[ENG] Construction 102: Mezzanine wooden frame (1) - beams and joists

27/07/18 | ۩ |

There are many different techniques to build a wooden frame, but since this is my very first experience and the room is actually a warehouse, I opt for a double frame (beams-joists-planks) without many trappings. In the upper floors I'll surely have the chance to try more refined and richer structures.

In broad terms, this is the result of my investigations: over wide rooms, as in my case, the main beams were placed parallel to the shorter side of the room at a distance of about three meters each other. Over the beams were layed the joists (every 30-50 centimeters) and finally the planks, about two meters long and which ends joined together over the joists. Those could be nailed to the beams or placed with a simple joint.
The room that I need to cover with this structure is practically a square, so I'll lay the beams parallel to the facade just for my convenience. Actually I couldn't do it another way, as the back wall is open and it could not support anything.

While finishing the construction of the walls and the column I often take measurements and assembling tests with the beams.
Since I started this project, one of the things that stimulated more my imagination was precisely the laying of beams, joists and planks, based on my photographic documentation but mainly on the reading of the Manuale del recupero di Genova antica ("Manual for the restoration of Genoa old town"). The picture to the right comes from that book.

The main beams have been waiting for a while now, but I can make the first real test only after the cut and laying of the stone corbels over which they will rest.
The lack of a second column or pillar on the back side of the perimeter force me to insert a very long beam that lay over a pair of double corbels.

Anyway, this trick will allow me to keep the warehouse open and visible from the outside, although it will probably get me some trouble building the vaults...

The following pictures, taken at different stages of the work, clearly illustrate the above-mentioned tests.

The last picture shows the assembling test for the strings of the wooden staircase. I'll talk about it in the next post (you can't have everything at once!)

Now, once the laying of all the corbels is finished and the perimeter walls raised over the doorways, I can cut and temporary place all the joists. I'll glue them in the end giving the final shape to the floor structure.

The resulting grid will remain movable until the further raising of the walls will embed the ends of the beams, preventing their movement even without any glue.

The joists grid breaks only to leave enough place to the stairwell and to the movement of goods through the trapdoor.

The head of the column will crop up just in the middle of the floor, bearing the shorter beams and serving as a base for the column of the mezzanine, actually supporting the floor of the piano nobile. Really not a small thing!

In the meantime the front wall of the warehouse continues to rise, embedding the joists that lay over the main doors.
I'm going to give soon the finishing touches to the inside, because the closing of the warehouse is approaching...

unknown wood (beams), wooden strips for naval modeling (joists), slate, vinyl glue, contact glue
pincers, files, sandpaper, hacksaw, ruler, cutter, tweezers, bubble level
SIZE (in cm):
beams section: 0,7 x 0,7;
joists section: 0,3 x 0,3;
distance between joists: 1,1 (except for those around the column: 1,6)
height of beams from the floor: 7,5;
stairwell: 4,5 x 2,4;
trapdoor perimeter: 7,5 x 4.


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