hold it up long enough to move it anywhere. I can lift some pretty heavy weights for somebody my size, but that was beyond me. So I got the Radio Flyer wagon and we set my end on it. I still had to lift it into place on the posts, but at least that happened during this lifetime.

Beams in place

(This photo was taken hand-held in darkness. My low-light lens is awesome.)

We just set the beams in place for now. It's supposed to start raining tonight and rain pretty much solid for a week, so we're not going to be making much progress on the deck this week.

You can see how the membrane wraps around the beam where it is in contact with the metal. When we're ready to put the joists in place, we'll cover the entire top of each beam with the membrane, as well. We've also got bolts to hold the beams in place, but lumber this heavy is going nowhere, so we decided not to worry too much about it for now. I guess we'll be doing a lot of paint stripping and wall scrubbing this weekend.

posted by ayse on 03/23/12