Castle Construction in 2005

The erection of the post and beam started this year. I cut mortise and tenon joints in each bent section. Then they were assembled lying flat on the deck. Once fitted and pegged together, I levered them to sawhorse height and then the winch on my trusty jeep was able to take over, and with pulleys to nearby trees, bring them to vertical. Then they would drop into the mortises on the sill beams.

Once the conventional part of the castle was framed, I started to raise the 12 posts that form the perimeter of the tower. Winching from the large neighboring white pines, eight posts rose. Each post rose two levels at a time. Of the twelve top plates that crest each set of twelve (two-level) posts, two were set this year.

Castle Construction in 2006

The castle tower took form in 2006. The first eight posts were set in 2005, and the last four needed to form the perimeter of the circle were difficult. With no trees on the south side, platforms had to be set outside the building. Then the posts were placed with their butt ends at the respective mortice and winched up from the already vertical northern posts. I had difficulty placing the twelve perimeter plates at the top of level five. Robert Oakes and Jessica Olivier came to help and we managed to set them all.

Every two levels of the tower and keyed to these 18 ½’ tall posts. The joist systems at the top and bottom are conventional, parallel members crossing the circular area. But the floor suspended at the mid-point of the posts is formed from joists placed radially from a mortise in each post, forming a wagon wheel-like system.

The upper posts (levels four and five) went up in a similar manner but were too high to use the trees as winching points. At Wayne Krauss’s suggestion, we used pipe staging as a crane and indexed the crane and posts, each in turn around the circle. Levels three and four were decked with the subfloor. We had a tower.

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