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Make a Timber Frame Wall Panel


									Make a Timber Frame Wall Panel
Lets start with a simple wall, with no door or window openings. We can
get to the more difficult panels later.
The standard height for a panel is 2.453 metres. This is a standard
ceiling height for most homes. It also easily accommodates plasterboard
and plywood/OSB.
A wall comprises of timbers with dimensions of 38mm deep and 140mm in
width and come in an assortment of lengths, ranging from 2.1 and then
rising in 300mm increments up to 5.4 m long. For the sake of this example
we will use lengths of 4.8m cls C16 grade timbers.
The wall we wish to make is on the gable of the house, hence no windows
or doors. The gable wall is actually 9.5m but we need to break that down
into a more manageable size. We take the 9.5 m wall and divide by two to
end up with two walls of 4.75 m long. This is much easier to deal with.
Divide 4.75 by 0.4 (the vertical stud centres) to get 11.87. Round the
number down to 11 and then add 2 to bring the number of studs up to 13.
Now you know how many vertical uprights are in the panel.
You may recall that the standard height for a wall panel is 2.453. This
is made up of the vertical studs plus a double sole plate and a double-
header plate.
All that means is that on the ground you place two lengths of 4.75 m long
timber to which you fix the bottom of the studs and then you fit two
lengths of 4.75 m long timber to the top of the wall panel. You can use
two 90mm paslode nails fired from a nail gun or two 100mm galvanised wire
nails using a hammer.
Now you need to work out what size to cut them.
So if we have two number timbers of dimension 38 x 140 mm to top and
bottom of the wall then all we need to do is subtract 152mm from the
overall height of the wall to get our vertical stud size which is 2.301
Cut 13 studs at 2.301 me long ensuring that your cuts are plumb. Very
important to get the length and the plumb cut right to ensure a good
tight fit.
Clear a space on the ground and place two lengths of timber lengthways on
the ground. These will be used to make your panel on. Keeping the ends of
the panel off the ground makes it easier to fix the top and bottom plates
to the vertical studs.
Now you can start nailing the panel together keeping the edge of the
vertical studs flush with the top of the sole plate and header plate. Fix
the top and bottom of each stud with two number nails either 90mm paslode
nails fired from a nail gun or 100mm galvanised wire nails if you are
using a hammer. Make sure that the studs are not twisted in the frame and
are plumb from top of the wall to the bottom.
Work your way along the panel fixing the studs at 400mm centres. This
just means leaving a distance of 400mm from the centre of one stud to the
You can also use the edge of the stud and simply go from edge to edge.
Keep going until you have nailed up all the vertical studs to the top and
bottom plates.
Now you can add plywood or OSB sheets to tighten up the frame. This is
better done at this stage prior to standing the panel up, as the work
will go quicker by fixing the sheets to the frame when it is lying on the
Fix the plywood or OSB to each vertical stud at 150mm centres and around
the perimeter of each sheet at 75mm centres. (An engineer will help you
in this area by performing mathematical calculations to give you a
precise figure that you can follow.)
Just be aware the panel can be very heavy so make sure you have some
extra pairs of hands or mechanical lifting gear to help you.
But if you are short of helping hands you can leave this until the panel
is fully fixed and braced.
Voila you have made your first timber frame wall panel. Congratulations.
Ed Gordon is a Timber Frame specialist with a keen interest in Energy
Efficiency and reducing the construction Carbon Footprint. Ed does not
manufacture timber framed kits but he does help his clients by preparing
planning permissions on a NO Win No Fee basis and ensuring that they make
an informed decision between timber frame and masonry construction and
helping clients to find the best value manufacturer or contractor to
perform any work. For more information go to http://www.gts-timber-

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