What Is Traditional Timber Frame Joinery

Hamill Creek   |   Sep 6, 2019

The idea of building a timber frame home can be intimidating. One of the best ways to get more comfortable with the idea of endeavoring to build a home is to learn about the process and various parts involved. One of the most important pieces of any timber frame project is the timber frame joinery. In this blog, we’re going to discuss wood frame joinery in greater detail in hopes of offering some clarification regarding this key component.

What Is Joinery?

Traditional timber frame joinery is the time-tested method used to attach timbers in a timber frame project. It is the process of connecting timbers with wooden pegs, mortise, and tenons. It is an essential part of woodworking that has been around for centuries. It is the intersection between two or more timbers in post and beam and timber frame structures.

Joinery vs. Carpentry

It might be a surprise to learn that carpentry and joinery are not the same thing. Carpentry involves fitting floors and staircases. It includes putting in cabinets and shelves. Joinery is more about creating the build itself. It’s about crafting the door and window frames. It’s about constructing the trusses and stairs. Timber frame joinery is what attaches one piece together to the next. It is the wood frame joinery that is responsible for establishing the angles, forming the design, and creating the actual shape of the structure.

Mortise and Tenon Joinery

One of the most popular types of joinery is mortise and tenon. It is simple and strong. Typically, it connects two timbers at right angles, although other angles and variations are possible. The tenon fits into the mortise Once attached, the two timbers are then pegged together using OAK pegs  for additional strength. Another benefit of mortise and tenon timber frame joinery is that the most basic of woodworking tools can be used. Further, mortise and tenon joinery does not require additional screws or nails, yet is still extremely durable.

Keep in mind, however, that in order for mortise and tenon joinery to be successful, careful measuring, marking, and cutting are crucial. This is why the consideration of purchasing a timber frame kit is such a solid idea. Prefabricated mortise and tenon joinery is included in a kit. Further, it also includes the oak pegs, all the timber connecting hardware, and the heavy timber pieces themselves.

Additional Joinery Styles

Other styles of joinery exist as well, many of which incorporate mortise and tenon attachments. There is the shouldered mortise and tenon, the brace mortise and tenon, and the collar tie and rafter. Another style of classic connection in timber frame joinery and design is the king post with webs and finials.

Moving beyond mortise and tenon joinery, there are also dovetails, finials, rafter peak and ridge, post and connector, among others. Timber frame joinery and design is expansive in imagination. When you choose to pursue the creation of a timber frame structure, these details are instrumental in creating the home of your dreams.

In Closing

Fortunately, you aren’t required to design your home by yourself. There are skilled designers and architects familiar with all styles of timber frame joinery. It’s essential to have a solid team supporting your grand vision. The people who understand the intricacies of building a sound, sturdy timber frame home and are willing to take into account all of the details you seek to include are excited to help you. Perhaps you already have these people in mind. If this is the case, congratulations! If not, there is no need to worry. Hamill Creek has a team willing to design and build the timber frame home of your dreams with passion, talent, and professionalism. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions. We are here to help.

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