April 5


On Saturday we went out to Groff and Groff Lumber in Quarryville, PA about 20 min from our house. This is the place to get your natural edge woods and specialty lumber. Mom gets most of her wood for her Sticks & Stones serving trays and things here. I will likely come here to look for the wood I will use for my countertops, but today we were in search of wood for the beams that will support the loft and lateral structure of the house. We knew we wanted a hardwood to provide enough structure but we were also keeping in mind the weight. Paulownia was quickly recommended.

1. Rough pieces of Paulownia. 

We just needed to get pieces that were the width of the house. To save money we decided we would combine 2 pieces to give us the width we wanted. Very thick pieces of wood cost a lot more. Also, for the beams that will go on the outside and inside of the pocket door, and the beam that goes along the back wall of the bathroom, we are only going to use one piece of the 1 3/4" thick wood, as it will appear the rest is within the wall and will cut down on weight.

2. Plaining the Wood.

This was really cool to see. They adjust the height of the machine to slowly cut away the top and bottom of the wood. This is done until the wood is at the desired width. There are thousands of little blades that work inside the machine. They ran the pieces of wood through this about 8 times. 

3. Combining the pieces. 

We only need 2 beams that are 2 boards thick, as they are the boards that are seen from both sides. To combine them we used wood glue and many clamps. We allowed them to sit over night.

4. Adding the beams to the house.

To add the beams we first had the pocket door and bathroom wall in place. We then cut the beams to the desire width which was the width of the house. We drew level lines on all the studs then secured the beams with 4" screws. It was important to pre-drill all of these because we were working with a thinner piece of wood that we really didn't want to split.