Posts Tagged with timber framing
Posted on March 29, 2012 by Gabel Holder
Spring timber framing is in full swing. We're working on some great projects right now including a couple of pool houses, a chapel, and a large octagonal pavilion for a municipality.
Here's a rendering of what's currently on the sawhorses.
Here are a few shots from the shop this morning:
The principal rafters all in a row. You can see the peak tenon and the strut mortise on the closest one.Here are the arched braces. The timbers are all western red cedar -- a durable and attractive wood that is good for smaller outdoor projects like this.
And here's Whit cleaning up the jack rafter half laps.
We'll be putting this one up next week which should be a lot of fun. Spring is definitely my favortie time of year for a timber frame raising.
Posted on July 22, 2009 by Gabel
Marriage marks (sometimes called carpenter's marks) are markings cut into the timbers of a timber frame to indicate where they are located in the building. Think of them as labels to show the carpenters where the piece goes when they get ready to put the frame together.
Marriage marks are mostly associated with frames that were scribed together -- each piece being custom fitted to its exact location, and therefore different than the other similar pieces. In scribe frames, it's common for each timber at a specific intersection to be labeled with it's own unique mark as you can see in many of these photos.
Here's an example from an 1850's building in Graniteville, SC.
You'll also notice that the marks are Roman numerals. That's the most commonly seen labeling system. It's faster and easier tor cut the straight lines of Roman numerals with a chisel or race knife as opposed to the curving Arabic numerals such as 8 and 5. Often times a "flag" or other modifier would indicate a specific side of a building or floor level. The use of modifiers keeps the carpenter from using numbers like LXXVIII -- Each wall might start at I and the north wall may have a flag left while the south wall has a flag right. Or perhaps the north wall is cut with a 2" chisel and the south wall a 1" chisel.
There is an incredible variation among marriage marks from one region or country to the next -- and even within the same area you can see several different systems that were used at the same time. Unfortunately, we don't have a comprehensive understanding of how many different systems were used or their distribution even in any one country. Anyone looking for a topic for their master's thesis?
I've included a few photos from buildings we've worked on, built, or studied.
1670 era indentured servant's quarters
at Charles Towne Landing State Park near Charleston, SC.
Posted on July 22, 2009 by Gabel
Folks sometimes ask why timber framers place an evergreen bough on the peak of the frame after a raising. The short answer--tradition. But I'll take a stab at the long answer, since there isn't much information out there about this tradition.
"Topping off" a new frame is a practice that has been around for hundreds of years. It's the act of placing a bough on the highest peak of a newly completed frame. The bough is always an evergreen. I have used pine, cedar, magnolia, and even a discarded Christmas tree.
Ask ten timber framers about topping off the frame and you'll get ten slightly different answers. But the common thread is that the whetting bush is placed as a symbol of thanksgiving and respect. Some say it gives thanks to the forest for providing timber for a new home. Some say it gives thanks for a safe raising. A few simply say it's "good luck."
Whatever their beliefs are, topping off the frame is a special time for each person. For the folks starting life in a new home, it can be almost like a dedication ceremony. For the carpenters who built the frame, it's a chance to stand back and see the fruit of their labor. For everyone present, it's a moment of celebration.
For me personally, placing a whetting bush is a chance to stop and smell the roses. Finishing a job well done is satisfying on a basic human level. Then there's the appreciation I feel for my trade and my fellow carpenters, and the thankfulness I feel for a safe raising and for our renewable resource of timber.
Posted on July 22, 2009 by Gabel
The Snap (sometimes called the French Snap) is an old framer's shortcut. The trick is to saw one of your tenon shoulders, roll the stick twice, and saw the end cut down to the same depth as the shoulder cut you just made. Then strike the waste firmly with a heavy mallet or the poll of your axe and it will split the grain along the cheek of the tenon. This saves you from sawing half of the end cut and splitting one tenon cheek.
Posted on July 10, 2009 by Gabel
I have found a website that everyone who is interested in traditional carptnety should find fascinating. Here's the link.
Carpenters from Europe and Beyond...
And here's a description pulled from the site...
"A new website by France's Ministry of Culture and Communication is devoted to carpenters and their work. The site sketches portraits of about a dozen men and women who, although they came to carpentry via different routes (family tradition, compagnonnage, apprenticeship or by teaching themselves), share the same passion for traditional techniques and hand craftsmanship, as well as an interest in ancient knowledge. A rich collection of multimedia brings together historic documents and contemporary accounts, reveals some of the secrets of France's ancient trade guilds, or compagnonnage, and presents images of carpenters throughout history. This is a living laboratory, based on gestures of the woodworking trade, and one that sketches a portrait of a heritage that is both alive and changing, both physical and ethereal."
Wow. Now that's cool. What if Americans valued this part of our culture to this extent?
Posted on April 11, 2008 by Ansley Holder
WHERE do two timber framers from Georgia make their television debut discussing a hand tool commonly used to build historic reproduction timber frames and repair historic timber frames? You guessed it--on the History Channel. ("Historic timber frames" was a pretty good hint--I made it really easy for ya'll!) An upcoming episode of the wildly popular television program Modern Marvels will feature Holder Bros. Timber Frames co-owners Whit and Gabel Holder demonstrating the axes and hand-hewing techniques they use in their timber framing work.
WHO attracted the attention of the Modern Marvels producers? Gabel Holder wrote a timber frame blog about one of his favorite tools, the axe, and the producers found Gabel's blog post on the Holder Bros. Timber Frames web site while doing research for the upcoming episode.
WHAT will the timber framers demonstrate or talk about on the Modern Marvels program? Whit and Gabel will demonstrate converting a round log into a hand-hewn beam for a timber frame using only axes. They will show their collection of axes and describe the various different uses for each one.
WHY is the axe important to hand hewing and building timber frames? The axe has been crucial to humans for building shelter for thousands of years. Before sawmills, square timbers to build with were hand-hewn from round logs using a felling axe and a broad axe. The axe and its proper use allow Holder Bros. to create accurate reproductions of historic timber frames and repair historic timber frames. Using the proper techniques and tools to create hand-hewn timbers makes a night and day difference from the faux hand-hewn effect accomplished with electric machines. If you want something to look hand-hewn, it should really be hewn by hand.
WHEN will the episode air? The episode featuring timber framers Whit and Gabel Holder is scheduled to air on the History Channel on May 7th.
Tagged: timber frame, timber framing, historic timber framing, modern marvels, hand hewn timber frame, traditional timber framing, hand hewn timbers, timber frame georgia, timber frame restoration | 2 comments
Posted on January 11, 2008 by Ansley Holder
Whit and I recently took a trip to Charleston for a few days around Christmas. While we were there, we visited the Charles Towne Landing State Park where Holder Bros. built a timber frame a year ago for the historic architecture exhibit at the park. It was a gorgeous, warm day for December and we walked from the Visitor's Center to the exhibit. (When you go, be sure to spend some time in the Visitor's Center. It has interesting, interactive exhibits about the settlement that was on the site of this state park. It's really great for kids.)
We completed this historic replica timber frame in December 2006 and visited the state park while in Charleston in March 2007 demonstrating timber framing at the Masters of the Building Arts Festival. So this was our second visit to see the timber frame in 2007. The exhibit is complete now; the timber frame has been furnished with furniture and housewares that would have been used there in the late 1600s. This timber frame was meant to show park visitors what sort of structure workers in the colony lived in while at the original settlement of Charles Towne. The building was built using the traditional methods and materials of timber framing that the colonists would have used to build a dwelling.
The timber frame sits off of the walking path, on a little point of land that juts into the river. When you are standing at the back of the timber frame building looking at the trees, marsh, and water and you can't hear any cars or other modern "city" noises, you can easily imagine that this is indeed what it looked like over 300 years ago.
While Whit was inside taking pictures, I was watching people stare in awe at the timber frame and what sort of building that people were able to construct during that time period. It is very rewarding to know that we played a part in educating people about timber framing. We created something for people to see and experience, to show them what life was like during that crucial period in American history. That appreciation of what came before us is what drives our passion for building historic timber frames and working on restoration and preservation of timber frame structures.
Posted on January 02, 2008 by Ansley Holder
In addition to building timber frames, we are also building relationships with each one of our clients.
We have been extremely fortunate to work for many wonderful people over the years, including private individuals and commercial businesses, and we have enjoyed getting to know them professionally and personally. The relationships we develop with our clients are extremely important to us.
We were recently invited to attend a community event held in one of our recent timber frame projects. The timber frame is an 1860's barn that was relocated to Morgan County, Georgia. We repaired and replaced many of the original timbers, and also added on to the original barn.
The event was a fund raiser for a local hospital and was hosted by our clients in their newly completed "antique" timber frame. It was a very enjoyable evening and we were thrilled to see our clients' satisfaction and pride each time a guest complimented their beautiful timer framed building!