Raising a 12×16 Timber Frame
A parts list and a close look as timbers come together as a structure
In the October/November 2004 issue of Fine Homebuilding (#166), Will Beemer, director of the Heartwood School in Massachusetts, describes a student exercise that involves all the major elements of timber framing: the construction and raising of a 12×16 structure. Here you’ll find some tips for timber framing, a Parts list, and a photo-essay of a recent raising. For Will’s article, see Fine Homebuilding #166, pp. 94-99.
This frame should be placed on a continuous foundation or piers placed under each post location.
- Before assembling any mortise and tenon joints, be sure that the mortises are clear of chips and other debris.
- It’s also a good idea to recheck tenons to make sure they’re not oversized. Before driving any pegs look into the peg hole to make sure it’s clear and the drawbore is not too great; you should be able to see at least half of the peg hole in the tenon.
- Pegs should be tapered to pull the drawbore up tight. Drive all pegs from the layout face, and hit them squarely to avoid splitting them.
- Be safe! Hard hats should be required for anyone working underneath. As few tools as necessary should be taken aloft during roof framing, and they should be well secured to their users. All work stops when a chisel is being used. Never leave a tool laying on a timber where it could fall and hit someone below. Listen carefully to the raising leader, keep unnecessary chatter to a minimum and always be aware of what’s going on around you.
Parts list for 12×16 timber frame
- Posts / 7×7 / 6 at 10 ft.
- Sills / 8×8 / 2 at 12 ft., 2 at 16 ft.
- Joists / 5×7 / 5 at 12 ft.
- Tie beams / 7×8 / 3 at 12 ft.
- Plates / 7×8 / 2 at 18 ft.
- Rafters / 5×5 / 18 at 10 ft.
- Loft joists / 4×6 / 4 at 8 ft.
- Mid-girts / 4×5 / 4 at 8 ft., 2 at 12 ft.
- Door posts / 4×5 / 2 at 10 ft.
/ 5×5 / 2 at 8 ft.
- Collars / 3×5 / 2 at 10 ft.
- Braces / 3×5 / 5 at 10 ft.
- Pegs (12 in. long) / 12 at 1-in. dia., 75 at 3/4-in. dia.
Note: The frame members specified here were cut from white pine and designed for this specific structure in western Massachussetts and may not be suitable for all locations. Please consult a structural engineer and your local building officials before you build.
Will Beemer is co-executive director of the Timber Framers Guild and director of the Heartwood School in Massachusetts (www.heartwoodschool.com) in Washington, Massachusetts. He has been timber-framing for 25 years. Photos: Chuck Bickford