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Timber Frame Home Craftsmanship

Posted on Dec 7, 2017

Every timber frame home is reminiscent of yesteryear. Over the course of centuries, timber framing has evolved. Yet, one thing remains constant – craftsmanship. Let’s take a moment to learn about timber framing and and how it has changed over the centuries.

Chisel and Joinery
Your Home Blends Modern Machinery With Centuries of Building Tradition

Traditional Timber Frame Home Fabrication

Transforming a round log into a square timber is where fabrication begins. The wood industry refers to the newly-formed wood as a cant. Traditionally, two people operating a whipsaw created the initial shape of the cant. Then, a craftsman used a broad axe to hew the cant and smooth rough edges.

Next, a craftsman cut and shaped the timber frame pieces from the cants. Creating the mortise and tenon joinery that holds the frame together was the final piece of the puzzle. This is one of the most difficult steps in the process. For the timbers to connect snugly and support the home’s structure, the mortise and tenon placement needs to be precise. With only hand tools to use, it took a very patient craftsman to get the cuts just right.

Riverbend Shop with Timbers and K2
CNC Machinery At A Riverbend Shop

The Evolution of Timber Home Fabrication

Today, advancements in construction technology and electric tools allow timber framers to create more intricate timber frame homes that meet today’s stringent building codes.

Invented in the late 1500’s, saw mills sped up the process of turning logs into usable lumber. In fact, saw mills still fabricate cants today. The introduction of computer-controlled (CNC) machinery in the late 20th-century made it possible to produce precisely-cut timbers much faster than hand cutting. CNC machines use digital files to create the cuts needed for fabricating the timbers. In addition, power tools have made it effortless to create the exact measurements needed for the mortise and tenon joinery.

A timber bent being pre-fit in the shop
Every Riverbend Home Is Finished Using Hand Tools

Timber Frame Craftsmanship Today

Riverbend Timber Framing started as a traditional timber frame shop. If you visit one of our shops, you will notice truss patterns still hanging on the walls. The Riverbend craftsmen no longer use these patterns to create timber frame trusses. However, the craftsmen still learn and use the handcrafting techniques. Now, these techniques are enhanced by the use of CNC machinery and modern day power tools.

After our CNC machines cut each cant to size, and carve some of the mortise and tenon joinery, further refinement is still completed using hand tools. In fact, before leaving one of our shops, every Riverbend timber frame home is pre-fit and finished by hand. This final step ensures your home’s joinery is perfect before it is shipped to your build site.

Visit the craftsmanship section of our website for more information about Riverbend’s fabrication process and the decades of experience that have culminated in our seamless building system. Watch a video of Riverbend manufacturing a timber frame home here.


Need More Information?

Whether you’re looking for more information or would simply like to learn more about us and our services, don’t hesitate to contact us. Please follow the link below to access our online form or call us at 888.486.2363 in the US or 888.999.4744 in Canada. We look forward to hearing from you.

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