Frames of Heart

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 being in a real forest. Light plays off the broad surfaces of wood. There is a fresh, warm smell. A dignified silence. A regal span of vertical space. A certainty of lastingness. And also 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 project; a large residence built within the lovely Cuyahoga River Valley here in Northeastern Ohio. He served as sawyer for that project, custom-cutting beams at the construction site 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.

Since then, we’ve been looking for ways to be involved in more such projects.

More than any other building technique, 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.

Love and respect for nature is required in responsibly harvesting the trees. Artisanal skill is needed to mill the beams for optimal performance and beauty, and to craft the joints that will endure for generations. The ultimate balance of head and heart.

The goal of this blog is to address both within a discussion of the craft of timber framing. Join us on this journey.