Wednesday, April 16, 2008


A few more nice photos of grindkonstruksjonen. The first is sod covered and used for outdoor entertaining. It is very nice looking and I would love to try a sod roof sometime. The second is built lightly out of smaller diameter poles. This smaller one is a great size for me to test out the construction methods used in these buildings. These examples are from the website of Nedre Jolster Bilelag.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Norwegian sheds

I have found a great example of craftsmanship in the construction of Norwegian sheds of the kind I would like to build. The first photo shows a building in Telemark. The second photo shows an interior view of a same shed once it was finished. And the third and fourth photos show the nice and close fit of joints. Following is another basic description of the construction of these buildings:

The ’grindbygg’ or stave technique, is a post and tie-beam technique that was the most common way of building barns in the Norwegian west. It was also applied to scullery huts (eldhus), stables, boathouses, forges and other small buildings. A ’grind’ consists of two vertical posts (staves) connected by a tie-beam (bete or slinder). The ’grind’, or more correctly several of these frame structures, is the supporting element in the building. Each ’grind’ with its diagonal braces is prepared in advance on the ground. Archeological sites show evidence of this type of construction going back 4000 years.

Literature and references:
Hilmar Stigum: Byggeskikk. The Institute of Ethnology, 1972. The illustrations are by Torill Sand.
Anna Helene Tobiassen: Byggeskikk i norske bygder. Compendium of lectures. The Institute of Ethnology, the University of Oslo, 1984.
Lars Roede: Grindbygg og bindingsverk. 1998, Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning (NIKU) hoved-kontor, Stiftelsen for naturforskning og kulturminneforskning (NINA-NIKU): Fagrapport, 3s. Distribuert av Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning (NIKU)

Sources for this entry: 1, 2, 3, 4

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Shed development

Thought pattern overview:
Growing forest -> Pole construction -> decorative Hawaiian lashing techniques -> Japanese minka houses -> longhouse -> Viking langhus.

A longhouse is probably the simplest timber frame building, though it may also include lashed members as well. In the development of early wooden structures, the rectangular longhouse was directly preceded by the circular earth lodge. The primary benefit of the longhouse was its easy expandability. Variations on this basic structure exist in indigenous cultures throughout the world. My favorite examples are of the Viking "langhus". At Qassiarsuk in Greenland there is a reconstructed langhus (interior1, interior2). The method of construction of a Viking langhus is called "grindverk", and is intended to provide a strong frame. The basic repeating form, structural honesty, usefulness and durability of a longhouse have made it a favorite for centuries.

For more information:
Grindverk (langhus construction) and page 2
Langhus adapted for camp use
Fachhallenhaus (German longhouse)
Diagram of joint as cut from poles
A site with pics of sheds and page 2
Prosjekt Synleggjering, very nice

High quality examples:
Norse Longhouse
Germanic Longhouse
Framework diagrams
Joint detail
Idyllic and sod covered

The buildings... are constructed using the ancient "grindbygg" technique. Timber post, "stav", and beam ,"bete", corners are braced by crossbeams, "broddeband". The frames form gate-like parts, the "grind", thus the term "grindbygg". These gates are raised up, (like in the Amish barnraising seen in the movie "Witness" with Harrison Ford), A beam, the "stavleie", lays across the tops of the gates connecting them, and then the roof beams, "sperr", are placed with corner frame joints at the peak. Then a plank roof is put on, followed by several layers of birch bark, topped with sod... The foundations of this post and beam, timber-framed building are usually a few flat rocks under each post... This whole building can go up with only a few workers and very little noise... The building is not tied into the ground at all. The foundation is basically non-existant. The whole building is instead self-supporting, made like a piece of furniture so it acts as a unit, like a box sitting on the ground.

Source: Norwegian Wood 2006