Timber framing is the oldest method of building wooden structures and has been practiced for over 2000 years throughout the world. The techniques used in timber framing date back to the early Greeks and can be seen in a variety of buildings, including 6th century Japanese temples, 13th century English manor homes, and 18th century American barns; many of which are still standing and in use today.
Timber framing was brought to America be European settlers and was the predominant method of wood construction in almost all structures, including barns, houses, schools, churches, and commercial buildings. With a seemingly endless supply of huge timbers taken from untouched forests, Colonial Americans were finally given the opportunity to build structures for themselves, instead of building elaborate homes or cathedrals for others. Over time, timber frames in America evolved, emphasizing simplicity, functionality, and affordability. Another new component in timber framing was the invention of large pre-designed frames that were raised by neighbors, allowing for a sense of community and realization of the American Dream.
In the mid-1800', as people moved west and the Industrial Age developed, the craft of timber framing began to rapidly disappear. Technology was developed to mass-produce nails, bolts, and small pieces of lumber to keep up with the demand created by western expansion. The craft of timber framing was replaced by "stick-framing" as the fundamental method of construction. The beauty, strength, and quality of timber framed buildings were sacrificed for the mass-produced, lower cost, and quicker built stud construction structures. Thus began the decline of the timber frame.
As with all good things, timer framing has come full circle and is being revived. Starting in the early 1970s, American carpenters and architects began rediscovering, studying, and improving upon the old timber frame techniques. Through their efforts, this ancient art has seen a revival, gaining popularity with people who seek long-lasting, Old-World quality structures that encompass attention to detail, beauty, and character.
At Free State Timbersmiths, we are using the same fundamental timber framing techniques that have been employed for centuries. Used in conjunction with modern advances and technology, we can build you a handcrafted home steeped in tradition that will withstand the test of time. To us, the old way is still the best