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October 27, 2017 6:36 pm

Pavilion Project to Draw 150 Timber Framers From Across North America

Thursday, March 9, 2017 @ 5:49 AM

Railway and Forestry Museum CEO Ranjit Gill and Timber Framers Guild  rep Randy Churchill – photo 250News

Prince George BC  -The clock is ticking towards  phase one of the  pavilion project at the Railway and Forestry Museum in Prince George.While the  aim of the project is to  provide accessibility  for all,  and  protection for the exhibits from  the elements,  the  project  also offers a significant  educational component.

Project lead  is Randy Churchill of the Timber Framers Guild.  He says  this type of construction faded in the early 1900s,but  a  resurgence  was sparked  in the 1970s when some  timber framing enthusiasts  looked at some old barns in the eastern U.S.   Now,  timber framers get  together on community projects  such as the Railway Pavilion project to learn from each other, and share their knowledge of the craft.

“It’s popular again because people like the craft,  the activity and the spirit in the product,” says Churchill   “There’s a lot of spirit, character,  craft  that  you don’t see in other products.

Timber framing  and log house  building   are “sister crafts”  says Churchill who is the lead on the  pavilion project “It’s like Chevy and Ford.  they’re roughly similar, have a lot individuality, but also  have some overlap. They both have enthusiasts,  they both have  characteristics that are unique.”

The Timber Framer Guild’s mission  is education,  and   the partnership with the  Railway and Forestry Museum  to build the  pavilion  presents  an  educational opportunity.  Churchill has been meeting with  reps from both CNC and the University of Northern B.C.  to  develop programs that would  see timber frame construction augment  existing  trades training  or design and innovation.  “We want to educate the public,  we want to  educate architects  and engineers about these kind of buildings.  We want to help  educate our members and provide them  with new training  and craft   and what’s the latest in  technology.  What we do is not all 200 year old  technology,  we are not all purists about it.  Some of us realize that new structures,  new buildings, especially here in B.C.   have  to deal with  snow load,  earthquakes and have to pass the building code.”

The Wood Innovation and Design  Centre  at UNBC,  will be using this project   to learn how to design  a  structure,   fabricate  joints,   and  cut   many of those components  that will be  used in the project.   He says  the discussions with CNC are  aimed at exposing  apprentice carpenters to  timber framing  as a  trade option. “The other thing the college  gets into  with its programming is providing continuing education and professional education,  so somebody who is already a carpenter or general contractor   needs on going  education, and  they  (CNC) could provide  a course  to expose those folks to heavy timber construction.”

It is a lucrative trade says  Churchill who has been doing timber framing for  a quarter of a century now  and says  he has a year long  wait  of clients who want  heavy timber framed  projects.

Phase one of the project will get underway  May 22nd  and will see  timber framers from  all  across North America coming to Prince George to  get the pieces  ready over a two week period.  Then there will be a break, and the  Timber Framers will return  in July  to put all the pieces together  on the pavilion that , when finished, will be  45 ft wide, and 266 feet long.  Long  and wide enough to  house  8 rail cars.

It’s all volunteer  work. “The experienced folks that come into a project like this,   provide  a firehose of knowledge to the newbies and  the folks who come in are just inundated with information” says Churchill “They go away really jazzed  saying ‘wow, this is cool I would like to do this for a while’.”

The public is  invited to  help  in either of the two phases,  but anyone wanting to be on site  for this work,  must pre-register so  everyone meets the  WorkSafe BC requirements.   Registration forms  are available by  visiting the Timber Framers  web page for this  project,  which can be accessed here.  Churchill encourages all who are interested in taking part  to register no later than May 1st .




C’mon Timber Kings, you guys have proven yourselves!

Only the very rich can afford a timber Frame home. If built with insulated panels on the outside, it can be energy efficient. if not, not so much. The other issue is insurance, just like a log home, very expensive to insure, no such thing as a little fire in these homes.

    ” no such thing as a little fire in these homes.” .. another myth that needs dispelling. The vast majority of log home these days have tin roofs, the reason fire used to be bad on log homes was they almost always had wood or shake roofs which was where a lot of the fires started because of wood stoves. With tin roofs this is a thing of the past. The reason some insurance is expensive for log homes have nothing to do with fires burning out of control but rather a combination of two things, first, ignorance and laziness on the part of insurance companies to research and find that log homes are less likely to be total write offs than stick frame houses and secondly the wrong assumption that fire damaged log homes cannot be repaired. These are both reasons that were viable 20 or more years ago, but things have changed since then. Some insurance companies will work with you and allow you to insure based on what YOU think you can replace your home for rather than a book value that is usually way out in left field somewhere. We pay insurance on our log home and it isn’t any more expensive than most stick frame houses of comparable size.

Could have used this concept for the Pavilion in the park.

    Could have tied a new COVERED small train station into the pavilion and the design would have been appropriate.

    As is, it is a design which functionally resembles covered train platforms in larger communities.


    Of course, those protected covered platforms could not cover the engines would be belching smoke under the roof.

    I suppose they do not want to mimic such more realistic station platforms since part of the objective is to give the trains better weather protection.

    If you look at this image you can see what is wrong with the proposed platform at the railway museum.


    Ideally the platform should be level with the train steps then one would not have to provide steps independent of the train car.

valid input gopg2015

however, (I love the “however”) when talking to the folks at the Railway & Forestry Museum one soon gets the picture that the intent is to provide a relative level access from the viewing platform to the Railcar platform.
This will give people with disabilities the opportunity to enter the exhibits much easier or alternatively, view the interior of the exhibits from the viewing platform.

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