Some timber framers use a CNC machine to cut their timbers, some do not, and some offer both hand cut timbers and CNC cut timbers. Offering both would seem to give you the most flexibility, but these machines are quite an investment.
CNC machines are great for simple timber designs with beams that aren’t too large and joinery that isn’t too complex. With a CNC machine, you can provide cut beams in no time compared to hand cutting each joint. They are great for timber frame kit homes.
We do not have a CNC machine in our shop. Many of our frames couldn’t have been run through a CNC machine even if we had one. The beams would have been too large — the joinery too complex — and many designs had some curved pieces or columns or logs.
We are a custom shop and we do custom work!
Nemacolin Woodlands Ski Lodge in Farmington, PA
Take a look at the complex steel joint where the braces connect with the log column. The braces for this frame represent tree branches. It’s a neat idea, and was a pretty big engineering challenge, which we love!
Camp Hayden – Heavy Timber Frame Dining Hall for the Fresh Air Fund
Similar to Nemacolin, The Fresh Air Fund Dining Hall is a complex frame. It has large beams, intricate steel joinery, and finials. It is another example of a project where a CNC machine wouldn’t have been much help.
Chapel for Holy Apostle’s – Heavy Timber Frame Octagon Tower
This timber frame chapel has glulam arches — a steel compression ring that is holding the trusses together — and bents that are connected to each other with purlins and steel strapping that surround the exterior of the frame.
We are crafts-men and crafts-women. We like to hand-cut our beams, because hand-cuts offer the most control, allow for more design options, and keep great people doing great work in our shop.
Thank you for stopping by our timber framer’s blog. If you’re interested in a custom timber frame, 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!