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What is Timber Framing?

Simple Explanation

Timber framing is an age-old method of construction that involves using heavy timbers to create the structural frame of a building. This method of construction dates back hundreds of years, and is known for its strength, durability, and visual simplicity.


Timber framed floor joints in beam
Live edge beam in post
Cutting timber joinery on saw horses
Rawhide hammer driving timber frame pegs
Timber framed scarf joint

Joinery

Mortise and tenon joints, dovetails, and shouldered joinery are all traditional methods of joinery that have been used for centuries in the construction of timber frame buildings. These techniques involve fitting timbers together in a way that creates a strong and durable connection and are designed to last for many years.

Bents

A timber frame bent is a structural element of a timber frame building that consists of a series of timbers that are joined together to create a frame or arch. Bents are typically used to support the weight of the roof or floor of a building and are designed to be strong and stable.

In timber framing, bents are typically created using a combination of heavy timbers and traditional woodworking joints, such as mortise and tenon joints or dovetails. These joints are carefully crafted by framers using power tool, and hand tools.

There are several types of timber frame bents that can be used in the construction of a building. Each type of bent has its own unique characteristics and is used in different applications depending on the size and shape of the building. Timber frame bents are an important structural element in timber frame construction, and play a key role in supporting the weight of the roof and floors of a building.

Timber framed bent
Yellow lifting strap with shackle

Raising a Timber Frame

Raising a timber frame involves assembling the timber frame components on the ground and then lifting them into place using a variety of equipment, such as a crane, forklift, or scissor lift. This process is an important step in the construction of a timber frame building, as it helps to ensure that the frame is properly aligned and supported.

Before the timber frame can be raised, it is important to carefully plan and prepare the site. This may involve creating a foundation or slab, laying out the timber frame components in the order they will be raised, and gathering the necessary equipment and materials.

During the raising process, the timbers are typically lifted into place using a crane or other lifting equipment, and then secured in place using traditional woodworking joints, such as mortise and tenon joints, dovetails, or shouldered joinery. These joints are carefully crafted by skilled craftsmen using power and hand tools.

Overall, raising a timber frame is a complex and intricate process that requires careful planning and coordination, as well as the expertise of skilled craftsmen. By working Wood House Carpentry, you can ensure that your timber frame is properly raised and meets the highest standards of quality and safety.

Hybrid

A hybrid timber frame combines the benefits of traditional timber framing with the flexibility and versatility of modern conventional stud frame building. This approach allows builders and homeowners to choose the type of construction that best meets their needs and budget, and to mix and match different construction methods as needed.

For example, a homeowner might choose to use traditional timber framing in certain areas of the home, such as the great room or the master bedroom, while using conventional stud framing in other areas, such as the kitchen or the bathrooms. This can help to create a unique and personalized home that reflects the homeowner's style and preferences.

In a hybrid timber frame, the timber frame components and conventional framing elements are integrated in a way that creates a seamless and cohesive structure. This approach allows builders to create a wide range of architectural styles and design elements, and to tailor the structure of the home to the specific needs and preferences of the homeowner.

Overall, a hybrid timber frame can be a great choice for builders and homeowners who want to create a custom and unique home that combines the beauty and character of traditional timber framing with the flexibility and versatility of modern construction methods.

3D rendering of a conventional framed home
Box hearted white oak timber

Choosing a Wood Species

Using local wood species for timber framing can be a sustainable and cost-effective building option. Local wood species are those that are native to or grown in the region where the building is located. Using local wood can reduce the environmental impact of transportation and can also support the local economy by supporting local forestry and milling industries.

There are many different wood species that can be used for timber framing, and the specific species that are available locally will depend on the region where the building is located. Some common wood species that are used for timber framing include white oak, Douglas fir, and white pine. Each species has its own unique characteristics, such as strength, weight, and appearance, which can be considered when selecting the wood for a timber frame project.

It is important to carefully consider the properties of different wood species and how they will perform in the specific climate and environment where the building will be located. For example, some wood species may be more resistant to rot or insect damage in certain conditions.