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By Chris | November 11, 2009 - 6:55 pm - Posted in Big Timbers, New Products, Structural Components

This is a pretty concise “list” (pdf) with images of timber truss designs you can pick from. It covers the basics – the timber trusses most used. To repeat, these are for TIMBER trusses – not pressed or manufactured trusses – so, please, no emails about all the dainty little truss designs I missed. Oh, and yes, there are TONS of custom designs available, too.

scissor timber truss design from American Pole and TimberIt’s no secret I think American Pole and Timber is one of the coolest companies because of their ability to make just about anything and their willingness to say yes to just about any project thrown at them. There are not many companies that could handle the diversity of products American Pole and Timber handles but they have been doing it for nearly two decades now with steady growth.

Aside from their pdf of timber truss designs, you will be interested in the timber truss options they offer and, especially, how they ship exceptionally large timber trusses – timber trusses that are too large to fit on a truck assembled.

Shipping Large Trusses

Kind of off-topic here… They ship nationwide but some of their trusses are GIANT so they actually build the timber truss in their shop in Houston, TX (fully assembled) to ensure the truss is made properly and meets all the required dimensions and specs once assembled. They then mark each component and disassemble each truss for shipment. Depending on the client and truss, they will send one of their employees with the truss to guide and/or help with the reassembly on the job site.

After 10 years in and around the lumber business, I still think that’s pretty cool.

An industry-changing product is now available in the US. It is “treated” wood without any chemicals. Nature’s Choice Deck, distributed by Building Products Plus, is made of premium grade southern yellow pine, uses no chemicals, and comes with a 20 year warranty.

Think about it – “treated” wood with zero chemicals – 100% natural wood.
thermally modified wood - Nature's Choice

Thermally Modified Wood
Although thermally modified wood has been proven effective in Europe since the mid-90’s, it is new to the US where it took on the brand name Nature’s Choice. Developed in Finland, thermally modified wood is kind of baked (for lack of a better word) until the composition of the wood changes such that it is no longer attractive to termites, fungus, and other forms of decay. Using special kilns, the wood is heated for about a day to just below flash point and cooled using carefully timed applications of water to maximize its strength and longevity.

As Green As It Gets
Nature’s Choice (http://www.NaturesChoiceDeck.com) is as green as it gets. It is made of easily renewable southern yellow pine from managed forest land and produced in the heart of Amish country in production facilities that use relatively zero electricity. It’s seriously green from start to finish. It contains no chemicals so you don’t have to worry about your gardens, lawn, ground water, or kids. And, finally, since it is long-lasting the wood will not need to be replaced often. However, when you do replace it the wood can be thrown away, re-used, or even burned (unlike chemically pressure-treated wood).

This is the stuff dreams are made of, eco-speaking.

Physical Properties
Its strength is up to par, too. You can cut, drill, nail, screw, and everything just like regular wood. No special fasteners are required but you can use a hidden deck fastener system is you wish. In other words, it is regular wood – except, you know, with no chemicals.

Here are the stats from Nature’s Choice Deck technical info page.

    • Uniformly Darker Color
      Increased Surface Hardness
      Resistant to Decay
      Decreased Absorption of Moisture
      Moisture Deformation Decreased by 30 – 90%
      Splitting Strengths Reduced 0 – 50%
      Bending Strength Changes -15% – +20%
      Resins Dry Out or Evaporate
      Equilibrium Moisture 10 – 50% Smaller than in Untreated Wood
      Overall Increased Stability
      Increased Longevity
  • Beautiful Appearance – Darker Color
    Nature’s Choice is made of premium grade (better than #1) southern yellow pine so the boards are about 100% free of wane and nearly totally free of knots. The faces of the boards are different (one side smooth, the other grooved) and since the wood is so highly selected, the boards are essentially reversible.

    The thermal modification process darkens the wood to a beautiful light-mahogany color. The picture above is unstained pine (really!). See the Nature’s Choice Deck website for more pictures. According to the guys at Building Products Plus, all of the pictures on the site (as of the date of this writing) are southern yellow pine. Hard to believe but see the comparison image here.

    Dimensions & Availability
    Currently, Nature’s Choice thermally modified wood is available in 1″x5″ (actual dimensions) deck boards. They say they will offer more in the future. In fact, they mentioned plans for large timbers made with the stuff and maybe even pilings. Yes, chemical-free pilings. These guys are kind of quietly leading their own green movement.

    Expect to see more Nature’s Choice Deck in the future. People have been looking for this sort of thing and it’s finally here.

    By Chris | March 29, 2009 - 12:34 pm - Posted in Decks & Fences, New Products

    This looks pretty handy. Tiger introduced their new hidden fastener gun. Here’s their press release and I also included their video demonstration.

    BRISTOL, CT–(Marketwire – March 23, 2009) – Tiger Claw Inc. today announced the general availability of a new semi-automatic installation tool that dramatically reduces the already-quick installation of Tiger Claw’s groove fasteners. Professional builders and do-it-yourselfers can now build a beautiful nail-free surface deck four times faster than they can through traditional surface screwing. Tiger Claw’s fastener gun is currently the only pneumatic fastener gun on the market today.

    The installation gun is used with Tiger Claw’s TC-G hidden deck fastener for pre-grooved boards.

    “We recently attended the International Builders’ Show, in Las Vegas, and were thrilled to see the excitement in builders’ and journalists’ eyes when they saw and tried the new fastener gun,” said David Hartmann, president and co-founder of Tiger Claw. “They validated that we have a winning product in our hands. With the speed of the fastener gun, the ease of the TC-G hidden deck fasteners and the convenience of pre-grooved deck boards, builders can decrease their labor time, increase their profits, and ensure happy customers. It’s an ideal building package for those looking for beautiful, quick-and-easy-to-build, nail-free decks.”

    The Tiger Claw hidden deck fastener gun was named one of the “Seven Top Picks” from the 2009 International Builders’ Show, by Allen Lyle, Co-Host / Producer of Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.

    About the fastener gun

    The fastener installation gun drives a UFO Ballistic NailScrew® in like a nail, but can be removed like a screw. Simply slip the hidden deck fastener into the nose of the gun and position it in the groove of the board. The gun automatically enables perfect positioning of fastener and screw installation with the pull of a trigger. Builders now have a one-step installation process for hidden deck fasteners

    Tiger Claw’s inventors say, when compared to manually inserting the hidden deck fastener into the groove with your fingers, the gun decreases installation time by about 50%.

    About Tiger Claw Hidden Deck Fasteners

    Tiger Claw offers a complete line of innovative and versatile hidden deck fasteners. The TC-1 is a coated steel hidden deck fastener and the TC-2 deck fastener is made of stainless steel. Both are ideal for soft woods and pressure treated lumber. The TC-3 is used with composite decking materials and medium density hardwoods, such as Meranti and Cambera mahogany. It may also be used with used with cellular PVC decking materials. The TC-4 is perfect for exotic hardwood decking lumber like Ipe and Teak. The TC-G offers the fastest installation available today with pre-grooved decking or square edge boards using a router or biscuit joiner. All Tiger Claw hidden deck fasteners are manufactured in the United States.

    About Tiger Claw Inc.

    Tiger Claw Inc. was founded in 1999 and currently offers seven hidden deck fasteners, including the Proclip Cellular PVC Fastener and the Trex Hideaway. Its products are designed to greatly increase the value of construction projects without significantly increasing overall project costs. Tiger Claw is headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.deckfastener.com or call (800) 928-4437.

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