A timber frame home is made from large wood timbers or beams. They are aesthetic and functional designs that please many homeowners who seek a more traditional avenue in home building. This is a do-it-yourself project that an accomplished woodworker or builder may take on. The design and production of the timber frame home is one that a group of individuals can also accomplish in a matter of days.
Design and Build - The first step is to design the home frame. There are many plans available for little or no cost through companies that build timber frames, or through online sources (see links below). Follow these plans if this is your first timber frame home, as the process can be confusing for a beginner. Another option is to design your own. Using the dimensions of your home you can create your own set of plans and turn them into a reality. It takes a knowledge of structures and design in order to create your own successful plan, however.
Finding the Timbers - Timbers are very large pieces of solid wood cut from whole trees. In most cases a single tree is turned into one timber frame piece. One strategy is to contact a timber frame builder. They will custom build your timbers for you, placing the notches into the pieces as you specify. If you are handy with wood, you can try to build your own timber frame pieces but you will need a large, log production band saw. Another option is to contact a lumber yard to inquire about custom timber frame cutting.
Construction - The construction of the home requires a use of a crane to assemble the roofing pieces and erect the side walls. Since timber frames are heavy, it will be impossible to install the roofing trusses without some form of mechanical assistance. The frame must be set on a solid foundation, either a concrete slab or a traditional bucket-style foundation. The foundation is capped and the floor frame is then laid on top. Walls are then built and the roof trusses installed on top of them. For a smaller one-story timber frame cabins a 20-foot crane will be sufficient but for large homes a 40-foot hydraulic crane or larger will be required.