Lavish timbers, bountiful walls.Byline: Don Robinson Don Robinson can refer to different people:
Eugene builder Dave Veldhuizen stands at an interesting intersection on the map of the construction industry.
He builds mainly conventional houses today. But his primary interest is "a very old style of building, well over 1,000 years old." It's called timber framing timber framing
Construction of frame or post-and-beam structures using large, heavy, wood members, specifically lumber 5 in. (13 cm) or more in the least dimension. The term implies stylistic features of a heavy nature. , one of several alternative construction technologies that intrigues this builder.
His heart "lies in the sculpture?world. In a perfect world, I would be a sculptor."
Veldhuizen doesn't say this with any sense of disappointment. On the contrary, he explains, "I am really lucky because I essentially am a sculptor. I get to work with definitions of space in three dimensions. It's not a sculpture sitting in a gallery, but in some ways I believe we have a more positive impact when we're creating spaces that people can live in."
This 47-year-old Colorado native, an English literature English literature, literature written in English since c.1450 by the inhabitants of the British Isles; it was during the 15th cent. that the English language acquired much of its modern form. graduate of Whitworth University Whitworth University is a private Christian liberal arts college located in Spokane, Washington that offers bachelor's and master's degrees in a variety of academic disciplines. It is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). in Spokane, started building houses in Eugene about a dozen years ago. He formed his own company, Six Degrees Construction, in October 2001, and has four employees.
Veldhuizen learned timber framing on the East Coast. He is one of only 47 members in Oregon of the Timber Framers Guild of North America North America, third largest continent (1990 est. pop. 365,000,000), c.9,400,000 sq mi (24,346,000 sq km), the northern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere. in Oregon.
Timber framing refers to a system of post-and-beam construction commonly associated with, say, a ski lodge. "The structure is entirely in the posts and beams," Veldhuizen says, "so you've got expanses between the posts that are non-structural, which opens it up to having the ability to enclose those walls with a variety of different systems."
Straw bales are one possibility. "Since none of the structure is sitting on the straw bales, you can fill the walls with (them) and it works beautifully."
Other materials can be used for the same purpose. Two of particular relevance to the Northwest are a mix of straw and clay and a mix of wood chips and clay.
Because of dry climate and abundant sunshine, homeowners in the Intermountain in·ter·moun·tain
Located between mountains or mountain systems, especially lying between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada or Cascade Range in the western United States. states have taken a keen interest in houses with pure straw bales in the wall cavities, says Veldhuizen. That interest laps over into Central and Eastern Oregon Eastern Oregon is a geographical term that is generally taken to mean the area of the state of Oregon east of the Cascade Range, save the region around The Dalles and sometimes Klamath County. The area around Bend is considered to be Central Oregon rather than Eastern Oregon. , too.
Only about a dozen straw-bale structures exist in the Eugene area, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. the city of Eugene's building department.
But Veldhuizen says he finds the mixtures of straw or wood chips with clay "really intriguing," particularly for the enclosures, or walls, of a timber-frame home.
"I am not an expert" on the subject, Veldhuizen acknowledges. "I'm a student." But he thinks the possibilities are great and he'd "love to" do some projects involving these technologies.
One obvious advantage of straw and wood chips as building components is that they are available locally. He says the clay-based mixture would be made right on site. "It comes out almost like an adobe wall. It's stuccoed on the outside and plastered inside, as thick as you want, probably a minimum of 6 inches, but usually 8 to 12."
He notes that while the clay-mixture walls have the advantage of being much thinner than straw-bale walls, they provide good insulation and are strongly fire resistant.
One disadvantage of either straw-bale or clay-mix construction is that "they are all pretty labor intensive Labor Intensive
A process or industry that requires large amounts of human effort to produce goods.
A good example is the hospitality industry (hotels, restaurants, etc), they are considered to be very people-oriented.
See also: Capital Intensive, Trading Dollars ," which raises costs. People who use earthen earth·en
1. Made of earth or clay: an earthen fortification; an earthen pot.
2. Earthly; worldly. materials in walls try to offset the cost by rounding up help from friends and relatives. It can turn into kind of a modern version of a barn?raising.
Can you get a mortgage for a house using one of these alternative technologies? Veldhuizen's advice to anyone?who wants to try unconventional construction is to "bring in a mortgage person right away ... have a person?really early on."
Veldhuizen's booth at the Good Earth home show tomorrow through Sunday at the fairgrounds n. pl. 1. same as fairground. in Eugene will feature timber-frame construction by his company and others.
Don Robinson, retired editorial page editor of?The Register-Guard, is a freelance writer who lives in Eugene. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.