More Timber Framing Q and A Answers


So we are moving along with answering the questions of the viewers and we will be posting more answers as we go.  These videos ans articles are a great way to get to know you the viewers and for you folks to get to know me.  So here are some more answers in long form.

Dave W wrote:

“….Scarf Joints!  What is the point?  Is it to prevent longitudinal movement and at the same time to give support to the farthest part of the beam from a post?  What is the reason behind the angle and the other dimensions?…”

Those are some great questions and these joints are critical to understand when doing one of these frames.  As I stated in the video there was a time in this country and in many parts of the world where a builder could find pretty much any length of log that was needed to cut pretty much any length of beam needed for a building.  It is not uncommon to go through New England and find some of the original buildings still standing that have some massive plates sometimes that are 60 to 80 feet long with no scarfs.  As the timbers were cut to build and to heat, the old growth forests that were found throughout the world started to disappear and smaller timbers had to be used for these buildings.

Enter the scarf joint.  The scarf joint revolutionized timber building and solved the issues of the smaller timbers.  The point of a scarf joint is to join two shorter timbers together and make them act as one.  There are specific measurements for the joint, such as the length of the joint.  The length of the scarf joint is determined by the depth of the beam or post that you are working with.  The length of the joint is cut either three or four times the depth of the joint.  The tie beam scarf joints in my build are cut at 48″ long, the depth of the beam is 16″.

Now there are several styles of scarfs out there, some that are great and some that are not so great.  I like to use the examples that were used in the ancient frames used throughout Europe.  I figure if those structures are still standing today then there might be some quality joinery in them.


If you have any questions on what we are doing here, feel free to send an email, comment on the videos or comment here.  I am more than willing to explain, if you are somebody who sees a better way to what we are doing here, I am always living to listen to feedback and suggestions.

With that said you can look forward to more answers in the coming days.

Thanks for reading,

Jim the Tradesman

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