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Frequently Asked Questions

What is timber framing?
Timber Framing is the age old craft of using heavy timbers, traditional joinery and wooden pegs to create unique handcrafted structures. Timber Framing has a history that is many centuries old and was widely used in Northern Europe before being brought to America by early settlers. One of the oldest timber frame structures in North America was built in 1637 and is still in use today. As one of the oldest, and most enduring, forms of wood construction timber framing combines precision joinery with heavy timber to create function, structure and pleasing aesthetics inside your home.

Can your company general contract my whole project?
Yes, but we chose not to general contract complete projects so that we may concentrate on timber/log framing. Please see our links page for a list of general contractors that we recommend.

My builder/architect says that timber framing is expensive and we can just lag bolt or use steel brackets to join the timbers together.
We avoid using such methods unless the engineering or aesthetic intention of the project can not be solved with wood joinery. The use of exposed steel plates with numerous through bolts is not necessarily cheaper or structurally superior to traditional timber framing. Many truss designs that we receive show numerous lag bolts that must be countersunk and plugged when a simple yet effective mortise and tenon joint would suffice. Of course we can, and have assembled trusses with steel gussets, bolted joinery, decorative steel fasteners and brackets at the clients" request. We are more than willing to do this and have certified welders on staff with the ability to produce these components in our shop.

Does your company produce full house plans or have plan book?
No, we can recommend architects who we work with to help you design your plan. Please see our links page for further information on architects.

Where are you located?
Our offices and shops are located @ 12615 Gooch Hill Rd Suites E and F Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 584, Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730.

Our projected is not located near your office would you be willing to travel to our site? Yes, we have completed projects in the past all over the Rocky Mountain West.

What is "hybrid" timber framing?
Hybrid timber framing is where we combine timber framing details into your conventionally framed house instead of building a complete timber frame home. In reality it's what we find most of our clients want these days. The typical client wants a series of trusses and purlins in their great room, exterior knee braces, front entry trusses, and exterior post and deck headers.

What kind of wood do you use? Is reclaimed timber available?
We do use reclaimed (recycled from defunct buildings, bridges, etc.) timber in our products, both "as is" and re-sawn. "As is" reclaimed is where the timbers are used with the patina left on them with only light pressure washing and the surface metal removed. Re-sawn timbers are reclaimed material milled to expose the cleaner, aged wood for use. Due to its" recent popularity, and the relative scarcity of larger size beams, reclaimed applications are generally less cost-effective than a new wood alternative. We often use new, air dried or radio frequency kiln dried Douglas Fir timbers in our work. Our suppliers hand-pick select timbers graded not only for their structural integrity, but also for overall appearance (clear grained, knotty, etc.). The process they go through insures a structurally superior and visually cleaner product. We have the contacts and resources to acquire whatever timber the client chooses from white oak to Alaskan yellow cedar. We can also source siding, tongue and groove, flooring, glue-lams and other wood products.

What is "Radio frequency kiln dried Timber"?
Radio frequency kiln dried timber (RFKD) is a relatively new method of drying large timbers. The advantages of this method are as follows:

Even, penetrative RF heating ensures that the entire cross section of wood dries evenly and yields even moisture distribution from the surface of the timber to the core.

Stress free drying at considerably lower temperatures reduces checking substantially.

The timbers are restrained during the dying process to prevent the wood from moving during the process nearly eliminating twist, bow, cup, crook, and warp.

There is no chemical oxidation, heat discoloration, or brown stain during the dying process, RFKD wood retains its natural patina similar to the appearance of freshly sawn wood.


My architect has some terms on my plans that I don't understand, could you explain to me what these are?
Beam: a main horizontal member

Knee Braces: smaller timbers placed diagonally between posts and beams for support.

Collar Tie: a timber placed horizontally between the rafters that control spreading or sagging of the rafters.

Rafters: closely and regularly spaced timbers that support the roof covering.

Joist: smaller horizontal timbers parallel to each other to support the floor or deck.

King Post: a central vertical post extending from the lower chord of the truss to the junction of the upper chords.

Queen post: a vertical post in a roof truss that rest on the lower chord and helps support the upper chord.

Purlin: a horizontal rafter that runs either between or on top of the trusses.

Housing: a shallow mortise or cavity that receives the end of a timber, usually coupled with a smaller deeper mortise that accepts the tenon tying the joint together.

Joinery: the craft of connection and securing the separate members of the timbers together by means of specific cuts on the ends/sides of the timbers.

Mortise and Tenon: any joint consisting of a projection (tenon) on the end of the timber and a corresponding slot (mortise) on the other.

Peg: a hardwood dowel usually ranging from 5/8 to 2 inches in diameter.

Scarf Joint: A specialized joint used to splice two timbers together.

Hand Hewn: A timber that has been squared off and shaped by hand

Rough Sawn: lumber and timber that has not been planned

S4S: A timber that has all four surfaces planned.


PO Box 584 | Gallatin Gateway, MT 59730 ph: 406.219.4053 | fax: 406.763.4819