Build Your Own Timber Frame

Copyright 2008 by Kevin Shea, Tracie Shea, Morris Rosenthal

Building a Timber Frame

Copyright 2008 by Morris Rosenthal

All Rights Reserved

Guide to building a timber frame home

One casual onlooker to the frame construction process commented, "I couldn't even build the model!" It's always a good idea to have a scale model before you build your own house, and this is the 1:12 scale model of the Kevin built for his timber frame home. We started these pages with a series of photo essays on cutting the timer frame offsite. Getting the frame ready for raising day is only a small part of house building process, particularly if you build in the country. The first step was clearing a space at the top of Shea's wooded three acre lot to build the house on, digging a foundation hole, pouring a foundation and footings, bringing in the electric and phone utilities, and building a Title V compliant septic system.
If you choose to build a timber frame home, your first choice is whether cut the frame on or off site. If you cut your own frame offsite, don't forget to budget time and money for getting all of the frame timbers to the building site. Expect a good deal of checking (cracks in the timbers) unless you frame with expensive pre-dried timbers, like some of the artsy timber framing companies. After helping the Shea's build their own house, my own inclination (if I ever have my own house) would be to buy one, it's just too much work. Interestingly enough, timber framing is the predecessor of modern steel construction and of the reinforced concrete home building techniques used in Israel and around the world.
I'm just getting started searching for a house or a piece of property for myself in the South Western New Hampshire area, though I'm considering Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont as well. After six years of helping my friend with his timber frame in the country, which started with clearing the top of the lot and putting in a 600 ft driveway, I'm definitely leaning to buying an existing home. However, I'd consider a factory house if I found the right piece of land. I have a month before I'll be back in the area, so I'm getting started searching real estate sites of the Internet and will study up about the whole cost of ownership in the tri-state area, rather than getting stuck on just income tax, property tax or the cost to build or buy the house. I'm going to write about what I find as I go along because it helps me think things through, so check out the progress at:

Foner Books Home | Building a Timber Frame | Contact