Timber Framing Fundamentals – A book review
There are certain books that are seductively unreasonable, at least for some. Put me in the path of a book about building a lap strake pulling boat with a wineglass stern and I’m in la-la land for days. And someday I will build that boat, but not this year, nor the next. I just have other things that require my time.
But houses aren’t boats, usually, and a house is certainly a priority that demands your attention. And if you’re thinking about building a timber frame house, then you’d want a reasonable and informative book like this one: “Timber Framing Fundamentals” ($45, Timber Framers’ Guild, 2011) is a collection of forty articles originally published in the Guild’s quarterly journal, Timber Framing.
The scope of articles range from the plan and design phases through joinery and onto raising and enclosing a frame. There’s a nice mix of the high and low, too, so you get info on how to make a commander (the big wooden mallet used to assemble frames) and then eloquent mathematical discussions of frame loads and joinery engineering from veteran engineer Ed Levin. For the experienced carpenter, the book provides solid, non-project specific guidance on process and technique. For the novice, it’s a detailed overview of the entire process. The eighteen-page glossary and bibliography is almost worth the price alone.
As with any complex process, there isn’t one book that will give you everything you need to know, but this one is certainly an important addition to anyone’s collection of books on the craft of timber framing. For more information, go to the Guild’s website – www.tfguild.org.