Bents are cross-sections of western style timber structures, and are generally pre-fitted in the shop. Pre-assembly lets us fine-tune each joint, and also allows for joinery to be pre-drilled. Bents that include crooked timber often require many fittings and refittings as the organic shapes are scribed to fit seamlessly into the structural framework. When the bent is done it is taken back apart for finishing, then transported to the site and reassembled for the last time in preparation for raising, often in a stack three or four bents high.
In designing smaller roof structures we sometimes include natural forms such as crooked collar ties or logs in the round. Because logs have no natural reference planes, these structures must be built incrementally. This small entry way roof was prefitted in the shop, then disassembled and charred prior to finishing. Charring gives the wood a beautiful color and texture, with harder winter wood grain standing out in relief against the more combustible summer wood. It also helps to preserve the wood from rot and insect damage. However, the process of charring also reduces the dimensions of the timber, so this must be taken into account in designing joinery that will be tight even after it has burned.
Intersecting roofs such as hipped roofs contain compound joinery that cannot be rendered accurately using simple elevations and floor plans. We use developed drawings lofted full scale onto the shop floor to derive angles and lengths for hips, valleys, jack rafters and jack purlins. Timbers are laid directly onto the lofted drawings to translate critical points from which the joinery can be drawn, producing seamless joinery in complex, compound roof structures. This hipped roof corner was preassembled in the shop, with a temporary post supporting the top of the hip at the proper pitch. On site, the hip rests on a timber ledger connected to the outside corner of the house.