What is a Timber Frame?

A timber frame is the structural system of a building that supports its roof and walls. It’s based on wood-to-wood joinery, and it carries the load of a structure without relying on nails or bolts. This method of construction dates back centuries and was the primary way our ancestors built their homes, barns, and businesses.

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Today, the process of timber framing can be performed in a number of ways. The timbers can be machined for uniformity and precision or hand-hewn, which has a more rustic look. The hand-hewn timbers are joined together using the same methods of carpentry practised by our ancestors: mortise and tenon, dovetail, tying joint, scarf joint, lap joints, and more. The timbers can be sourced from a wide variety of trees, including Eastern white pine, Douglas fir, Western red cedar, and hewn spruce. For more details on Timber Frame Manufacturers, visit a site like merlintimberframe.co.uk

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Once all the pieces of the building are ready, they are brought to a job site and assembled. This is called raising. An old tradition for timber construction involves the framers celebrating with a ceremony known as the topping out. A small bough is attached to the highest point of the frame and a builders’ ring is carved into its surface. The lady of the house traditionally has the honour of driving in the last peg. She has to owe the crew one drink for every blow of her hammer.

In some cases, timber frames are encased in structural insulated panels (SIPs). This allows the timbers to be seen inside the building, while providing the benefits of modern energy efficiency and strength.


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