Timber Frame Design & Joinery Decisions

classroom with students

In this course, we will cover the architectural and structural basics for designing timber frame structures that are both functional and beautiful. It is geared towards timber framers who want to know where to place timbers, how to size them, which wooden joints to select, and why. 

We will cover design and drafting principles required of professionals working in the trade who should also be aware of the concerns of other subcontractors. You'll discover how to apply a timber structural grid to "bubble diagrams" and see how this grid then generates working drawings from which to estimate costs and schedule the construction. Blueprint reading and standards for architectural drawings will be covered, as well as drafting principles and techniques for quickly sketching details and perspectives. 

Principles of joinery and pegging design will be examined, and the various ways of communicating joinery specifications through callout systems. Basic timber engineering, including sizing beams, will also be covered.

Determining the loads on joints will help you decide the capabilities and limitations of various mortise and tenon connections, including where to place the wooden pins and how many to use. We will look at the characteristics of the different wood species used in timber framing and the advantages of each. The course includes a history of the craft, the anatomy of a timber frame, and the development of various frame styles and layout systems. 

Recommended Reading

Additional Reading

A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction by Christopher Alexander, Sara Ishikawa, & Murray Silverstein, et al (Oxford University)

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