Center Beam Replacement 19th Century Post and Beam House, Harrison NY

Below are some progress photos depicting substructure reinforcement and temporary bearing beams for our project replacing a center truss girder on an early 19th century post and beam house in Harrison: NY.

IMG_1674
Cracked main girder in post and beam ceiling in 18th or early early Nineteeth century farmhouse Harrison NY

The house has been heavily modified over the years and it appears that in a circa 1980s renovation a load bearing central truss was cut out leaving only a single undersized beam to bear floor wall and roof loads on an approximately 30′ x 17′.  The old hardwood beam cracked under the load and is being replaced by a new solid white oak beam with a pair of steel angles inserted from the top for reinforcement.

I will publish details of this as the work proceeds.

Temporary beams in place
Temporary load bearing beams support floor before removal of cracked center girder. It is my supposition that the rod seen in the first photo attached to a structural truss. Sloppy renovators in the 1980’s modified the roof line and  seem to have cut out the upper section of the truss and rod leaving this beam alone to carry much of the second floor of the house.

Photo group below shows shoring and reinforcement in the basement and crawl space areas in preparation for jacking the floor level above.

Harrison Truss Rod

All Photography by Benjamin Fiering. Reproduction by permission only.
A Third Floor Project #Thirdfloor

 

Structural preparations Harrison, NY

Doctor Structure is in (or shall we say under) the house. #housecalls #thirdfloor

Initial preparations in Harrison NY. Scope: Shore floor framing in new solid footings. Reinforce original wooden girders at basement and 1st level floor then shore second level. Remove cracked beam and replace with new locally sourced white oak timber with inserted steel reinforcement.

Lest there be any confusion, Doctor Structure does make house calls.

Business of the Week: Third Floor Corporation

This article was published this week it is copied in full to our blog.

By : Brendan Mitchell, 12-12-2016
Ben “Doctor Structure” Fiering, the master builder at Third Floor Corporation, knows better than most that good things take time.“We try to be mindful of the time, but…” says Ben, before trailing off. He chooses his next words carefully.

“The things we build are going to last forever.”

After five minutes of speaking with Ben, it’s clear that he’s passionate about the construction and restoration work his company does every day. He’s not shy about admitting that high quality work is their number one priority.

Ben started Third Floor Corporation in 1993, but he’s been in the industry since the early eighties, when he started working construction while studying social history at college. His passion for building things had been kindled even earlier than that by his father, Norman Fiering, a skilled carpentry hobbyist.

Remodeling by Third Floor Corporation
A recent project completed by Third Floor Corporation. Architecture by David Wallance.

Third Floor Corporation was started in Manhattan, and their first project was converting old warehouse space in to a three-unit live/work space for artists. Today, they are a full-service construction and general contracting company serving private residential clients in New York’s Hudson Valley.

“I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world,” Ben says of the Valley. In his spare time, Ben enjoys exploring the area’s abundance of nature, photography, playing guitar, and studying the history of art, craft, and architecture.

Ben
Ben “Doctor Structure” Fiering at work. 

From the way Ben talks about his line of work, it’s clear that Third Floor Corporation are not your average construction company. They specialize in structural repair, and the restoration of both classic and modern architecture.

“[We have] an intimate understanding of the challenges involved in the restoration of antique buildings,” Ben says, when describing what separates his company from others. He speaks with pride and admiration when talking about his staff, the trademark of a business owner that treats his employees with respect.

With over thirty years in the workforce, though, Ben is the first to admit he’s faced some challenges.

“Maintaining a stable workflow depending on changes in the economy is a challenge.”

While 2017 is sure to hold some challenges of its own, Ben does not seem fazed. Perhaps it’s because building things is more than a job, for Ben; it’s a passion he inherited from his father.

“I grew up doing this work… I’ve always enjoyed making things.”

If you’re interested in discussing a project with Ben from Third Floor Corporation you can reach him on (914) 263 6148 or at ben@thirdfloorllc.com. You can also follow Ben on Twitter as @Dr_Structure

Looking for something else? Submit a free request on EZBZ for what you need and where you need it, and we’ll get you quotes from providers in your area. Try it out today at myezbz.com.

https://www.myezbz.com/blog/home-renovation/business-of-the-week-third-floor-corporation/134/

Bibliography for the Apprentice Carpenter

Bibliography for the Apprentice Carpenter

The following is a list of books and publications that I have recommended to apprentices starting out with Third Floor over the years. Taken as a whole these give a good sense of the history of the craft most particularly in the European/American Tradition. In addition to these books I also recommend a study of the traditions of Japanese carpentry and architecture. Recently I have begun to encourage the study of the theory of high efficiency building construction known as Passivehaus

  1. Vitruvius (1st Century BCThe Ten Books of Architecture [link to the Gutenberg Project free online version]  TRANSLATED BY MORRIS HICKY MORGAN, PH.D., LL.D., HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, CAMBRIDGE  (1914)
  2. John Fitchen, Building Construction Before Mechanization, MIT (1989)
  3. Harry F. Ulrey and John E. Ball, The Carpenters and Builders Library 4 vols, Audel 1972 [This four volume set is the best and most thorough discussion of the technicalities of the carpenters craft ever put to print. The volumes are listed by subject below]
    • Vol 1. Tools, Steel Square, Joinery
    • Vol 2. Builders Math, Plans, Specifications
    • Vol 3. Layouts, Foundations, Framing
    • Vol 4. Millwork, Power Tools, Painting
  4. Fine Homebulding Magazine and the related publications of Taunton Press
  5. PHIUS Passive House Institute US access to Passive House Training
  6. Rachel Carley The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture, Henry Holt and Company (1994) [Among other things this book has an excellent short section detailing various types of Native American dwellings and structures. It is also useful for the development of the architectural vocabulary necessary to the professional carpenter. Through the book most of the architectural details or “elements” are labelled. ]