Timber Structures v. C.W.S. Grinding & Mach. Works

Decision Date28 March 1951
Citation25 A.L.R.2d 1358,191 Or. 231,229 P.2d 623
CourtOregon Supreme Court

Bert S. Gooding, of Portland (Stott & Gooding, of Portland, on the briefs), for appellant.

R. W. Nahstoll, of Portland (Eben, Jones & Nahstoll, of Portland, on the brief), for respondent.


TOOZE, Justice.

This is a suit by Timber Structures, Inc., as plaintiff, against C. W. S. Grinding & Machine Works, an Oregon corporation, as defendant, to foreclose a lien for labor on lots 5 and 8, block 78, Couch's addition to the city of Portland. From a decree in favor of plaintiff, defendant appeals.

Plaintiff is a Delaware corporation, with its main plant and home office located in Portland. It also operated a plant in Seattle. It is chiefly engaged in designing, fabricating, and erecting structural timbers, including those of substantial size and load capacity. A large portion of its operation is devoted to production of laminated beams of the type involved in this suit.

Defendant is the owner of lots 5 and 8, block 78, Couch's addition to the city of Portland, and in March, 1946, one C. Ed Rath was the builder under a contract with defendant for the construction of the building known as 'C. W. S. Grinding & Machine Works' on said lots. As a part of such construction certain beams and columns were necessary.

On March 14, 1946, Rath placed an oral order with one William E. Welch, a salesman for plaintiff, for certain laminated and sawn beams and columns. Upon receiving such order the first step taken by plaintiff was to have its engineering department prepare drawings showing required size, length, and load capacity of the proposed beams and columns. These specifications were approved by Rath. Thereupon, a sales order was prepared, dated March 30, 1946. The price agreed upon for the labor and materials involved was $4395.00. Later, a change in the size of the laminated beams was agreed upon, and the contract price was thereupon reduced $491.00, leaving a final contract price of $3904.00.

The order placed by Rath called for the following:

                "Item  Quan-          Description
                 No.   tity
                "1       7    Glued laminated beams de-
                              signed for 20' spacing, 40#
                              live load, 10# dead load
                              7000# concentrated load at
                              any point, size--14 3/4" x
                              291/4"-- 50'
                "2       1    12" x 18"--18' Sawn Beam
                "3       2    12" x 18"--16' Sawn Beams
                "4       3    10" x 12"--16' Columns
                "5       2     8" x 8"--8' Columns"

The contract, as shown on the sales order, also included the following:

'All necessary hardware needed for complete erection of the above material.

'All erected in place as per Timber Structures, Inc. drawing #7963-1, * * *

'Lumber in glued laminated beams to be dry and suitable for glueing, Para. 215 or Btr., Douglas Fir.

'Erection based on truck crane operation inside building.'

The structural timbers above described were not carried by plaintiff in stock, and they had to be specially built and adapted to the particular needs of the building being constructed for defendant. The material for the sawn beams and columns called for by the contract had to be purchased by plaintiff for this particular job. By scientific determination the timbers were designed to satisfy the needs of the particular building in terms of the smallest dimensions and the least material that would accommodate the load capacity, and also satisfy the other requirements of the building.

What is involved in the fabrication of a laminated beam, as well as in the making of the sawn beams and columns, is best described in the testimony of D. F. Kinder, secretary of plaintiff corporation. He testified:

'The engineering department determines the proper size of the beam to carry the load that's called for, then it is determined the most economical shape of that beam to carry such a load, the width and the depth and so forth in their relations; after that it is determined the type of lumber that is required, whether it is all high stress grade or whether some other grade may be used for the reason that, from an engineering standpoint certain sections of the beam require a higher grade of lumber and a higher stress is developed in certain sections than in other sections. Next is determined the size of the individual pieces that go into the beam, whether they should be nominal one inch or whether they should be nominal two inch and so forth and the widths to use to make them, also the number of laminations. After that is all determined, the stock is selected from a stock pile or the material is ordered and developed for the job by the proper drying, with the proper moisture control clear through. And the surfacing--that is it is necessary that to do the proper job in gluing the surface must be smooth. The next thing is the scarfing, to make a long board out of a number of short ones.

* * *

* * *

'Scarfing? Scarfing is beveling the ends of a board of a slope of 1-12 so that the beveled ends of two boards are laid together and during--in that space of sixteen or eighteen inches they are glued together which makes a board the same thickness at the splice. It is splicing boards together and in that method of scarfing so that the board is the same thickness at all places. After that the boards are spread with glue, run through a glue spreader and laid up in clamps and left for the required period of time after which they are taken out of the clamps and they are put through the surfacer, through a planing mill or a planer. From there they go to the fabricating shed and are trimmed and bored to take the fittings and connections to fasten them into the final job according to the details that are made by the engineering department, and that's about it.

* * *

* * *

'Q. And what is your process of drying the lumber used in the manufacture of laminated beams? A. It is by the latest Moore circulating dry kilns.

'Q. * * * How do you negotiate the dressing of this lumber after its been dried and selected for a particular job; is that done by machine? A. That is put through a planer, yes.

'Q. And then you've said that after the faces are dressed that the glue is spread on them. How is that glue spread, Mr. Kinder? A. Well, it is put through a glue spreader made especially for that, with large rolls faced with rubber, with corrugations, to determine the proper amount of glue that goes on, and run by power. The board is run through the glue spreader and the glue is spread on one side or two sides, whichever is required.'

The witness then testified that the laminated beams weigh slightly less than sawn beams, and that each of the laminated beams weighed approximately five thousand pounds.

Describing the process of fabricating the sawn beams and columns, the witness testified:

'Fabrication of lumber, solid lumber, is not different than the fabrication of the glued beam after it is once glued, but the first step would be following the engineer's detail. If there is a quantity there would be a pattern made for each item, a beam marked so and so, a column marked so and so, and there would be a pattern made for that. The order goes to the yard for some--so many pieces of a certain size and material of a certain length and a certain grade; that material is brought into the shop and from that pattern it is fabricated. It is sawn to the proper length, it is put--the daps are made into it where they are called for, the boring is made and the grooves for the timber connectors are made and so forth and it is shaped, and whatever manner is necessary to fit the job as shown on the drawings.

'Q. Now, you have at your own plant here the machinery for the dressing of these timbers prior to the time that they are glued? A. Yes.

'Q. And for planing them and surfacing them after these five thousand pound beams are made? A. Yes.

'Q. And those were used in the production of the beams which filled this order? A. That's right.'

It appears from the evidence that before this order was placed with plaintiff, it had suffered a fire in its Portland plant, making it necessary to transfer all its laminating facilities to its Seattle plant. As a result, the lumber involved in the production of the laminated beams was surfaced, scarfed, and glued in Seattle, but the final fabrication and surfacing were done in Portland.

There is substantial evidence in the record to establish the fact that these beams and columns were produced by plaintiff in accordance with the contract, also, that they were transported to the job site, and by the use of a crane, were erected by plaintiff in the building being constructed for defendant.

On March 14, 1947, and within the time provided by statute, plaintiff filed in the office of the county clerk for Multnomah county, its subcontractor's notice of mechanics' lien, claiming a lien upon the building for the reasonable value of the materials furnished and labor performed by plaintiff, alleged to be the sum of $3962.60. The lien notice was in the usual form and met all the requirements of the statute. The claim in the lien notice was itemized as follows:

'To Labor and Materials furnished and delivered in construction of building of C W S Grinding & Machine Works at 1110 N. W. Flanders St., Portland, Oregon, as follows:

                "Materals:  Timbers, lumber, hardware
                ----------     and misc.                 1223.75
                "Labor:       Plant labor                2522.48
                ----------    Job site labor               94.37
                              Trucking to site             72.00
                              Crane hire at site           50.00
                "Balance Due Claimant:                 $3962.60"

It appears from the evidence that plaintiff failed to give the notice to the owner or reputed owner of the property upon which such building was constructed that it had...

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