Our team at work producing small, standard trusses for a job:
Raw Wood to Beam
“Every timber frame begins by sawing raw logs into square beams. We keep a variety of logs stocked in our yard so that we can efficiently select quality straight grain wood for each project. When our beams are first sawn they are susceptible to shrinkage and dimension change as they change from their natural moisture level to their new moisture level in a house. For this reason we can also kiln dry your beams which decreases the amount of shrinkage and movement to about half that of wood not kiln dried. This helps ensure that the tightly fit timber frame joints remain firmly fitted.
Cutting and Joining the Beams
Once the beams have been cut and dried, they are surfaced. We offer a planed smooth finish, a rough sawn finish, or a hand-hewn finish. After being surfaced, the beams are ready to be cut and joined into their allotted part of the structure. Our craftsmen do this by using a variety of tools both ancient and modern. However, the most important part of fitting the timbers occurs in the crafters mind when he mentally places the beam into its place in the whole frame. He chooses the best side for visual appeal and marks out the length and dimensions of each mortise and tenon notch. For us, the cutting and notching in the shop is one of the most enjoyable parts of the timber framing processes.
Finishing the Beams
The beams need to be protected before they are taken to the house site and set. For this we use an exterior stain for all the beams that will be installed outside and boiled linseed oil for interior beams which gives the wood protection from the rain or intense sunshine, and yet is so natural that the permanent oil based finished may be applied over the top after the frame is raised. This allows the finisher to touch up any stray marks the builders may have made during the raising process, and enables them to apply the best quality finish job in the enclosed structure free from rain and un-moderated heat and sun. Once the linseed oil and other stains have been applied, the frame is ready to be taken to the house site.
Setting the Beams
The assembly and raising part of timber framing is undoubtedly the most exciting. It requires several extra helping hands and generally a crane to execute the well thought-through raising plan. The owner often enjoys taking part by helping or observing during this part of the process. It is also a great time to take pictures.
Handcrafted Log Structure Process
Each handcrafted log structure begins with raw logs, either standing dead or air-dried timber until the wood is seasoned well enough for proper building. The logs are then hand-pealed with a draw knife directly before construction to reveal their natural appearance and produce a smooth hand-crafted texture.
For fitting and joining our log we use two basic methods in a log house: full-scribe method and chink-style method. The full-scribe method creates a complete log-on-log hand-crafted look. Each log is scribed along its entire length and fitted to the log below it. In contrast, the chink-style logs are notched to fit tightly together only at the corners of the house, leaves a gap along the length of the logs large enough to be sealed with chinking, which is an elastic textured material that seals well yet remains flexible to accommodate the movement that may occur between the logs. Chinking is usually applied at the finishing stage of the log home. Both chink-style and full-scribe homes have their own advantages and disadvantages; if you are interested in discussing which option would best fit your needs please give us a call.
When building log trusses, we employ the modified French Scriber Layout system. It was traditionally used for fitting hand-hewn timbers which were of course not perfectly square or straight. For this reason, the system works well for our natural logs. Each part of the truss is custom scribed to fit the notch of the adjacent part.
Once we have built the log house to the ridge pole, the finishing touches are added. We cut the windows and door opening, trim and sand the logs ends, and finally polish.”