photo Mark Crabtree
Gathering on the Guelph (Ontario) Bridge, 1992.
The Guild is a nonprofit organized exclusively for educational purposes to
provide training programs for timber framers,
disseminate information about timber framing and timber frame building design,
display the art of timber framing to the public, and
serve as a general center of timber framing information for the professional and general public alike.
The Timber Framers Guild began in 1984 as a nonprofit educational association. A core group met in their houses and workshops and called a charter conference in June 1985. Some 200 enthusiastic people took part, in a spirit of discovery and fellowship that remains very much alive today.
Since 1985, the Guild has grown sevenfold, maintaining a program of national and regional conferences, sponsoring projects and workshops, creating a U.S. Dept. of Labor–certified apprentice program, and publishing a monthly newsletter, Scantlings, and a quarterly journal, Timber Framing. Leadership is provided by a nine-member elected board who appoint an executive director. Sub-groups include the Traditional Timberframe Resrach and Advisorgy Group and the Timber Frame Engineering Council.
What is timber framing?
Timber framing has been practiced for centuries, and in North America we still build most of our houses and many of our larger buildings of wood. But there are different ways of making the frame or skeleton of the structure. Whereas light frame construction includes many slender sticks of wood simply cut to length and nailed together, a timber frame structure uses fewer, much larger members, shaped at their connections to lock together.
Light frame construction, even when carefully done, is considered rough carpentry, and in dwellings it is always concealed by finished walls and ceilings. Modern timber frame work, by contrast, is generally exposed, and timbers can be as finely prepared as the skill and care of the craftsman allow. Today’s timber-framed house combines the best of the old techniques with the advantages of the new for structural integrity and energy efficiency.