Saturday, April 11, 2009

Trestle-frame buildings

In 1998 The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning) published the proceedings of a seminar, subsequently titled "Grindbygde hus i Vest-Norge" which translates as "Trestle-frame buildings in Western Norway". When I saw this document a few days ago I became very excited, it was the largest body of information I've found yet about this form of construction that I learned about a year ago and maintained an interest in since. Finally I have an accurate English translation for grindbygg, which means "trestle-frame building". You might be familiar with trestle bridges that use a number of slightly splayed vertical braced frames to support a bridge. Indeed, this closely resembles the basic framework of a grindbygg. Much of the document is in Norwegian, but summaries are provided in English as well as several English articles. The real pleasure are the many illustrations. One summary provides the best written description of trestle framed buildings, which I will paraphrase here:

In traditional trestle-framed buildings two posts and a transverse beam are put together to form a transverse trestle, with longitudinal beams connecting each trestle to its immediate neighbors. The transverse beam is placed directly on top of the post, resting in a notch cut in the post’s crown. The longitudinal beams, which carry the rafters, are placed just inside the tops of the posts. The trestle frame is stabilized by means of diagonal wooden braces between the posts and the beams.

Pure poetry! But if that wasn't clear see one of the pictures accompanying previous entries on this subject.

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