Ultimately, the showpiece of a timber frame home is the wood. As you begin the process of designing your new home, choosing a species for the frame will be one of your first decisions.
There are structural factors that affect the decision, particularly with large homes, based on support loads and distance of spans (for windows, doors, etc.). Considerations include: shrinking, strength, warping and workability. Black Canyon Builders will guide you through that process.
For the most part, however, wood choice will come down to your preferred aesthetic. With a Woodhouse timber frame, you can choose from Southern yellow pine, white pine, Douglas fir, oak, or reclaimed wood.
Southern yellow Pine (Pinus spp.): Southern yellow pine is similar is structural strength and grain pattern to Douglas fir, yet is a fraction of the cost. It’s our best selling material. It is primarily sourced from FSC-certifie plantations and is a sustainable, fast-growing wood. The finish is blond in color with a tight straight grain that looks clean and light.
White pine (Pinus strobus): White pine tends to be the most preferred species for timber framing. It is easy to work with, shrinks very little and stays quite straight as it dries. Aesthetically, white pine ranges from creamy-white to deep tan, darkening as it ages. It is relatively free of knots.
A note on Blue Stain: White pine is susceptible to a fungus called Blue Stain, that develops in the wood just after it is cut. The result of a Blue Stain affected timber is a blue, stripy patina. It doesn’t impact the strength or integrity of the timber, but rather adds aesthetic interest. It has come to represent a desirable look in finish carpentry and cabinetry, particularly.
Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii): Douglas fir is easy to work with and has a high load capacity. This means, it is a good option for larger structures. Aesthetically, Douglas fir has a warm, orange-ish coloring with uniform longitudinal striations. It is widely appreciated for how beautifully it ages.
Oak (Quercus spp.): Several types of oak are used in timber framing. It is of the more expensive options, because its strength and density make it more challenging to work with (than other often used species) and heavier to transport. However, its strength lends well to supporting heavy loads and allows for smaller timbers, if desired. Aesthetically, there is significant color variation and patterning, and it’s often preferred by those going for a traditional look.
Reclaimed timbers: If you desire to use reclaimed timbers we can do that too. Reclaimed timbers are sourced from all over the country and come from old homes and dismantled industrial buildings. The character and stability of reclaimed lumber is distinctive, often laden with signs of heavy use and of storied pasts that lend to great party conversations. Sizes and species vary, with costs being more than new timbers. A natural aged patina is typical, however these timbers can also be cleaned, planed, or stained to your taste.
Cracks and Grade: All large timbers will form “checks,” or notable cracks along the grain. In all but the most rare of cases, checks do not impact the stability or integrity of the timber.
Timber grading represents the structural strength (and consequently the appearance) of the wood. Factors that determine grade are: knot size and number, fungal rot and breaks in the wood. Woodhouse uses only the highest grade and specification in the industry.