Constructing the reciprocal frame roof for the straw bale chapel


We kept the straw walls wrapped during August as the weather was unsettled, but work started on fixing the roof plate.  This had been made in sections which were fitted together and then strapped and tied down.

Placing the roof-plate sections
roof plate sections in place
strapping the roof plate sections
The strapping was tensioned


bracing the roof plate sections


The finished roof plate

The roof plate was now ready to hold the reciprocal frame.

First, a mock-up was made on the ground.

The first attempt was too low  – the pitch of the roof would be too low to take a slate finish.  The second attempt was too high.  The third was just right.

First attempt – too low
second attempt – too high


Third attempt – just right

The next step was to put the roof in place.  The overlaps were marked and notched, and a temporary post was erected inside the walls to hold the structure.

The first poles go up, supported by the temporary post


The poles are placed one over the other and tied


The reciprocal frame in place

When finished, the reciprocal frame is self-supporting, but it needs temporary propping while it is being constructed.  The poles are tied together before they are permanently fixed.

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