Timberframe: The Art and Craft of the Post-And-Beam Home

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by: Norm Abram (Foreword), Norm Abram, Jamie Salomon

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Unlike conventional framing, which is destined to be hidden by other building materials, timberframe homes leave massive beams and smaller supports exposed to be seen and admired as a finished and an architectural element. Tedd Benson divides Timberframe: The Art and Craft of the Post-and-Beam Home into four sections--"In the Country," "On the Water," "In the Mountains," and "In Addition"--to reveal how the proud owners of timberframe dwellings strive to make those architectural elements fit their surroundings. This is not a how-to book--though there are plenty of sketches and even a few simplified plans sprinkled among 400 color photos--as much as an effort to foster appreciation and inspiration of this unique home style. With case-by-case overviews of 29 American homes from coast to coast, Benson explores a craftsmanship that was largely replaced by stud framing in the late 1800s with the development of the wire nail, the circular saw mill, and the need to build houses more quickly. But Benson also calls attention to a renewed interest in timberframe dwellings. Norm Abram, of This Old House fame, not only wrote the foreword to this book but also serves as a case study of someone incorporating this old framing technique into his new house. For Abram, the attraction to timberframing is its sense of durability. "I look at its sturdiness and know it will be standing for many decades, maybe a century or two," he writes. Another sign of timberframing's resurgence is seen in the recent selling off of more than 7 million board feet of old-growth timber from the defunct Long-Bell Lumber mill in Longview, Washington. As Benson tells the story, word about the auction spread quickly among a new breed of timberframers who knew that wood of that size and quantity might never be seen again. The bidding quickly rose above the meager means of the average timberframer, and it was later learned that Bill Gates purchased the timbers for his multimillion-dollar home in Seattle. --John Russell

From Library Journal
Benson is a master of the timberframe craft, in which large structural timbers are left exposed and thus enhance the decoration of a building. His third book on the topic is another classic in its own right. Benson runs a timber framing business from a hamlet in New Hampshire and is regularly featured on PBS, particularly This Old House. His craft is evident here, but his new book presents his art as wellAit is full of magnificent ideas and examples of thoughtful execution. Benson delineates two dozen projects of various sizes and styles. With 400 full-color photographs and dozens of line drawings, images are more prominent than text. The effect is nearly overwhelming, but it is leavened by an introduction from Norm Abram, the master carpenter of This Old House and New Yankee Workshop. Essential for woodworking collections. This may even find a place in art collections. (Index and epilogs not seen.)AAlexander Hartmann, Bloomsburg Univ. Lib., PA
Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.

Steve Thomas, host of This Old House
For many years it has been a dream of mine to build a timberframe home. One of these days, I'll realize that dream and when I do this book will help stoke the fires of my imagination, maybe I can even get my old friend, Tedd Benson, to give me a hand!

Governor Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire
Timberframing is a true art, and Tedd Benson practices it masterfully. The examples throughout this book are truly beautiful and showcase the simple elegance of post-and-beam construction. This book will show the country why Tedd Benson is a source of pride for New Hampshire.

About the Author
Tedd Benson has built more than 500 timberframe homes and commercial buildings. He is the author of The Timber-Frame Home and Building the Timber-Frame House and has been featured on PBS's This Old House.

Beams and More Beams
If you love beams, and more beams, lots of braces, and complex joints; then this book is for you.
If you prefer a more minimalist approach I'd suggest: "The Timber-Frame Home, Design, Construction, Finishing" by the same author. In that book this author wrote: "...frame design should simplify and reduce whenever possible, The best frames are those with the most economical use of timbers and the least-complicated joinery." I was disappointed that this book ignored that concept.
Most of the houses in this book are above 3500 sq feet with roughly a third at 5000 and up. If you want to see the extremes to which timberframing can be taken, this is the book for you.

Visually powerful architectural & design reference -- This colorful survey of the post and beam home examines a construction method which dates to the Middle Ages, and is the first to explore the design potentials of the form. 400 color photos, drawings and floor plans provide excellent architectural reference and design insights in this contemporary exploration of timberframe potentials. Visually powerful and highly recommended.


Beams! BEAMS!! -- This book is full of stunning photographs of timber frame homes, accompanied by engaging text both technical and philosophical. The book is divided into locations, such as prairie, mountain, and coastal homes. Not a guide to building, this is more like the ultimate coffee-table book.
I don't know one thing about architecture or homebuilding, but I enjoyed this book for its striking photos of awesome homes.

Very inspiring book, full of great timberframe examples! -- This great book starts off with a short history of timberframes and then showcases dozens of great timberframe homes. The homes cover all styles and price ranges and the picture quality is superb. This is a must buy for all timberframe home lovers!

Tedd Benson
The art and craft of the post-and-beam home
Timberframe explores the lush, varied design potential of this timeless architectural form. With 400 color photographs, drawings, and plans, the book showcases 23 homes and 6 timberframe additions that display the warmth, character, and versatility of today's timberframe home. For homeowners and fans of this classic building form, Timberframe is a stunning visual gallery and a compelling source of inspiration.
While most modern homes conceal their humble skeletons, the timberframe home honors the structure by displaying it for all to see. The elegant beauty of soaring wood timbers, each magnificently crafted to join with the next, suggests strength, safe haven, and permanence. Each home in Timberframe celebrates its wooden bones in its own way, from East Coast island traditional to Nebraska contemporary.
Ask This Old House's Norm Abram for the most respected name in timberframe design and construction and he'll cite Tedd Benson, the man single-handedly responsible for the popular national revival of this beloved, age-old construction form. Timberframe presents 25 years of Benson's craft and practice, with examples from the Rocky Mountains to New England. With styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, Timberframe takes you on a tour of the most beautiful post-and-beam homes in North America.
"For many years it has been a dream of mine to build a timberframe home. One of these days I'll realize that dream, and when I do this book will help stoke the fires of my imagination -- maybe I can even get my old friend, the author, to give me a hand!"
-- Steve Thomas. Host of This Old House
Winner of the Silver Award for second place in ForeWord Magazine's 1999 Book of the Year Award for the Home & Garden Category!
ForeWord Magazine, the independent publishing industry's leading trade and review journal, announced the winners of its annual Book of the Year Awards in March. ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award program was founded in 1998 to recognize the vital books published by small, independent and university presses. More than 1,000 titles were entered in the 1999 competition, and award-winners were selected in twenty-three categories.


Tedd Benson

The art and craft of the post-and-beam home

Prologue: The Art and Craft of the Timberframe

1 In the Country

Prairie Prospect: NEBRASKA
Home Spirit: VIRGINIA
Craftsman's Way: WASHINGTON
England West: COLORADO
Vaulted Dwelling: MASSACHUSETTS
Horse Haven: MARYLAND

2 On the Water

Island Sentinel: MASSACHUSETTS
Bras d'Or Ark: NOVA SCOTIA

3 In the Mountains

High Plains Salvage: MONTANA
Mountain Manor: MONTANA
Western Chateau: COLORADO
Chalet West: MONTANA
Snow Barn: VERMONT
Mining Hall: COLORADO

4 In Addition

Abundant Farm: NEW HAMPSHIRE
Timber Sanctum: NEW HAMPSHIRE
Thatched Nest: ENGLAND

Epilogue: In the Past

Today's timberframe homes are historical and contemporary, relevant and vigorous. Flexible in design and inherently beautiful, they give evidence to the fact that the centuries-old craft of timberframing has returned as a practical and environmentally sensitive building technique.

A modern timberframe is like a large piece of furniture, intended to be both visible and appreciated. While the exterior can be designed to fit public requirements or expectations, the interior is always a unique and personalized work of art. Interior spaces can be open, airy, and light-filled or cozy interior chambers made more comfortable by the warmth of the timbers.

In this excerpt, you'll visit an expansive timberframe in southwestern Colorado.

Since 1974, Tedd Benson, owner of Benson Woodworking in Alstead Center, New Hampshire, has built more than 500 timberframe buildings. Benson is a founder of the Timber Framers Guild of North America and author of The Timber-Frame Home: Design, Construction, Finishing, published by The Taunton Press.

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