What is Timber Framing?
Timber framing is a simple but elegant building system consisting of large wood posts and beams fit together with interlocking joinery and secured with wooden pegs. The heavy timber framework supports the roof by transferring roof loads to principal posts and onto the foundation of the building eliminating the need for load bearing interior partition walls. The result is a strong, self-supporting timber structure in which heavy timbers frame open living spaces, cathedral ceilings and well-lit rooms.
The Roots of Timber Framing
Many do not realize the mortise and tenon timber frame construction is the original style wood of construction. In fact it can be traced back to the Old Testament 1, Kings 5:6 when Solomon hired the Sidonians to provide timber framing for the temple of the Lord 1000 years BC. Those timber framers laborers would travel for a month at a time to build the timber frame 1 Kings 5:14. Timber framing then remained the most common method of wood construction until the 19th & 20th century. The 1,300 year old Ise temple buildings in Japan which are thought to be the oldest existing timber frame structures in the world.
In Northern Europe, timber framing probably evolved as a way to construct dwellings using the most available building material, wood. By the Middle Ages timber frame churches, theaters, elaborate private homes and impressive barns populated the cities and towns of Northern Europe.
Although the forests of Europe had largely disappeared by the 15th century, the New World provided an abundant source of wood for immigrant builders. Timber framing remained the most common method of wood construction in North America until the 19th century when it was replaced by balloon framing; a system which uses dimensional lumber and metal nails, both innovations of the industrial revolution. With the exception of its use in Amish and Mennonite communities, the craft of timber framing was not practiced in America for more than one hundred years.
In the mid-70's a few innovative home builders, dissatisfied with building methods prevalent at the time, were inspired by the still functional, timber frame homes built 300 years ago. Timbercraft, which was founded in 1978, was among the original group of timber frame revivalists. Timbercraft built homes are the result of years of careful research and practical experience with a modern building system that combines beautiful wood and Old World craftsmanship with modern tools and technology.
Modern Day Timber Framing
In the 1990's computer controlled timber cutting machines were developed in Germany and introduced to the American market. The availability of a CNC joinery machine introduced a new era in timber framing. The ability of traditional craftsmen to lay out and cut precise joinery with hand tools, and later, with power tools, was now enhanced by computer technology. In 1997, Timbercraft was the first timber framing company to purchase and install CNC joinery equipment. Since that time, the company has been a leader in software development and product design using computer controlled technology to create solid timber structures that will function beautifully for hundreds of years to come.
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