L E A R N T O TIMBER FRAME CRAFTSMANSHIP SIMPLICITY TIMELESS BEAUTY j j Will Beemer Foreword by Jack A. Sobon Photography by Jared Leeds ß Storey Publishing 622668_TimberFrame_FinalPgs.indd 3 2/4/16 3:47 PM.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Thanks to Jack Sobon for providing the original design and so much inspiration over the years; to Dave Carlon for helping me teach and cut so many of these frames with students; to Tom Barfield for suggesting this book and for his continued support; and to the many students who learned to build these frames and the clients who were brave enough to let them. In memory of Ed Levin, who taught us the love of timber framing 622668_TimberFrame_FinalPgs.indd 5 2/4/16 3:47 PM.
CONTENTS FOREWORD by Jack A. Sobon . 8 PREFACE . 9 CHAPTER 1 What Is Timber Framing? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 CHAPTER 2 Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Using Ungraded Native Lumber. 21 Ordering and Storing Timbers . 30 Timber-Frame Engineering 101 . 25 CHAPTER 3 Layout Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Mill Rule . 34 Scribe Rule . 35 Mapping . 34 Square Rule . 35 CHAPTER 4 Tools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Tools for Layout . 39 Boring Tools . 49 Cutting Tools . 45 CHAPTER 5 Procedures for Layout & Cutting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
8 FOREWORD by Jack A. Sobon D R O W RE There are pursuits in life that 7,000 years, was threatened was a result of that revival. O F go beyond providing the neces- by the changes brought on by Founded in 1985, it attracted sities for our existence, that the Industrial Revolution, and craftsmen and enthusiasts from elevate us above the workaday became especially endangered North America and around the world, that captivate our imag- in the mid-twentieth century. world. Through its outreach, inations and give us purpose in Old ways and old things were its educational workshops, and life. The craft of timber framing being replaced by the wonders its publications, the Guild has is one of those pursuits. It has of the new age. Television, plas- fostered the growth of the craft all the necessary ingredients: a tics, and space travel occupied and has assured that timber rich historical background that the minds of most Americans. framing will endure. conjures up visions of medieval Plywood, steel, and concrete Will Beemer has been a leader halls, ornate temples, and pio- defined the building industry. It in the Guild’s efforts, especially neer dwellings; a connection to was an era of overcoming and in its education programs. As our mother earth (trees are a subduing nature, not working an instructor at his Heartwood renewable resource utilized by with it. As we embraced and School and through the Guild’s humans for thousands of years); focused on new technologies, Apprentice Training Program, and a physical, tangible reward we were unfortunately leaving Will has been perfecting for our toil in the form of struc- behind much knowledge of the his instruction methods for tures that last for generations. old, traditional ways. decades. What follows is clear, The gratification found in timber By the late ’60s, many people concise instruction that will framing goes far beyond that of were realizing that in our haste enable timber-frame enthusi- most crafts. We are surrounded to modernize, we had given up asts to get started in the craft. by our creative work as it shel- some wonderful things. In the By focusing on a small struc- ters us, enhancing our lives. back-to-the-land movement ture, one can easily learn the And what about durability? that swept our country, timber concepts, from layout to raising. Timber-framed buildings can framing figured prominently. It certainly last a lifetime, more brought us back to nature, got Welcome to the world of often centuries. Long after us involved in building our own timber framing! completion, they stand as a tes- homes, and taught people to tament to our efforts. work together again toward a This ancient craft, having common good. The formation served humankind for at least of the Timber Framer’s Guild 622668_TimberFrame_FinalPgs.indd 8 2/22/16 3:37 PM.
9 PREFACE P R E F A On a mountaintop in northwest- equipment. A number of these wood as instructors in its third C E ern Connecticut is a collection structures share a common year; when the founders left for of 40 or so rustic family camps, origin. It all began in 1988 when other things in 1985, we found little cabins tucked away in the one of the mountain residents ourselves running the show. woods by a picturesque lake. took a woodworking class at the Over the years, Heartwood has Over the years, these families Heartwood School in western expanded to include timber have expanded. As new gener- Massachusetts (see Resources, framing and other woodworking ations are born and grow up, so page 181). skills, using actual projects as grows the need for each group Heartwood was founded in teaching tools. One of these to have its own private space. 1978 as an “owner-builder” projects is a 12 × 16-foot tim- Kids’ cabins and kitchen huts school, teaching the skills ber frame.
11 CHAPTER 1 What Is Timber Framing? Timber framing in much of the world can refer to any framing system using wood components, but in North America we use it to mean solid timber (greater than 5 × 5 inches in section) joined together with traditional wooden joinery. It’s a type of post-and-beam construction — picture the barn raising in the movie Witness.
CHAPTER 2 Getting Started For millennia, people have timber framed without the benefit of building codes or standardized materials. It’s only in the last century or so that the building “industry” has become so prescriptive that a narrow set of guidelines — recipes, if you will — usually dictates how to build a house. For those who wish to build with traditional methods, such as timber fram- ing with local materials, a more thorough understanding of the materials and techniques of the craft is necessary. The species, sizes, and shapes of the building materials are guided by the builder’s vision and often go beyond what is specified by the building code.
21 Using Ungraded Native Timber U s In g The timber frame in this book with intermediate beams joining enforced by the local building U n assumes the use of “native” into them. Compare this to authority, to ensure the safety gR A timber, from trees locally platform framing (the standard and performance of buildings. D E D harvested and sawn (or hand- design of stick-frame houses), The building authority usually n A hewn) to size either on-site or in which a beam sits on a short is the city or municipal building t Iv at a nearby sawmill. Actually, post with another post sitting department, and code compli- E t it’s unlikely you could even on top of it to continue upward. ance is assessed and verified by Im b E find timbers at a conventional When this beam shrinks across a building inspector. While most R lumberyard; the largest tim- its width, thus shortening the building codes are modeled ber usually stocked is a 6×6 vertical height of the beam, the after state or regional codes, or 6×8, and our timber frame entire building drops a bit. Con- such as the widely used Inter- uses 7×7s to 7×10s or larger. We versely, if the beam joins into a national Residential Code (IRC), also recommend using timber continuous post, the beam can the local building code is the that is green and ungraded. As shrink but the post will stay the final word on what is allowed mentioned in chapter 1, using same length. in its jurisdiction. Specific code green timber is less a problem requirements can vary by city, BUILDING CODES if you use a species with low county, or state.