Trinity On the Hill Retro-Fit Timber Frame

The Red Iron Frame

Harmony Timberworks is known for high quality mortise and tendon timber frames, and the ornate trusses in this worship sanctuary are no exception.¬†One of our more memorable projects due to the specificity of retro-fit timber framing was completed at Trinity On The Hill Church in Augusta, Georgia. This project was completed several years ago, and required a lengthy assessment and installation process detailed below. The end result was something we’re proud of, and the after photos can be found below as well.

Upon arrival to the Trinity On The Hill project our crew knew there was work to be done. The walls were laden with exposed brick and steel, and the roof was a disappointing destination to the lofty attention the high ceilings demanded from an onlooker’s gaze up the wall. The stained glass windows were boarded over, leaving the are dark and lacking. Our work was evident. The hollow area had potential, yet the planning involved required hundreds of dimension assessments in order to provide an accurate layout for the project.

There were a large amount of variations in the timber framing, and this lead to each truss being a different measured length from the last. At times the differences were fractions of an inch, but to properly assemble the trusses the level of attention required was diligent to say the least. A considerable majority of our projects are done in the process of building a home or in the planning draft stages.

A retro-fit of this scale was relatively unprecedented in the history of Harmony Timberworks. This is due to the fact that a retro fit is tricky to begin with. However, upon realizing that our truss lower chords and king posts had to wrap around and hide structural tube steel the difficulty of the project increased exponentially.

Back at our central location we designed, cut, and fit all of the timber framing at our shop. Having the measurements after an assiduous examination process is one thing, but the fitting was going to be doubly arduous. We used hand crank chain hoists, come-alongs, duct lifts, aerial man-lifts, and a number of other man powered tools that would fit through the doors of the church in order to ascend the timber frame into positioning for fastening. The retro-fitting required several areas to be temporarily fastened with precision until a welding job could be performed by a different contractor. We hadn’t anticipated any additional light steel framing to be added after the measurements, so getting the timber framing installed became even more difficult. Methodically, using hand tools and adjusting for changes we placed every timber frame in the photos.