Our Timber Frame Construction Reflects Our Crafsmanship Approach

Douglas Fir timbers from the west coast and Oak timbers from mills in Pennsylvania and Ohio are stacked in our shop ready to begin the timber frame construction process. We transform the timbers to become timber frame homes all around the country. We accommodate most floor plans with our many customized layout designs that will meet engineering specifications in your area.

Click on the images and videos below to learn more.

Eric Laying Out the Timber

Your Timber Frame starts with a complete set of detailed shop drawings. This is where old world craftsmanship and new age computer software technology meet. Using computer drawings, we scribe into position all the mortise cuts, hole placements, tenon cut lines and housings.

Timbers Being Milled

Our timbers are milled on a joiner built in the 1800s for the Bessemer Railroad. This tool is unique to our company. Saw mill timber most generally hook and bow; this joiner allows us to straighten and square the timbers prior to layout. Unlike a four sided planer which follows the contour of the timber, this joiner brings it back straight and true. After the timbers are straightened and squared on the joiner it's off to the layout line.

Saw Cut and End Seal

With the layout complete we end cut the timbers then apply a beeswax end seal to slow the drying process.

This video demonstrates the saw cut and the end seal being applied.

Holes Being Drilled in Timber

We are now ready to start cutting your frame. All timbers are cut using hand tools, chisels, saws and drills as opposed to the new modern computer cutting machines.

The holes are made with a horizontal drill to assure a straight pin line though the timber.

Chain Morticer in Action

A chain morticer is used to cut in all necessary mortices to a specified width for the tenon; most mortices in the frame are two inches in width.

This video shows the chain morticer in action.

Using a Chisel for a Super Tight Fit

Using a chisel to add relief to the tenons allows for that super tight fit we are looking for in all our work. This is where a hands-on approach really makes the difference. Great pride is taken to fit all the joinery together like the perfect piece of furniture it is, a one of a kind creation of your dreams.

Braces

The wind braces used in the frame are generally made from 3'' x 6" stock. Tenons are cut on the braces allowing for a 1/2" relief to trim the mortise pocket while enhancing the beauty of the brace.

Pins being made

All the joinery is secured into place using hardwood pins made by a tool that allows us to adjust the size of the pin with just the right tolerance for a perfect fit. This picture shows the tool in our shop making pins with a square stock going in and the round pin coming out.

Finish Stack

After all the mill work is complete the timbers are stacked on stickers to control the movement of the timber.These bundles represent one Timber Frame home.

Using the Router

Once the foundation and deck are completed at the site location we begin the finishing process of router work, embellishing our timbers with chamfers and roundovers for a soft accent to the finish look of the frame that has great aesthetic appeal for all tastes.

Apply Finishing Oil

Finally timbers are belt sanded to a smooth finish and worked with the router again to sharpen the lines. We apply LandArk finishing oil with a hand rub application technique that brings out a luster finish.

Loaded truck

The timbers are allowed to dry then sanded and oiled a second time before bundling and loading them onto a semi-truck for delivery to your site.

Timber frame at site

A crane at the site off loads the timber bundles and pre-assembly of the bent profiles begins. The foundation, back fill, and installation of the first floor decking is completed by the general contractor prior to delivery. The general contractor is building your house with Atlantic being one of the many collaborators involved in completing the overall project. We also work along with the general contractor or home owner in the advisor capacity where we assist to erect the Timber Frame.

Crane lifting first bent

The crane raises the bent profiles into place. As soon as the first bent is set in place it's time for the second. This is one of the more critical moments in the frame erection requiring precise communication between the crane operator and the crew on the deck.

Second bent

With the second bent in place the crew now installs the connectors at the 8' level. These connecting timbers also support the loft joists. All the post connecting joints will be set into housings with radius braces at each post adding to the strength and beauty of the Timber Frame. Mortise and tenon joinery is now secured together with the hardwood pins.

Final bent

Several hours later the fourth bent profile is standing with connectors in the first two bays and one of the reverse dormers set into place. With all going well it’s not uncommon for the crew to off load and pre-assemble the bents the first day and by the end of the second day be well on their way to finishing the super structure for this home.

Finish Frame

Here stands a Timber Frame in all its beauty. It's hard to see the frame get covered at this point but it’s time for the enclosure with structural insulated panels, conventionally insulated. Most generally SIPs are used for the insulation wrap. We work directly with most panel manufacturers and will assist you with that choice.

Panels

With a pine brow hung from the gable end, Atlantic heads for home and the next Timber Frame project. At this point the panel crew from the panel manufacturer arrives at the site with a semi-truck loaded with panels. The crane is again used to off-load the panels and set them into place. Panels are generally pre-cut from the manufacturer for greater efficiency.

Completed house

Now that you've had a chance to view our services, it's time to pick a design for your home. Using your ideas, pictures or plans, Atlantic will work along with the general contractor, the design architect and you to design a Timber Frame home that meets your needs as well as the needs of all that are involved with building it.

Check out our Timber Frame Home Plans to get started. 

Some History of Timber Frame Construction

Timber frame construction as a building method dates back to around 500 B.C. The concept of the mortise and tenon joint developed during this period in places like China, Japan and Rome. For example, some of the world's oldest wooden structures can be found in Japan. The seventh century Horyu Buddhist temple was built using timber-framing techniques.

Timber framing was common in the United States until the late 1800s, until the industrial revolution came along and the need for mass production of houses to satisfy a growing population forced the industry to invent new methods. This demand caused sawmills to spring up around the country to produce dimensional lumber that could be easily transported and assembled. Home building transformed from a craft to a manufacturing and assembly process that required much less skill and time.  To this day that trend continues. 

To get started on the path of creating your hand-crafted timber frame home, contact us today.