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TIMBER FRAMERS RAISE BUILDING STANDARD

 RINDGE, N.H., June 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Timber Framers Guild of North America:
 The homes of tomorrow were designed centuries ago. Built with skeletons of large wood timbers and secured by wooden pegs, timber frame structures have stood the test of time -- some as many as 700 years in Europe and Japan.
 And today, a handful of homebuilders from across the continent completed a similar structure at Franklin Pierce College -- a massive, open-air pavilion atop a hill that overlooks the campus. It was built by 40 participants as part of a 10-day workshop preceding the Timber Framers Guild of North America's ninth annual international conference, which began today at the college and runs through Sunday.
 Titled "Improving Community Through Craft," the gathering features a dozen speakers from throughout the United States and Canada, as well as England and Japan. The conference addresses the technology, history, design and business of timber framing, as well as a hot, new topic -- environmentally sustainable residential design and construction.
 In fact, the pavilion incorporates elements that will be addressed in the sustainable building session. The 3,200-square-foot structure was built with posts, braces and rafters made of eastern hardwood and western softwood timbers, some of which were recycled. Recycled timbers -- obtained from old barns, warehouses, lumber drying sheds, etc. -- are often incorporated into new timber-frame buildings.
 Furthermore, its purlins, horizontal timbers supporting the rafters of the roof, were made from a revolutionary new type of engineered lumber called TimberStrand(TM) laminated strand lumber (LSL) -- an environmentally sensible, high-tech alternative to lumber harvested from old-growth forests. Donated by Trus Joist MacMillan, the world's only forest products company based on technology rather than ownership of timberlands, TimberStrand LSL is made from inexpensive, fast-growing, less environmentally pressured species, such as aspen and poplar.
 These new-generation building materials minimize the pavilion's impact on the environment. Its effects on the school, however, will be much more noticeable. Officials at Franklin Pierce College are excited about the addition to its campus, which Grace McNamara, a spokesperson for the school, said will be used as an outdoor classroom and study area. Gatherings and special events will be held there, as well. And in the winter, the structure has the potential to be flooded for use as an ice-skating rink.
 The techniques used to construct the pavilion differ greatly from contemporary residential building practices. Most new homes in North America are "stick built" (a.k.a. "stick frame") -- composed of small pieces of lumber such as 2x4s and 2x6s connected by nails and other metal fasteners. Timber frame construction, on the other hand, takes large pieces of wood, typically 8x8s or 8x10s -- and joins them with interlocking connections usually secured by wooden pegs.
 These old-world building technologies have distinct advantages. "Timber framing disproves the notion that newer means better," said Joel McCarty, the pavilion project manager.
 According to McCarty, director of the guild's board and CAD manager of Alstead, N.H.-based Benson Woodworking, timber framing allows for an open floor plan because interior walls are not needed for support. It provides flexibility in interior design space since exposed posts provide a natural "breakpoint" between decorating themes while defining areas of usage. And it allows for large expanses of glass since the posts, not the walls, support all roof and floor loads.
 McCarty also said some types of homes actually require these old- world construction techniques. Such classic architectural styles as English Tudor, Japanese folkhouse, New England cape and saltbox, and Craftsman-style homes were developed around timber framing.
 Moreover, timber framing builds a structurally superior home. "Houses are constantly moving," McCarty said. "Wood joints will hinge and flex. But motion causes metal fasteners like screws and nails to wear the wood out around them. They also tend to draw moisture to the metal through condensation which makes them rust through and become useless, and makes the wood rot." Other old-world techniques, such as knee bracing, also make timber frame homes more resistant to earthquakes and high winds than stick-built structures.
 And when timber frames are enclosed in rigid foam insulating panels, their energy efficiency is unmatched. The panels are made of dense, rigid foam insulation sandwiched between wood or other facings on the exterior and interior surfaces. They virtually eliminate air infiltration.
 Price, however, is an important consideration with timber framing. "Timber frame homes generally cost at least 25 percent more than stick- built homes," McCarty said. That's because they require higher quality framing materials which need a great deal of preparation. They also tend to require more design, engineering, transportation and crane costs.
 The Timber Framers Guild of North America was founded in 1985 in Keene, N.H., as an educational organization. Its more than 700 individual and 125 business members from throughout the United States, Canada, England and Japan meet annually to discuss new techniques in timber framing and build structures for worthwhile causes. For instance, in 1989, conference participants helped build two homes for Habitat for Humanity in York, Penn. And at last year's event, the guild built a 120-foot clear-span covered bridge for the City of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.
 NOTE: TimberStrand(TM) is a trademark of Trus Joist MacMillan, A Limited Partnership, Boise, Idaho.
 -0- 6/24/93
 /CONTACT: Tony Harrison of Oliver, Russell & Associates, 208-344-1734, or home, 208-327-0759, for the Timber Framers Guild of North America/


CO: Timber Framers Guild of North America ST: New Hampshire IN: CST SU:

SW-SB -- SE013 -- 5556 06/24/93 19:53 EDT
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Date:Jun 24, 1993
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