Timber Framing Terms

Working with green wood

As a craft tradition, Timber Framing has utilized green wood — in this case, meaning freshly-cut or still living — since its inception. Throughout the ages, carpenters refined a system of joinery to work with live wood. Joinery, as the name suggests, is a method of bringing and holding timbers together.

Using various species of green wood keeps our local economy vibrant by supporting smaller scale sawyers, and all others who make their living from our forests. Millions of Timber Frame structures from the twelfth century onward have been joined in green wood and are still in active use today.

Being joined in green wood means these timbers go through transformations as they dry. Drawpinning, or drawboring, keeps everything in place. This is the process in which the craftsman drills holes in the timbers and sets pegs in them, offsetting one peg, called the tenon peg, from another peg, called the mortice peg. This allows the peg to draw the joint tight and hold it tight throughout the drying process.

As you can imagine, these little pegs need to be strong, so we make them by hand to ensure that they are. Using a club, froe and shaving horse, we rive pegs from billets. Riving or splitting keeps the long grain of the peg intact, affording it the most strength.