Builders Knee Braces are not What You Think!

By: Charlie Cory

Of course if you mention the word "knee brace" to an architect that brings up whole different kettle of fish: and it has nothing to do with builders knee. Of course if one imagines the standard type of prophylactic knee brace or indeed the functional knee brace in conjunction with the idea of a house, perhaps one might produce an image in one's mind of some fantastical construction: somewhat along the lines of the Russian folk tale of the witch Baba Yaga. Here the wicked old dame lived in a house that bounded along on the giant chicken legs.

No doubt these bizarre appendages, which had to support the weight of both structure and crone, may have suffered much in the way of ligament strain! Therefore one might picture the house making the tricky decision concerning the relevant functional or prophylactic knee brace: whether hinged, comfort or other wise. One might also picture said edifice sitting in front of a computer screen, hopefully having acquired the appropriate advice from an architectural orthopaedic surgeon, mulling over the minefield of sites in a vain attempt to acquire the right knee brace!

As pleasing as this might be, it must be sadly reported that the architectural knee brace is not an object of such fantastical joy! Nevertheless, the builders' knee brace is just as vital in some respects as the hinged, functional or prophylactic knee brace of your average serious sports pundit, or motorcross professional.

The architectural knee brace is vital component in keeping one roof beams in order. This knee brace is "a diagonal support placed across the angle between two members that are joined; serves to stiffen and strengthen the members".

These types of knee braces are not necessarily concealed within the roof structure, quietly and unobtrusively "strengthening the members". They may be part of the intrinsic, visible design of the roof, forming the aesthetics of say, a gable end. Here, the knee brace might be plain or ornate. Place the wrong style of knee brace in the wrong style of gable end and your design plans may be obstructed. This is particularly pertinent when renovating a Craftsman, Eclectic, or Tudor Revival style of American house.

However, it is still pleasing to consider Baba Yaga's chicken-legged abode, fitted with the sort of bionic knee braces that technologists are devising to generate battery power. Now that would be the definition of an energy self-sufficient home!

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