“It seems the happiest humans sprinkled throughout mankind’s history were those who found balance between head and heart, between intellect and emotion .… Yes, pay attention to frames of mind .… But pay equal attention to frames of heart ….”
(The First Year of Homeschooling Your Child, by Linda Dobson)
Standing inside a timber frame structure is like standing in a forest. Light plays off the broad surfaces of wood. There is a fresh, warm smell. A dignified silence. A regal span of vertical space. And a sense that the trees are still alive and growing, sheltering, protecting.
I first experienced this about 14 years ago, when Dan worked on his first timber frame; a residence built within the lovely Cuyahoga River Valley here in Northeastern Ohio. He served as sawyer for that project, custom-cutting beams onsite using the customers’ own trees. The house also included many “green” elements, including what at the time was the largest residential solar panel array in the state. We were both captivated by what we saw and learned.
More so than other building techniques, timber frames have the potential to reflect the individuality and values of their occupants. The owners of the Cuyahoga River Valley house love nature; they admire artisan-level craftsmanship; they invest deeply in their personal relationships; and they possess a sense of responsibility to future generations. All of this is reflected in their choice of timber framing as a construction method for their home.
Artisan skill is needed to mill beams for optimal strength and beauty, and to handcraft joints that come together with stunning precision. Respect for natural resources and a sense of duty to the future is inherent in the choice to responsibly harvest trees and to build using a method that takes a little longer, but pays dividends of endurance.
A proportionate balance of head and heart.
The goal of this blog is to address both within an exploration of the craft of timber framing. We want timber framing to be more widely known, loved, and utilized, as we believe it deserves. Join us on this journey!