Timber Frames

Building With Heavy Timbers

July 19, 2023
Custom Timber Work starts with a great stock of timber posts, woods and beams

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.

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