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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Timber Framing Fundamentals - A book review

comments (6) March 26th, 2012 in Blogs
ChuckB Charles Bickford, senior editor

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 -

posted in: Blogs, architecture, green building, framing, Design, timber-frame
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Comments (6)

Jim_Rogers Jim_Rogers writes: diygirleygirl:
There is a good book for building a shed about the size you want.
It is available from the guild at:

You can modify the frame in the book to the size you want.
Good luck with your project.

Jim Rogers
Timber framer
Proudly using a Vintage Tool.
Posted: 3:16 pm on April 16th

diygirleygirl diygirleygirl writes: Chuck B, thanks so much! I'll be sure to check it out.
Posted: 1:06 pm on April 4th

ChuckB ChuckB writes: Diygirlygirl, there's an article called "Build a Timber Frame Shed" by Will Beemer in FHB, issue 166 (Nov. 2004), pp. 94-99.
Posted: 8:50 am on April 2nd

katecyrus012 katecyrus012 writes: Timber window frames will last a lifetime as long as you regularly protect the wood from moisture. Any soft spongy wood needs to be replaced before rot sets in. Before embarking on bigger repairs, check to see if your opening frame has loose joints that can be easily repaired with dowels. If they're loose, simply cramp the frame together and drill two holes through the joint - making sure the drill bit passes all the way through the frame.

Timber posts Glen innes
Posted: 12:52 am on March 31st

diygirleygirl diygirleygirl writes: Hi!
I'm new here and stumbled across your article. I want a small shed in my yard this summer but feel lost on where to start. This book sounds like it might fit the bill - but does the book cover smaller projects like mine? I'm looking for step-by-step on building a timber frame for a shed no larger than 10'x14'.

Please advise, thanks!
Posted: 10:58 am on March 30th

stone_crusher stone_crusher writes: Good!
Posted: 4:16 am on March 29th

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