At Vermont Timber Works we still handcraft all of our frames using classic timber framing tools like framing chisels, mortising machines, beam saws, peg drills, slicks and more.
While many other timber framers have started using automated equipment for fabrication, we have found that it is still better, and more accurate, to use hand tools.
For design, we use state of the art computer CAD programs and develop detailed shop drawings. Then we use cutting tools to fabricate each timber individually and precisely.
Scroll down the page to see some of the tools we use to fabricate custom timber frames. Click here to download a list of tools that we bring onsite to raise a timber frame.
The following photos detail the different tools used to handcraft timber frames, from the beginning stages when the timber is still in log form, up to the final steps of using chisels and mallets to cut beam details.Have a Question?
AT THE SAWMILL
LOGS GOING UP THE CONVEYOR TO THE SAW MILL
We buy our hemlock and pine timbers from local mills in Vermont and New Hampshire and our douglas fir timbers come from Oregon. Timber can also come from California and Canada. In this picture, the bark is being stripped from logs at a sawmill.
WOOD-MIZER PORTABLE SAWMILL
SET UP OF THE PORTABLE WOOD-MIZER
Having a Wood-Mizer Portable Sawmill in the yard comes in handy when we need to re cut a piece of timber after it arrives from the supplier.
LAYING OUT TIMBER IN THE WORKSHOP
The timbers are brought into the shop and laid out by hand using the CAD generated design drawings. Accuracy is assured by a triple checking process. We use traditional measuring tools for the layout, like a framing square, bevel squares, etc. It is the most exact way since every timber is unique.
16" TIMBER SAW
A TIMBER SAW FOR BIG CUTS
Beam saws are used to cut the timbers to length, and to do angle cuts and compound cuts as shown here.
8" CIRCURLAR SAW
12" HAND HELD PLANER
DARIO BAND SAW
The band saw is a helpful tool when cutting more complicated and decorative timber frame designs.
CUTTING WITH A BAND SAW
The band saw is used for cutting curves and for other cuts that require an exacting level of accuracy.
USING THE SLOT CUTTING TOOL
Slots allow the Timbers to fit together securely and tightly once the frame is assembled.
Cutting mortise pockets for tenons to fit into is the mainstay of traditional joinery.
DRILL FOR PEGS
Peg holes need to be drilled anywhere a connection will be made to connect two timbers together.
DRILLING FOR PEGS
The peg holes are essential for the timber connections that use inserted pegs to secure the connection.
CHISEL & MALLET
USING THE MALLET
The mallet is used to strike the chisel to provide the force needed to make the cuts.
PEG SHARPENER -DISK SANDER
TIMBER FRAMERS WORKBENCH
TIMBER FRAMERS WORKBENCH WITH HAND HELD TOOLS
A typical work bench in our work shop will have saws, drills, and a variety of hand held tools used for cutting, finishing, and sanding timbers.