The English Mediaeval House

The English Mediaeval House 

By: Margaret Wood – Preface by Sir Mortimer Wheeler

Bracken Books – 1965

In this book you will find an absorbing study of the evolution of the English house.  Filled with Margaret Wood and other workers’ meticulous research, the book covers the period of time from the Norman Conquest to 1540.  Sixty pages of beautiful and instructive photographs are included as well as 150 plans and drawings that can only enhance such a wonderful book. This is the first major book on medieval domestic architecture for over a hundred years and is definitely worthy of its great subject!

 

Manor Houses in Normandy

Manor Houses in Normandy

By: Yves Lexcroart
Photographs By: Regis Faucon

Konemann – 1995

Open this book and you will be blown away by beautiful photographs that have captured the undulating woodland and lush meadows of Normandy.  Pays d’Auge is a region of Normandy that is a treasure-house of architecture in which the amazing manor houses are among its best-kept secrets.  Some are surprisingly small and some very grand.  They are built of timber or brick and stone. Very few of the manor houses are open to the public so grab this unique opportunity and enjoy this breathtaking pocket of Normandy.

The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625 – 1725

The Framed Houses of Massachusetts Bay, 1625 – 1725

By: Abbott Lowell Cummings

Harvard University Press – 1979

An absolutely superb work of history on the early homes built in North America.  Mr. Cummings covers the English background, the House Plan, the Builders and their Resources and the Assembly and Rearing of the House Frame.  As you can imagine, you will read about our country’s first timber frame homes – some of which are still standing.  Spanning over 200 pages, this book ends with a detailed Appendix where you will find even more books on this splendid form of construction.  You will enjoy the many black and white photos, drawings, and maps of interiors, timber post and girt carvings and furniture of the era.  We use this book as a reference for carvings and timber sizes.

American Bungalow Style

American Bungalow Style

By: Robert Winter and Alexander Vertikoff

Simon & Schuster – 1996

If you’re looking for some great interior or exterior ideas for cozy nooks, fireplaces, porches, window nooks, etc., then this book can help.  Filled with over 300 color photographs of that charming Craftsman Style architecture, we are immediately drawn to its warmth and effortless design.  “The idea that simplicity and artistry could harmonize in one affordable house spurred the bungalow’s popularity – a rare movement in which good architecture was found outside the world of the wealthy.”  This remains true today – especially with a timber frame home.  Turning the pages of this beautiful book shows you how just a simple door can become a thing of beauty you could enjoy each and every day.

The Forgotten Crafts – A Practical Guide to Traditional Skills

The Forgotten CraftsA Practical Guide to Traditional Skills

By: John Seymour

Dorling Kindersley Ltd. – 1980

In this beautiful book John Seymour celebrates traditional crafts in the best possible way – by showing and describing in fascinating detail just how they were done, and by encouraging us to keep them alive.  Filled with old photographs and lovely drawings, this is a fun book to have on the shelf.  John Seymour lived on a farm and worked hard to recreate life as it was so his writings are based on his experiences.  The subjects covered range widely from woodland crafts to workshop crafts and household crafts.  Something for everyone!

Reading Tree Rings with Woody

Every single spring and summer, each tree grows another layer of wood that is added onto the trunk. In the spring the wood grows quickly and is a lighter color because it is made of large cells. During the summer the wood grows much slower, has smaller cells and is darker in color.

  • To tell the age of the treeCount the dark rings!
  • When a tree is getting plenty of sunshine and rain it will have rings that are broad and evenly spaced.
  • If a tree has went through a forest fire it may have some scarring on  the bark right along one of the rings but every year the tree will add more wood to cover the scar.
  • Very narrow rings that continue through several seasons can indicate a drought or maybe an insect infestation.
  • If a tree has rings that seem wider on one side than the other it may suggest that something pushed against the tree as it was growing.  The tree will build what is called “reaction wood” to prop up and support the side that is leaning.

Choosing Timbers for your Timber Frame

 

Submitted by: Bruce Gardner, Co-Owner of Homestead Timber Frames

You have a wide array of wood species to choose from for your timber frame.  Some of the factors to include in making a good choice are:

  1. Strength characteristics of the wood
  2. Color, texture, and durability of the wood
  3. Availability of the wood
  4. Environmental impact of harvesting, processing, and shipping the wood

All timber framing companies have wood species preferences.  Homestead Timber Frames is located in the center of the grandest hardwood forest area in North America.  Our location choice was spawned by access to local timber.  Specifying and using timber local to us minimizes transportation costs, uses trees locally harvested from forests that naturally recover, allows our competence to grow by working within a narrow range of wood species, and provides our clients with a beautiful timber frame using timbers of known provenance and quality.

Homestead Timber Frames employs local White oak for interior timber frames.  The timbers are graded by us and carefully stored until use in a timber frame.  White oak can be planed to a smooth surface and beautifully finished with our natural oil finish.  Construction blemishes are easily renewed; White oak is traditional and durable; and the strength of the wood allows beautiful design flexibility.  A properly designed White oak timber frame becomes an heirloom cherished for generations.

Exterior timber frames are most often built by us of Baldcypress.  Exterior timber frames include pavilions, porches, exterior brackets, bridges, and gates.  Baldcypress is available in large timber sizes of good quality and grows regionally.  Baldcypress timbers gracefully accept surface treatments such as sanding or sand blasting and stain or paint well.  If no finish is desired, Baldcypress weathers over time to a pleasing silver gray which requires little maintenance.

 Homestead Timber Frames avoids using timber species that grow thousands of miles from us.  Timbers from species such as the Redwoods may be sourced from ancient trees, irreplaceable in a dozen human lifespans.  The same may be true for Western Red Cedar.  The environmental impact and expense of transporting all Western woods across the Continent is easily avoided by using our excellent and locally available timber species.  Come visit us and see the wood for yourself.  We will give you a wood sample to take home with you and you can decide what’s best for your timber frame.

Click here to visit our World of Woods for more information on different woods.

In the Shop with Woody

 Good Afternoon! It is such a beautiful day!

I’ve been out in the shop checking out different tools that the guys use for crafting such handsome timber frames.

The tool I am sharing with you today is a portable band saw. It is used on our timbers to create stunning curves and cut other irregular shapes as you see in the photographs below.

Topping off your Pavilion – Roofing Considerations

Submitted by: Erik Toplis, Timber Frame Designer

Pavilion

Many considerations for the design and fabrication of a pavilion are rooted in how the finished product will look.  Behind the scenes we make sure that the design is structurally sound.  The form and function areas of design are all the while being considered.  This is highlighted in the pavilion roof framing through a form that makes the function a visible design parameter.  This is how a timber frame gets its shade, not to mention the overall ‘look’ of the finished product.

Considering a pavilion roof usually starts with the question of roof style.  The two most popular styles are gabled and hipped.  A gable roof has a peak running parallel with the eaves.  Principal rafters (members running from eave to peak) are the main support in this type of roof framing.  A hipped roof pavilion has a high point to which each eave runs up to.  Hip rafters (members running from each corner to the high point) are the supporting members used in this other style of roof.

Each design has a unique look and the applications are endless.  For example, a gable roof can be square or rectangle with varying roof pitches to accommodate different truss styles and site requirements (existing structures, etc.).  Gable truss style options are also seemingly endless varying from king post, queen post, hammer beam and so on.  A hip-roofed pavilion has a different set of options that are varied as well.  The structure can be square or rectangle but the plate (eave) is of the same height at each side.  More often than not a boss pin is used to join the hip rafters at the high point.  A square structure receives a singular boss pin while a rectangular structure receives two, one at each high point connected by a timber ridge.

Completing the look of a pavilion is done with the roof design.  Large timbers with wide spacing can be used to give a bold and heavy look while smaller members can be spaced closer together for a light and airy look.  Beam spacing is decided in design adhering to roof loads and a timber’s ability to carry that load.  Form and function reside together in harmony and the pavilion roof system becomes the structural focal point of the frame.  Once the pavilion roof system is sheathed and finished in the owner’s selected material, it is time to sit down and look up!

Handcrafted Opportunities for a Timber Framed Wedding Pavilion

Submitted by: Cyndy Gardner, Co-Owner of Homestead Timber Frames

wedding pavilionOne very special moment in every couple’s life is their wedding and our society is witnessing a rebirth of outdoor celebrations for this memorable event.  A specially designed timber framed pavilion built exclusively for people who cater these outdoor weddings is our expertise.  Our team visits the site and can serve as consultants as to the size needed and how it could fit into the existing landscaping and layout of the other buildings.  Our favorite designs come from clients who want to blend their surroundings with the pavilion and create the impression that the intricately designed timber frame has been there for a long time.  We try to match our structures to blend with the setting as well as other buildings it may connect to.  They can be rustic, simple, ornate, hip roofed or gabled – the choices are many and Homestead Timber Frames is ready to help.

A few of our structures have needed to be large enough for up to 250 people to be seated wedding pavilionat round tables for a reception while others want a smaller more intimate gazebo type structure just for the bride and groom to stand in.  The requests vary of course from every size in between and choices in style.  Our goal is to make each handcrafted pavilion we build to be unique to the setting and structured for the purpose it will serve.  All our clients recognize that we offer high quality craftsmanship, personalized design services, and thoughtful ideas for them to consider when planning for outdoor wedding venues.

We stand ready to design and build for you.  Contact us before the next season rolls around.  Then you’ll be ready!