Something that is commonly confused when it comes to timber is the difference between timber framing and post and beam construction. Hopefully, for those who are interested in the differences, I can shed a little light on what a separates a timber framed structure and a post and beam structure.
The major difference, really the only difference, is the type of joinery that is used. A timber framed building uses traditional joinery, like mortise and tenon, dovetails, and tongue and fork (to name a few) to form the connections. The mortise and tenon joint is used to make the majority of timber framed connections and has been the basis for timber framed projects since the very beginning.
Post and beam construction has a very similar aesthetic, and the joints can look similar, but the stark difference is the connection is made with plates and bolts. Some post and beam projects are done without the plates. For those projects, the connection is made by lag bolting the timber components together.
Vermont Timber Works has used traditional joinery from day one. We use it even when the project calls for steel joinery. Although the steel may help the strength of the connection, it is applied over a connection that has already been made with mortises and tenons.
There is no doubt that steel can bring a lot to the table when it comes to the design and overall concept of a frame, especially when someone is trying to marry a rustic look with an industrial look. We often use steel as aesthetic component of a frame. There is no right or wrong when it comes to the concept & design of your timber frame project. (Unless, of course, the structure is not going to stand. Then it’s not an ideal concept.) Everyone has different tastes. Just know that traditional joinery will be the backbone, figuratively and literally, when you build a timber frame with Vermont Timber Works.
Well, there you go, that’s the difference between traditional timber frame construction and generic post and beam.
As always, thank you for stopping by our timber framers’ blog! If you like this post, or have any timber work questions, we invite you to get in contact, ask an expert, or share your thoughts in the comment section below.