What is the History of Timber Framing?

Timber framing is a traditional building method that was used worldwide in areas that had an abundant supply of wood. It can be traced back as far as 10,000 years, with archeological sites in Britain showing timber framed buildings from the Mesolithic period. As the use of timber as a building material grew, so did our understanding of how to construct it. The art of timber framing was refined by the English settlers who took their craft to America in the early 1600s. Today, timber framing is still the preferred method for building homes that are built to last generations.

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The craft of timber framing involves a skeleton of timbers that are held together with mortise and tenon joinery, and the space between the timbers is filled with wattle-and-daub or bricks to form a strong, resilient structure. Timber framed buildings were also frequently coated with lime wash. This was reapplied regularly and served as a waterproofing, a filler for shrinkage gaps, an insecticide and as a decorative coating. For information on Timber Frame Kits, visit https://merlintimberframe

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The layout of the timbers for a frame was historically done using either scribe carpentry or square rule carpentry. Scribe carpentry was a traditional European construction technique that remained common in North America until the 19th century. In a scribe frame each timber would fit in one specific place and therefore had to be scribed (marked) with the name of the timber on its end and where it should go. The other construction method, square rule carpentry, became popular in North America because it allowed the timber framers to utilise standard lumber sizes and avoid having to cut custom lengths.

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