Progress, page 47
The girder beam for the Great Room is the huge monster you can see in this picture. It is 28' 7"
long and 6' tall, made from four laminations that each weigh about 200 pounds. Aside from the
weight, the thing was so floppy it took four people to carry each lamination from the parking area
down into the house.
Getting the girder beam up to the top of a 12' high wall without a crane was something of a
challenge. We erected two temporary pillars and mounted a rope and pulley system at the top of
each one. We hoisted the laminations up one at a time and cautiously walked them from right to
left across the temporary scaffold you can see in this picture. Kind of dicey with a pretty high
pucker factor, but it worked. Each lamination had to be separately nailed to the previous one,
and the finished beam actually ended up straight and plumb.
We had previously sunk a large threaded rod into the concrete wall at each end of the girder
beam so it would be securely anchored, at least at the base. That meant we needed to drill a
hole ahead of time in each end at precisely the right spot.
You can also see here the many nails specified by the truss manufacturer ... there were so many
of them I got to wondering whether they had to take the weight of them into account when they
designed the beast.
The trusses on the Great Room side of the girder beam needed to be hung about 16 inches up
from the bottom of the beam, so we had to add vertical plates for the hangers. We used 2x8's
nailed and bolted at top and bottom. Here the first roof truss is connected to the girder beam.
Only 14 more to go.
The ceiling joists on the other side of the girder beam will get hung from the bottom chord in a
more conventional manner.