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Wiring Your Timber Frame Pavilion

January 30, 2024
Covered timber frame pavilion for all-weather enjoyment

Timber Frame Pavilion owners would like to enjoy their pavilion after dark.  Some want ceiling fans.  Many appreciate electrical outlets to power lamps.  The challenge in providing electrical service in an open structure is one of safely hiding the wiring. We have developed a number of effective techniques to meet this challenge.

  Our wiring goals are:

 To provide safe wiring techniques

• To meet our client’s wiring requests

• To make the electrician’s task straightforward and efficient

• To make the wiring disappear

Our first step is that of placing on paper all the fixtures our client wants.  We offer placement suggestions that avoid wooden joints and that enhance lighting effects.  With our client’s approval we determine the best routes and techniques to use.  Our shop drawings include channels or chases for wiring and pockets for electrical boxes for lighting, fans, switches, and outlets.  We create channels on the top of roof timbers in which wiring is run after the timber frame is raised and before the roof decking is installed.  Ceiling boxes for lights and fans are inset flush into the bottom side of timbers and installed by us to make the electrician’s job straightforward.

Timber Frame Posts present their own challenge.  Posts that sit against a conventional wall are useful for wiring that does not show in the completed structure.  Often all faces of all posts are visible which requires us to be more creative.  We have invented the use of a two step channel.  The first channel is deeper and narrower than the second and will contain the wiring.  The second channel is wider and more shallow than the first and is cut directly over the first.  Once the timber frame is raised the electrician runs the wiring in the deeper channel.  With the wiring in place the local contractor installs a fillet strip—provided by us of the same material as the timber frame—over the deeper channel with wiring inside.  Typically the fillet strip, which sits flush with the surface of the post, is screwed in place so that it could be removed later should additional wiring be desired.  As the accompanying photographs show, once the timber frame is complete the wiring is invisible.  While we can’t claim that it’s magic, we do hope the result is magical.

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