Locally Sourced Timber
Building a timber frame begins with selecting the perfect timber. Hamill Creek ensures that all of their products are engineered from responsibly and ethically harvested wood sources. British Columbia is one of the world leaders in Sustainable Forest Management and is known for its abundant population of Douglas Fir, Larch, Spruce, Western Red Cedar, and many more species.
Once the timber has been harvested, it needs to be dried. There are two main methods: air-drying and kiln drying.
- Air-Drying: This natural method of drying involves stacking the over-sized timbers and dividing each layer by 4” dunages. A natural drying process takes place and once this process is complete, the over-sized timbers are planed down to the correct size, removing most of the surface checking (splits) and twisting that may have occurred.
- Kiln Drying: The process of kiln drying consists of introducing heat. This may be directly, using natural gas and/or electricity, or indirectly, through steam-heated heat exchangers (although solar energy is also possible). In the process, deliberate control of temperature, relative humidity, and air circulation is provided to give conditions at various stages (moisture contents or times) of drying the timber to achieve effective drying. For this purpose, the timber is stacked in chambers, called wood drying kilns, which are fitted with equipment for manipulation and control of the temperature and the relative humidity of the drying air and its circulation rate through the timber stack (Walker et al., 1993; Desch and Dinwoodie, 1996).
Timber frame engineering requires the careful calculation of loads, which considers the location, environment, and use of the building. While most timber frames are built using traditional wood joinery, Hamill Creek Timber Homes can also use decorative steel connection plates when building a timber frame if desired.
Building a Timber Frame
The Hundegger K2 5-Axis Timber Processor uses Computer Numerical Control technology to convert a timber frame design into numbers. The machine then automatically cuts the timbers, which allows us to significantly increase capacity and thereby drastically reduce lead times when building a timber frame. This technology, mixed with 20 years of handcutting experience and equipment, allows Hamill Creek Timber Homes to craft anything from hand-notched reclaimed timber to newly sawn precision-cut timber components. It also gives us the ability to engineer specialty designs, such as curved timbers.
In preparation for shipment, all timber frames and components are test fit to ensure that installation is efficient and that the quality reflects the reputation of Hamill Creek Timber Homes. After the test fit is complete, timber frames are disassembled, finished, planed, stained, and packaged for shipping.
One of the most exciting steps in timber frame engineering is to raise the timber frame building. Once the floor of the home has been installed, the timber frame is delivered and the pieces are assembled into sections or “bents” using hardwood pegs. With the assistance of a crane, the bents are tilted into place and then individual timbers are installed to connect the standing bents to each other.
A time-lapse video of a raising done in Pincher Creek, Alberta, can be seen here.
We also engineer custom orders for siding, trim, moulding, fascia, and flooring, as well as stunning staircases and railings. From our sawmill to our timberwrights shop, we use a unique blend of twenty first century technology and old world craftsmanship in our timber frame building style.