Bespoke Timber Frames
Simply put, Timber Framing is the craft of fastening timbers together with wooden joinery to create shelter. The earliest surviving examples from Northern Europe include houses, barns, cathedrals, abbeys and various minor structures from the twelfth century. These structures were built by highly skilled carpenters whose creation became known for their longevity and beauty. However, as industrialization, the demise of the guild system and lower building standards began to permeate society, this craft tradition came to an end in most areas of the British Isles and North America in the late nineteenth century.
The French Les Charpentiers (carpenters) have a continuous tradition dating from at least the thirteenth century. Other Timber Framing traditions have survived in Asian countries such as China, Japan, and Korea. There are undoubtedly other regions and cultures which have maintained vernacular traditions that we may never know, or which are just coming to our attention, thanks in part to the Timber Framers Guild which encourages cultural exchange of the many traditions. Timber Framing was brought to American shores by the various European immigrants settling in the New World; the oldest surviving example of a wood-framed house in the United States is the Fairbanks house of Dedham, Massachusetts, circa 1637.
The Timber Frame revival began in the 1970's, sparked in part by a curiosity of old buildings and a desire to build more lasting homes that contribute to communities rather than detracting. We are now fortunate enough to enjoy a vibrant community of craftspeople, enduring homes, and satisfied owner/caretakers of these homes.
Creating a building from trees is a bit like alchemy. Instead of turning base metal to gold, the alchemist-carpenter had to turn trees into beams, into frames, into buildings. RICHARD HARRIS Discovering Timber-Framed Buildings
- All tenoned joinery is drawpinned with tapered, octagonal, rived pegs. Drawpinning, or drawboring, is the process in which the craftsman offsets the tenon peg hole from the mortice peg hole allowing the peg to draw the joint tight and hold it tight throughout the drying process.
- Using a club, froe, and shaving horse, I rive pegs from billets. Riving or splitting keeps the long grain of the peg intact, affording it the most strength.
- Timber Selection
- A variety of species and grades exist depending on application, aesthetic and design.
- As a craft tradition, Timber Framing has utilized "green" wood since its inception. Throughout the ages, carpenters refined a system of joinery to work with "live" wood.
- Utilizing various species of green wood keeps our local economy vibrant by supporting smaller scale sawyer and all others who make their living from our forests. Millions of Timber Frame structures from the twelfth century onward have been joined in green wood and are still in active use today.
- My relationship with FSC Certified (Forest Stewardship Council) sawyers and local wood-lot owners enable me to hand select the trees that will be used in your home.
- Rough Sawn
- Rough sawn describes how the log comes off of the sawmill, either circular sawn or band sawn. Rough sawn also blends well with our Western Mountain Vernacular.
- Hewing is the craft of squaring up a log with an axe, in this case a felling axe and finally the broad axe. Hewing can be done from the round or surface hewn from a sawn timber. Hewn timbers have an ancient look and add "movement" to the frame.
- Hand Planed
- Hand planing brings out the grain and natural beauty of the wood, creating the most refined surface possible.