Timber Frames

Somewhere during your research on the ins and outs of building a timber frame home, you've probably come across some fairly unfamiliar terminology. Upon first glance, some of the terms used to describe construction and raising processes can be very confusing. To help you understand some of what's being said to describe parts of the process, we've put together a quick little glossary of timber framing terms.

NOTE: By no means is this a comprehensive listing! The terms and definitions you'll find below are just some of the most commonly-used in the craft. If you'd like a more comprehensive list of timber framing terms and what they mean, please feel free to send us a message or give us a call today.


BEAM – Used to describe a horizontal timber standing in a structure.

BENT – Load-bearing structures that are joined on the ground and then raised to comprise the front, center, and back of a traditional timber frame structure.

BRACE – Timber supports that are placed diagonally in the corners of a frame to reinforce the structure.

BUTT – Refers to simple square-cut joints that connect by “butting” up against each other.

CHAMFER – A 45-degree routed edge that primarily serves as a decorative flourish, but can also serve as a safety measure to prevent injury related to coming in contact with sharp timber edges.

Timber Frame Anatomy - Home w. purlins

DOVETAIL – A decorative but functionally strong joint that fans out in the shape of a dove's tail and locks into a similarly-shaped pocket.

GIRT – Horizontal timbers within and surrounding bents that serve as a frame for upper levels of a timber frame structure.

GREEN – Used to refer to timber that still contains some degree of moisture. Most of the timbers used to construct your frame will be “green” timbers.

GUNSTOCK POST – A vertical support in a bent that allows formations of intersections between beams and other supports.

HAMMER BEAM – A tie beam used in open trusses to provide structural support to walls.


JOIST – Horizontal timber beams that bear the weight of flooring and serve as ceiling supports.

KING POST – A timber that serves as a crucial center point of intersection for other timbers in a truss.

MORTISE – The “male” connective end of a timber.

POST – Used to describe any vertical timber in a frame.

PURLIN – A horizontal reinforcement beam found at the top of a timber bent. These timbers support the roof deck.

Timber Frame Anatomy - Exploded Connection

QUEEN POST – A vertical timber used as one of two supports in a truss. Can be used in conjunction with or as an alternative to a king post.

RAFTER – A horizontal timber that's used as a roof support.

RECLAIMED – A term used to describe “recycled” timbers gathered from previously-standing structures for use in a timber framing project.

SUMMER BEAM – A beam used as a central weight support in larger open areas.

SPLINE – A thin piece of wood used as a way to reinforce timbers or splice them together.

Timber Frame Anatomy - Pavilion Plans

TENON – The “female” connective end of a timber, cut to match the shape and size of the mortise for structural support.

THROUGH JOINT – A joint in which a tenon passes completely through the mortise.

TREE NAILS – Wooden pegs used to reinforce or hold connection between a mortise and tenon.

If you'd like to learn more about the terminology used for timber framing, feel free to get in touch with us today! We'll be more than happy to assist you in your learning journey.

Pavilions, just like any other load bearing structure, start with a foundation.  There are various options for transmitting gravity loads to the Earth and the decision on which route to take usually happens in the design phase.  Things to consider include snow load (live load), pavilion weight (dead load), and site conditions.  Site conditions are generally the same once preparations have been made for the pavilion raising.  Soil conditions have already been evaluated and grading and excavation has been completed.  At this point it is up to the general contractor, home owner and timber frame supplier to decide which method to use to anchor the structure.

Foundations for a timber frame pavilion

Here at Homestead Timber Frames, we offer detailed suggestions on how to construct the foundation.  We will specify where to pour a simple slab and where to reinforce for our timber post locations (rebar is sometimes required for larger pavilions).  Most of the time the pavilion posts sit directly on the slab or sit on raised pilasters.  In every case we specify a piece of Plexiglas to mount under the post which prevents the timber frame from wicking moisture out of the concrete.

timber frame pavilion foundation

Moving on, once the concrete is in place and reinforced in the required locations, our crew begins the installation of Timberlinx.   Timberlinx is a commonly used fastening system to secure timber elements to each other or to foundations.  We prefer using Timberlinx over other systems for mounting our pavilion post feet.  First, a hole is drilled into the concrete at the specified location and to the appropriate depth.  Then a threaded bolt is inserted, leveled, and epoxied into place.  Once the epoxy dries we fasten the top Timberlinx cylinder to the rod leaving it proud of the concrete as specified.  Thirdly, the frame is raised and posts (with pre-drilled holes at their bases) are set down onto the Plexiglas, sliding the Timberlinx into the post.  Finally, the specified Timberlinx screw is inserted into the side of the post and tightened, thus securing the post to the foundation.  A wooden plug is used to conceal this connection and is sanded flush with the outside face of the post.  Almost the trick of a street performer, the post base connection is hidden giving the frame a very clean appearance.  Constructing an accurate and strong foundation is the most important step in preparing to raise a timber frame pavilion, thus our crew often makes a special trip to measure and evaluate the work before raising a pavilion.  Quality from the ground up you could say!

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.

Common Roof Styles

Considering a pavilion roof usually starts with the question of roof style. The most popular styles are gabled and hipped. A gable roof has a peak running parallel with the eaves. Principle 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 funning from each corner to the high point) are the supporting members used in this style of roof.

Gable Roof option for timber frame pavilion

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 an 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.

hip roof for custom timber frame pavilion
Other Roof styles

Along with the most common styles of roofing there are others that are also worth mentioning. The mono-pitch or shed roof style lends itself well to a timber frame as it serves with function and

timber frame pavilion with cross gabled roof

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, as well as provide channels to run electrical wiring, keeping it secure for the elements. 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!

shed roof for outdoor timber frame pavilion

Using your own timber to build your timber frame home is a great idea. But as with all things, there are pros and cons of doing so. This article is going to outline a few of these to help you make an educated decision. Which trees do I cut down? How do I know what is best and where do I start? All good questions and we are here to help you with them.

Timber framing is a perfect process for someone who values a fine custom product. We have always been known as a company that lets you sit behind the wheel of your project, start to finish. We empower you to make the big decisions throughout the building process, from planning to even using your timber. Take it from us - nothing says "custom" more than using your timber.


Our team enjoys watching as you take the lead and drive the process for your project. From beginning the design process to driving the pegs, we want you to enjoy every step of the journey. This includes determining which timbers you will want to have your structure built out of. Wood species can be confusing and we have addressed that in another of our blogs. We want to talk today about using your own timbers and how to get there from here.

Choosing your timbers wisely

In the bigger picture, using your timber for your build can be a double-edged sword. Below we've listed three pros and three cons of using your timber for a timber frame project.

The Pros of Using Your Own Timber

The Cons of Using Your Own Timber

Larch forest logs

If you are still questioning whether or not you should use your timber for your timber frame project? Please give us a call with any questions regarding the process of selecting the perfect timbers for your project. We're always happy to do what we can to help you select the right materials for your timber frame project.

Timbers are heavy! How do we handle the weight safely?

timber frames

In building their first timber frame, Homestead Timber Frames Founders Bruce and Cyndy Gardner lashed timbers to a rusty home built boom pole hooked to an ancient tractor. The contraption was only marginally better than sliding the timbers along the ground with a rope tied to the truck bumper. Either solution would take about the same amount of time but the boom pole choice kept damage down to a minimum. To move a timber a short distance my brother and I simply picked it up and put it where it needed to go.

building under construction with heavy timber frames

The best choice of equipment for moving timbers is a forklift. If you could borrow or buy one of these nifty pieces of equipment with tires large enough so that you don't get stuck in your storage area that would be ideal! Your second choice could be a tractor with forks. Next up is a hand pushed timber cart - home built or purchased - on which to balance a timber one at a time. Beyond these choices you could use rollers, possibly adding a pick-up tuck to the mix. Last in lime is to rely on a strong back and a few friends.

building with timber frames

I listed this question about weight first in line because it is just that. If your timber frame project requires 7,000 board feet of green oak (a full timber frame for an 1,800 square foot home) you will be unloading and working with 50,000 pounds of wood. You do not want to figure this one out later.

Timber frames are heavy and durable

You may consider using a lighter weight wood species such as kiln dried Douglas fir which weighs half as much as green oak. You could shorten clear spans so that smaller timbers can be used. You may decide to timber frame a portion of the structure and use conventional lumber for the balance to lessen the lifting and speed up the building schedule.

When it comes to enjoying your timber frame pavilion after the sun sets or during warmer climates, the addition of lighting, ceiling fans, and electrical outlets can transform your outdoor space into a versatile entertainment area. The challenge, however, lies in integrating electrical service within the open structure of a timber frame pavilion while ensuring the wiring is both safe and invisible. Over the years, we have honed several effective techniques to meet these challenges head-on, ensuring our clients can enjoy their pavilions to the fullest.

Our Wiring Objectives

Our primary goals when wiring a timber frame pavilion are:

Planning and Implementation

The first step involves detailed planning. We begin by listing all the fixtures and amenities our client desires, from lighting to fans and outlets. We provide expert placement suggestions that not only avoid structural joints but also maximize the aesthetic and functional impact of each element. Following client approval, we identify the optimal wiring routes and methods.

Our preparatory work includes detailed shop drawings that feature channels or chases for wiring and specially designed pockets for electrical boxes. These provisions accommodate everything from lighting and fans to switches and outlets, ensuring they integrate seamlessly with the structure. We ingeniously create channels atop roof timbers for wiring, which is laid after the timber frame is erected but before the roof decking is installed. Ceiling boxes for lights and fans are flush-mounted on the underside of timbers, prepared in advance to facilitate the electrician's work.

Overcoming Challenges with Innovation

Timber frame posts offer a unique challenge, especially when all sides are exposed and visible. To address this, we developed a novel two-step channel approach. The initial, deeper channel houses the wiring, while a secondary, wider but shallower channel is cut over the first. After the frame is up, the electrician places the wiring in the deeper channel. A fillet strip, crafted from the same material as the frame, is then installed over this channel, flush with the post's surface, and can be removed for future wiring updates if needed.

This innovative technique ensures that once the timber frame pavilion is complete, the wiring remains entirely hidden from view. While we stop short of calling it magic, the seamless integration of modern electrical conveniences into these traditional structures is indeed a kind of magic, allowing for a blend of rustic beauty with contemporary comfort.


Wiring a timber frame pavilion requires thoughtful planning, skilled execution, and creative solutions to ensure the electrical installations are safe, functional, and invisible, enhancing the enjoyment of these beautiful outdoor spaces without compromising their aesthetic integrity. Through our dedicated approach and innovative techniques, we make it possible for our clients to enjoy their timber frame pavilions under any conditions, whether it's basking in the glow of ambient lighting or staying cool under the breeze of a ceiling fan.

Right off the bat, we can tell you that pole barns and timber frame barns are completely different structures. The only real similarity between the two is that both use strong hardwood as the main frame of the structure. Well, we also count the fact that both structures are barns. That's where the similarities end.

In every single way, from conception to build, there are many crucial differences between timber frame and pole construction barns. Today, we're going to examine some of the most important ones.


Because of the intricate parts and joinery required to hold the heavy timber components of a timber frame together, a timber frame barn requires a more complex design. When designing and laying out a timber frame barn, you must consider the proper placement of such elements as:

As well as the placement of mortise and tenon connectors to ensure that the frame of your barn is strong and structurally sound.

Pole barns do not require the same intricate joinery for the strength and solidity. In fact, much of a pole barns strength comes from the posts are buried in the ground. They also do not use heavy timber in their construction, instead requiring wood that is smaller and more lightweight. Because of these things, the design of a pole barn does not need to be as complex as that of a timber frame barn.


Pole barns are often prefabricated, meaning that after you choose a design and are shipped a kit. These kits are simple enough to build for either the DIY enthusiast and some friends or a small crew that has basic knowledge of construction. All you have to do is dig holes for your poles – no foundation required – and put it all together. Simply stated, pole barns are simple buildings for keeping farming equipment, storing hay, or possibly housing livestock.

Timber frame barns are designed to meet the needs of our clients. Unlike pole barns, a permanent foundation is required to create a strong, solid base for your timber frame barn. The heart of your timber frame structure is comprised of bents. These bents are assembled on site by experienced joiners due to the complex joinery required to hold each piece together. Because of the weight of timber frame barn bents, they must be raised by cranes. While this sounds like a time-intensive, costly process, it's all worth it. Timber frame barns and all timber frame structures are built to be enjoyed for decades to come.

Timber frame barns: the solution to today's more extreme winds, tornadoes and hurricanes. That's why we build timber frame barns, not pole barns


When you're trying to choose between a pole barn or a timber frame barn, there are two things you should consider:

Pole barns ultimately cost less than timber frame barns. This is partly due to their prefabricated nature and because pole barns are not built to last for generations. If you're looking for something with more uses than general storage that can stick around longer than a few decades, then a pole barn is not for you.

Timber frame barns are more expensive, but you truly get what you pay for. If treated right and maintained well, a timber frame barn can stick around for centuries. Don't believe us? Check out some of the Renaissance timber architecture found in many European and Scandinavian countries that still stands today. Timber frames cost more in part because of the labor intensive techniques used in building them. Much of the cost is attributed to the building processes used, and the labor involved, but having your building expertly put together by experienced joiners means that you'll get a quality building that you'll get many, many uses out of.

Timber frame barn with adjoining timber frame patio

Now you know how that pole barns and timber frame barns are completely different structures. Still curious as to whether or not a pole barn or a timber frame barn is right for you? Give us a call at (931) 484-7059 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a quick chat with us. Our timber framing experts will be more than happy to help you find the solution that best fits your needs!

A timber frame airplane hangar is likely something you have never thought of owning. After all, most hangars are made of metal, which is sold as being more durable and offering more protection for your planes, helicopters, jets or even your collectible antique cars.

Over the last few years, metal plane hangars being the norm has changed.

Timber Frame Hangars-strong with protection against the elements
Timber Frame Hangars

Commercial clients have started looking more toward timber frame structures in recent years as a more reliable and stable structure type to replace metal and stone. This includes timber framed airplane hangars. While the rustic beauty of a timber frame airplane hangar is certainly more appealing than the cold, unfeeling aesthetic of metal, those who seek to have timber frame plane hangars built are quickly discovering that these structures offer more benefits than traditional metal hangars.

If you're looking to have a plane hangar built, we invite you to stick around. Today, we're going to discuss some of the top benefits of having a timber frame airplane hangar.

timber frame airplane hangar


Metal is durable, sure, but when stacked against elements such as:

Metal plane hangars tend to have a fairly short lifespan, unless you're willing to pay a lot of money for a lot of maintenance. Without that attention, metal plane hangars tend to corrode and rust, leading to structural failures such as bending and collapses. With a well-designed and expertly constructed timber frame airplane hangar, you'll get a durable structure that can easily stand up to the most harsh elements without bending, buckling, or breaking, and will last for years to come.

artist rendering corner view of custom timber framing for small plane hangar


As mentioned above, metal requires a great deal of maintenance to keep it from wearing out before its time. It costs a great deal of money and time to prevent rust and corrosion from eating your metal plane hangar away inside and out. From extensive pressure washing on the outside to using caustic metal cleaning solutions to preserve the inside, metal plane hangar maintenance is not only costly, it can also be hazardous to both your aircraft and your health.

Maintaining a timber frame airplane hangar is nowhere near as intensive, costly or harmful as maintaining a metal airplane hangar. With natural polishes and waxes that are designed to preserve your timber and are often applied just before or during a raising, your timber frame plane hangar should be able to go without reapplication of preserving polishes or waxes for years to come. All you need to do is keep your hangar clean and presentable!


Perhaps the biggest, and most-lasting benefit, of owning a timber frame airplane hangar is knowing that you're playing a role in helping reduce carbon emissions. It has been found that timber frame structures both play an active role in reducing the amount of carbon in the air and the construction and raising processes emit less carbon in the air than fabrication of steel parts. Steel structures alone tend to emit a great deal of carbon back into the air, making them somewhat harmful to the environment just by even standing. With strong timber capturing the emissions both in the air and from your aircraft, you're drastically reducing carbon footprint. Isn't that cool?

Timber frame airplane hangars offer complete customization

If you're still on the fence about your next plane hangar being a timber frame, let us help you make the leap! Our trusted timber framing experts are always happy to discuss the benefits of any kind of timber frame structure. Chat with us today or schedule an appointment to meet us at the office by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at (931) 484-7059!

We all work hard to be able to have nice things, things that we value. Upon acquiring these things, we tend to take good care of them so that they will last a long time. Vehicles are one of the most expensive things most of us own and wanting to protect them for as long as possible is important. This is where the timber frame carport comes in.

In the current building climate, costs are soaring and we look for ways to cut the cost of building a new home. Cutting out the garage may be one option and so adding a carport later is attractive to you. Maybe you have outgrown the garage your home has now and need an additional space to park the car? A timber frame carport is a great option not only because it adds the space you need but also because of the value it adds to your home.

FIGURING out the size

When wondering what size your timber frame carport needs to be you have to consider the vehicle(s) you are parking there. Here are a few helpful tips that will help you in your planning.

Other considerations

A timber frame carport can also serve as a gathering place for family on long weekends. It could be a great place to host a birthday or anniversary party. It can even be a relaxing place to sit quietly and listen to the rainfall. The uses are endless and only governed by your imagination. Our team can help you design the perfect carport for all of your needs. It is helpful to have an idea of how you would like to use the carport when beginning the design. Would you park one or two or even three cars under it? Would you need extra space for a lawnmower or bicycles? Perhaps you want additional space for a seating area. No matter what you use it for, the timber frame carport will be a valuable addition to your home.

Now that you know what to think about when planning your carport, call us today and let's get started on designing that perfect space for your home. That beautiful one of a kind timber frame carport. We know you will be glad you did. You can also visit Tennessee Pavilions for examples of pavilion styles that be transformed into that special carport for your home.

According to Nielsen’s Demand Institute, more than 40% of Americans between 50 and 64 are planning to move within the next five years. Many of these are looking to move into a retirement home, or building their "Forever Home." This may include downsizing, or simply moving into a home that requires less upkeep. No matter what the reason, there are certain things to think about when designing your forever home.

People have become aware that by being more active in their retirement years and planning for one-level living, being near good services for social integration and healthcare all adds up to being happy overall. Here is a list of our favorites when we begin the design phase for a couple building their forever home.

7 Design Considerations for Timber Frame Homes

  1. Main floor will be your living are for everything. Have all doors at grade level from entering the garage to the bathroom.
  2. Remember these things: four-foot-wide hallways, three-foot-wide interior doors, levered handles on doors, walk-in showers that are large enough for the possibility of a wheelchair down the road, higher toilets, grab bars in the shower and beside the toilets, and attention to kitchen layout for accessibility.
  3. Plan on having two areas in the home for each of you. These might be work/craft rooms, private office for writing, working from home, etc.; but you need a place of your own to create in.
  4. You might consider two master suites–a spacious one for you and the other for adult children/guests. The second one could be located on another level or even above the garage as an apartment.
  5. Position rooms for the best use of natural light and access to the outdoors. Remember to plan on outdoor spaces such as covered porches, sunny terraces and gardening areas, and incorporate your interior rooms for easy access.
  6. Ease of maintenance is of prime concern when selecting window types, siding, flooring and such.
  7. Remember, this is your home, where you plan on living out your life. Change your attitude and build this home without regard to resale value. That’s what your children will need to deal with–not you.

A new custom timber frame home is more economical to build than remodeling and adding adaptive features to an existing home. It’s much harder to fix later than it is to build for accessibility from the outset. You can’t make hallways wider. You have to take space from one area to adapt another.  Choosing a great designer and having thoughtful discussions about your life interests, goals and needs go a long way.

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