Barn Homes and Beyond Blog

What is Timber Frame Design?

Timber frame design is based on the post and beam structural system. Also called "post and lintel," this is one of the oldest construction methods known.

Used by the Egyptians, Greeks and other early builders, the tradition arrived in New England from Europe and consisted of wooden posts and beams, cut and shaped by hand and connected using wooden mortise and tenon joinery.

These large, solid timbers were felled and shaped locally using axes and adzes, and then erected as "bents" into braced frames. The post and beam frame was structural, and not exposed to view after the seventeenth century. Instead, walls of lath and plaster, siding, and clapboards or shingles enclosed the frames, and any protruding posts were cased in pine.

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