Round Logs, Square Joints

April 9, 2020 by Charles Rollins

Here at TimberHomes we do a little bit of everything, but we typically use “square-rule” layout method to produce our timber frames. This is an American tradition of utilizing the “perfect timber within.” This evolved from the abundance of tall and straight timber found in the minimally disturbed old growths forests of the new world. Most early American framers came from European countries where all of the straight timbers had already been cut down or had been reserved for ship masts, leaving them to utilize curved and often irregular timber to produce a uniform structure. “Scribe- rule” is still the most common way of building with curved timbers. We relish the opportunity to work natural shapes into our work, but, sometimes it doesn’t fit into the budget. A wonderful example of scribe rule can be found in this video and this project page.

One of the frames we’re working on in the Montpelier shop right now utilizes timbers that are partially milled where the joints are going to be cut, but are left round everywhere else. This will allow us to utilize the speed of square rule layout, while still having the natural look of round timbers. We are lucky work with such a talented sawyer. Stay tuned to see how these turn out!