the Carpentry Way: 2014 Northeast Tour (Part 2)                                                          

2014 Northeast Tour (Part 2)

For part 1, click here.


From Woodstock we traveled south on Rt. 106, to the county of West Windsor, where a few more covered bridges were to be found. The first one we came across is called Best Bridge, a fairly modest affair:

This was built in 1889 and spans 37 feet over Mill Brook.

The bridge is a simple arched truss, placed atop carrier beams and employing tie rods to hold up the roadbed:

Underneath the deck, there is only scissor bracing:

Here's the foot of the arch meeting the carrier - double-notched and reinforced with two bolted straps, and a large wedge or two at the back to tighten things up:

A short distance away was Bowers Bridge, originally constructed in 1884~86, however a victim also of Hurricane Irene.

The storm waters washed the bridge 200 yards (182m) downstream:

(image from FEMA)

It's now rebuilt and back in place:

The newly rebuilt bridge incorporates some of the original pieces, notably the deck and most of the arched chords, and sits 18" higher.

Some online bridge sites give the construction date for the bridge as being 1919, but this cannot be correct, given some of the graffiti:

Simple framing for the common rafter roof look like a lot of barn framing, and support for the deck is by way of a tied arch like the Best Bridge just down the road:

The under deck with scissor bracing:

The joint between the foot of the arch and the sill piece:

We continued on south, entering the county of Weathersfield, where we came across the town of Downers and their bridge, a Town lattice truss spanning 120':

Constructed in 1840 by James F. Tasker, and restored in 1975~6:

Like the Middle Bridge in Woodstock, this Town lattice has two runs of top chords:

The lower chord supports an additional set of braces which meet at the ridge:

The braces make for a much stronger tie between the roof and the walls, and stiffen the structure considerably. I tend to associate them to old French framing practice. I well remember an engineer's article in an old issue of the Journal Timber Framing, where they found the addition of such braces to the standard knee-braced shed building, a standard Timber Framing Guild class project, finally made the building adequately stiff.

A view out of the window of Black River:

Next on the tour, further south in Springfield County, was Bartonsville Bridge, yet another bridge which suffered considerable damage from the Hurricane:

The good news is that this bridge, originally constructed in 1870, has been rebuilt and reset into position on improved foundations:

This is a Town lattice truss, spanning 151' and with single run of top chords:

I found the attachment of the braces to the side of the lattice a little unusual. Also new to me were the angled braces between the truss lattice and the walls, just visible in the above photo. They are so acutely angled I'm not sure what they really add in terms of strength or stiffness. It looks like the wall cladding kind of hangs on the rest of the structure, like a jacket

A view of the juncture between wall and roof framing:

A very well braced bridge with lots of galvanized bolts. Gotta wonder if the consulting engineer wasn't a bit twitchy about using treenails on the lattice instead of bolts:

Under the deck we see a combination of scissor bracing and tie rods:

Another view:

Nearby was the Worral Bridge, a Town lattice constructed in 1868 by Sanford Granger:

Love the sign:

Another bridge where the braces, at least some of them, terminate on the side of the truss web:

A view of the roof structure:

One last bridge, which no longer sits across a river, but has been relocated over a drainage ditch as a tourist attraction, the 'Victorian Village' covered Bridge:

I include this one as it is an example of a more archaic framing style, using a modified kingpost with straining beams:

Simple roof framing with a few added braces atop the crossbeams:

Stiffening a rafter here and there will make for an undulating roof plane over time. It would have made more sense to place a purlin and brace against that, but well, it is what it is. It's kind of a shortened and thrown-together mish-mash of an old bridge formerly called Depot Bridge (1872), incorporating other bridge parts, and some metal reinforcement underneath. Cars can still drive over it though.

That's all the bridges for this year. There are plenty more to be seen however so look for another post in this intermittent series in the next year or so. Thanks for visiting!!