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Choosing the Right Timber for Your Frame

January 30, 2024

You have a wide array of wood species to consider when choosing the right timber for your frame. Some of the key factors to include in making the best choice are:

  1. strength characteristics of the wood,
  2. color, texture, and durability of the wood,
  3. availability of the wood,
  4. environmental impact of harvesting, processing, and shipping the wood.

All timber-framing companies have wood species preferences. Homestead Timber Frames is located in the center of the grandest hardwood forest area in North America, so our location choice was spawned by access to local timber. Specifying and using timber local to us minimizes transportation costs, uses trees locally harvested from forests that naturally recover, allows our competence to grow by working within a narrow range of wood species, and provides our clients with a beautiful timber frame using timbers of known provenance and quality.

Homestead Timber Frames employs local White oak for interior timber frames. Timbers are graded by the skilled crew at Homestead Timber Frames and then carefully stored until use in a timber frame. White oak can be planed to a smooth surface and beautifully finished with our natural oil finish. Construction blemishes are easily renewed; white oak is traditional and durable; and the strength of the wood allows beautiful design flexibility. A properly designed white oak timber frame becomes an heirloom cherished for generations.

Exterior timber frames are most often built using Baldcypress timber. Exterior timber frames include pavilions, porches, exterior brackets, bridges, and gates. Baldcypress is available in large timber sizes of good quality and grows regionally. Baldcypress timbers gracefully accept surface treatments such as sanding or sandblasting and stain or paint well. If no finish is desired, Baldcypress weathers over time to a pleasing silver gray which requires little maintenance.

Homestead Timber Frames avoids using timber species that grow thousands of miles from us. Timbers from species such as the Redwoods may be sourced from ancient trees, irreplaceable in a dozen human lifespans. The same may be true for Western Red Cedar. The environmental impact and expense of transporting all Western woods across the Continent is easily avoided by using our excellent and locally available timber species. Come visit us and see the wood for yourself. We will give you a wood sample to take home with you to help you in choosing the right timber for your timber frame.

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