Cedar Rafters

Our cedar journey began on the edge of Happy Hollow woods, in Trev Smith’s  workshop.  He showed us his solar kiln, where we saw walnut, poplar, locust, cedar and many other varieties of neatly stacked roughly sawn boards. After what seemed like an hour of making our way through a whole shed full of purple, grey, pink,  and silver boards, we decided on five cedar boards.  We chose the cedar not only bacause it was the lightest wood Trev had, but also we found these boards to be the most visually striking.  The pictures don’t do it justice and the sanding brought out much more depth in the grain.

 We are so excited to have these in our home and that we are able to get even more of our community involved!



To prepare our rafters, which are designed as 2x6s, we had to do some cutting. We picked up five boards total, cut three of them in half and trimmed the last two. We planed the boards we had too and sanded them all the way up to 320 grit paper with an orbital sander, which is insanely satisfying by the way. Cullen taught and helped us use the planer, it essentially shaves layers off of the board to get it down to the depth you’d like.

Then we cut notches in the boards at 5 1/2″, the designed size. The notches are so that the boards can still rest in place on the top plate where the normal 2x6s would be while allowing the cedar rafters to hang lower and show more of their natural beauty.

When all the cuts were complete, we decided to finish the cedar rafters with linseed oil because it brings out some natural contrast in the beams and adds a protective layer to the wood. At first, I was hesitant about taking away the raw look, but changed my mind after a couple of strokes when I really started to see the grain pop.

After countless trips to Lowes, it was invigorating to visit Trev and purchase wood from him.  Like shopping at a farmer’s market we felt closer to the source.  The wood wasn’t ready to just to be assembled for the frame.  Working with it and learning each groove of the wood brought us closer to the material we used and helped create a story behind our ceiling. Rather then just a memory of standing around Lowes for two hours, we were able to see Trev’s beautiful homestead, meet his wife, find out our friend lives in his barn, and appreciate the trees he salvaged from his backyard. There are many other ways we hope to personalize our home and create a deeper more meaningful experience behind the building process. It’s wonderful to have people around working and living with integrity and it feels good to support them.

Once again, many many thanks to our great friends and beautiful community who continue to help us follow our dreams! We love you all!


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