Meeting in the middle: Getting the dome framed

When the truck carrying the kit for our dome arrived our carpenter got to work laying out the riser walls on the waiting first floor deck (subfloor). It looked like a giant Erector set. Timberline guidelines suggest that the dome can be put together just using scaffolding, but we had to figure another solution since the scaffolding on hand wasn’t sufficient to reach the top of the dome safely. We also discovered another discrepancy, with our prints showing the second floor at two different heights. One would let us use the ledger hangers, but would cost us a lot more in lumber and force 6 inch thick walls on the entire first floor. T and I were pretty sure we didn’t want 11 1/2 ft ceilings on the first floor anyway, so we went with the original plan for 9″1′ ceilings and now will have to install the second floor directly to the dome without the ledger hangers. The running theme of improvise, adapt and overcome at work again.

The dome in the middle stretches a full 28’9″ from the subfloor to the top. Which is impressive on paper, but when it is realized brings to mind church ceilings and manor houses. The design of our home has the ceilings of the living/dining room stretching the full height of the dome. Looks like I can get any height of Christmas tree from now on!

The solution to our scaffolding problem was to build but not attach the second floor framing walls and install the floor of the second floor, creating temporary walls and extending the floor so our carpenter and his crew could work safely. They could start closing the dome in finally. A little hurdle of replacing three cracked struts that had sat dangled overnight without support was overcome and at last, our dome’s bones were in place.

Another bonus, the weather finally broke after what seemed like weeks of maximum humidity 90+ degree days. A cool, cloudy Friday greeted us with the first whispers of fall weather to come and the second week of dome framing work closed out with the continuing of the T blocking and installing the studs in the triangles of the dome.


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