A quiet elegance beams from a Timber Frame building, penetrating those near with a warm glowing awe. The simplicity and raw efficiency of the squared timbers as they reach jointed fingers outward to embrace and shield a space with the least amount of wood required seems to define sustainability, beauty, and permanence. It was this efficiency which first led me to favor a Timber Frame over a log cabin as was normally used in our area in times past. A log cabin (though lovely) the same size as our building would use at least 100 logs of the size we have available to us. Our Timer Frame needed less than 20.
The trade off of course is complexity of design, a log cabin is simply notched at the ends in some local fashion, and doors and windows cut out. Easy peasy! A Timber Frame is an adventure into the realm of joinery which must fit together quite well and accurately.
Throw into the mix the perfect imperfection of rough hand hewn beams and the challenge is accepted once you begin!
Our basic design grew from necessity, of what we truly needed at the moment, and would need in the future. Having spent nearly one year in our canvas wall tent, a workshop would provide us with a space more comfortable to live, and more practical to work at the same time, until a more permanent home could be fashioned.
This being my first ever building of anything larger than a rabbit cage, I went with the most simple design I could find, a three bent “tie below plate” frame with common rafters. The size was dictated by our location, a lovely nearly level spot on a south facing slope nestled amongst many shade trees and a stones throw from an old hand dug well.
One long side laid out
Post stub tenon
Most joints receive a Roman numeral to help keep track
All the joints were cut with a few very simple hand tools, auger, hand saw, chisel, mallet and framing square
Most joints are “housed”, this keeps them tight when they shrink or expand or otherwise move around, (or when you just didn’t cut the tightest joint!)
The top plates crowned badly enough in several directions that layout was don’t off a snap line instead of the actual Timbers edge. At least they didn’t twist though!