The 7th and 8th of this month were the first days I have been able to work on the house for the past several weeks.
The Holidays were upon us, my son came home from college, my daughter was off from school and my wife was off of work. The week of Christmas I got to feeling sick. It hit me with the sinus head funk, sore throat, a bit of a fever and aching bones. More so than my typical aching bones. I had not been sick in years. I missed a few family get-togethers but we still had a good Christmas.
The week of New Years I was still recovering and getting my strength back. During this time I got low on firewood. When I got to feeling better I set to cutting wood the first part of the year. Then as luck would have it a coworker of my brother gave us some firewood. Spent some time loading, unloading, cutting and splitting this to fit the wood stoves. The boys had to get creative on the ride out to the old place with a load of firewood, tools and gear. If you are wondering, that is a pigs ear in the mouth of the one in the passenger seat.
I had also been helping my dad with some much needed work around the farm. We worked on some new feed troughs for the cattle, fences, gates and the on going job of putting out hay and feeding the cows.
It was good to see the improvements to the farm. It also was good to feel ‘good’.
So what did I do to the house in those two days? There was an existing ‘pass through’ opening from the kitchen to the family room. I opened this up to the ceiling to bring in more light and match the doors that I previously opened on up to the ceiling. I also installed an old 9′ 2×8 rough sawn Walnut timber between the old and new kitchen walls. This timber really is not functioning as load bearing but matches the big oak timber along this same wall at the other end of the kitchen that is holding up the beams above.
A bit about the setup of the support for the second floor and wall above the recently expanded kitchen. There are two beams that are stacked along the wall starting at the ceiling above the kitchen. The bottom of the lower beam is 9′ up from the kitchen floor and are at the same height as the bottom of the floor joists. The second beam sits directly on top of the lower beam. They span 18′ down the center of the length of the kitchen supporting what used to be the exterior wall of the 70’s addition above. They are tied into the wall studs and second floor joists. One end is supported by an 8×8 oak timber and the other is supported by 6×6’s withing the framing of the walls. The old Walnut timber is going on the opposite end of the oak timber to look like another supporting timber.
Below are pictures of the oak timber and the stacked beams above it. This oak timber supports one corner of the 1970’s addition. None of the walls and floors for this addition are anchored to the old stone structure.
In the photos below you can see the other end of these stacked beams where they are tied into the wall framing. This is where the new ‘old’ timber is going in place.
The timber itself was from some rough sawn wood that has been sitting in the house for probably about 40 years. I was not sure if it was Walnut or Cherry that my dad had gotten in eastern Kentucky some 50 or so years ago. My brother was thinking it looked to be Walnut. This may very well be the case as I recall dad mentioning that there was a few pieces of Walnut in the stacks of wood in the house. It is a bit hard to tell as it has darkened so much with age.
I had to clean it up a bit and glue a chunk that had split off along the length of the timber towards the middle. It is all clamped up below and waiting to cure. I tend to do whatever works while gluing. Sometimes that means setting a heavy weight on top of whatever it is to put pressure on the joint if I run out of clamps. Something like, I don’t know, say a heavy tool box.
The photos below show where the old wall with the diagonal pine board meets the new wall. The area in between is where this timber was going. You can see the bottom edge of the lower beam resting on the lighter colored 2×6. The beams extend into the wall and all are tied together with Timber Lock screws.
Below is the Walnut timber after it is cleaned up, sanded and set in place. I sanded it down just enough to get the really rough stuff off. Left it to where the old saw mill cuts still show.
Now a bit about the opening that I extended up to the ceiling. This can be seen below before I took out the section of wall above the opening. The photo on the left is from inside the kitchen. The one on the right is from the other side of the wall looking back at the kitchen from the family room.
Shown below is the same opening extended up to the ceiling. It now matches the door opening beside it. I plan to wrap the corner support to look like an 8×8 timber.
In the meantime it has gotten cold here in central Kentucky. Currently overcast and 20 degrees here with a low tonight of about 15 degrees. I also managed to pick up a stomach virus of sorts. So, I am limited a bit in what I will be doing. Mostly keeping the fire going in the stove and making sure the furnace behaves. It can be a very cantankerous old furnace.