Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Working on the machinery shed

As spring has finally arrived, I have decided to try and finish some old projects.
I changed the roof on the machinery shed in the autumn of 2009 and have wanted to finish the project by making a new whatsitisname gable (thanks Gavin)

As usual I am using larch since it is very weather resistant (and I still have a load of it). After mounting it will be painted.

The pattern is traditional Swedish (although I live in Denmark). The wider boards are 1x5", and the thinner strips are 1x2". The wider boards are nailed on using 3" nails and the thinner boards are nailed using 4" nails. That way each board has got 2" of holding in the frame.
The wider boards are placed a small distance apart, and the thin strip covers this gap and the nail passes through the gap and into the frame.

On the bottom of both parts, a vandnæse (directly translated into water nose) is sawn. It is a 45 degree slope that will prevent water from seeping into the end grain and cause premature rot.

Traditionally in Danish building this is omitted, probably because the carpenters like the idea of being able to secure a job some years ahead by making sure the panels have started to rot at that time.

Another thing that is important to ensure longevity of the wood is to make sure it is oriented correctly. I follow the idea that the heart wood should face outwards. And the grain direction should be so that if you wanted to plane the board, you would have to do it vertically down.
On rough sawn wood, you can see the small ends of the wood fibres pointing one way. They should all be pointing down. That way the wood will be protected the best possible way against damage from the water.

The part of a house that I don't now do know the English name of. :-)

Close up of the water noses (perhaps there is even an English word for those as well?)

The view from top of the scaffold.


  1. If I understand your photo correctly, that part is the gable (the triangular portion of a wall between the edges of a sloping roof). Not sure about the english word for vandnæse...

    1. Thanks Gavin.
      I had thought about that word, but I wasn't sure it was correct.
      Brgds Jonas

  2. Does it get paint, or will you let it turn grey?

    1. It will be painted by using traditional Swedish paint. This paint is based on water, rye flour as binder and a little bit of linseed oil and some copper vitriol as colouring agent. I don't mix it myself though, hard core people do it, but I get my father to buy a bucket when they are in Sweden.

  3. I like the lap joint you are using. Many of the older barns in upstate Pennsylvania use a similar joint and I always thought it looked nice. Bill

  4. Thanks Bill.

    I have always admired old American barns since they are so impossibly large and yet elegant in their own way. Besides a lot of those that I have seen either on film or once I visited Minnesota, had a mansard style roof, with two different slopes of the rood itself. A steep slope on the sides and a shallow slope on the top. They look so good.

  5. The "Water Noses" we would call a Drip Edge here in the USA. Very nice work!

    1. Oh and the type of roof you are talking about when visiting Minnesota is called a Gambrel roof, a Mansard is a sub-type of gambrel roof.

      I believe the reason so many barns were built with these is the increase of storage space in the attic or what would usually be used as the hayloft by using this geometry.

  6. Drip edge sound logical. Actually more logical than a water nose.

    I am glad you like the look of the project. It takes a little more time to make the cuts with a handsaw, but I actually don't have an electric mitre saw.

    I once asked a carpenter why they didn't make those when installing vertical boards, and he just shrugged and said that they just didn't do it out of a habit. Kind of a bad excuse in my book. If you are a professional, and you have an electrical mitre saw, then it doesn't take much longer than a straight cut. But that is another good reason for doing it yourself.

    Gambrel roof. I am learning so many cool new things by writing this blog. Thank you so much.

    I really liked Minnesota. Nice people and a beautiful countryside.