Home » Timber Frame Talk Radio » Episode 6 – Getting to the Heart of Timber Species with Will Beemer

Episode 6 – Getting to the Heart of Timber Species with Will Beemer

In this episode we talk with Will Beemer from the Heartwood School about the different timber species that  Timber Speciesone can choose for their timber frame projects as well as the pros and cons of each one in a lightning round event.  Will also talk in-depth about the process that he goes through to choose the species for his projects.

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Questions and Notes

  • So, lets start off and get into the meat and potatoes of our discussion with the basics of what the difference between hardwoods such as oak as opposed to softwood such as pine or Doug fir?
  • I would like to put the listeners in your head for a few minutes and give them your thought process for deciding what timber species to use in a timber frame, can you walk us through your process.
    • Availability
    • Appearance and style
    • Moisture Content
    • Durability
    • Workability
    • Strength
  • The biggest question in some folk’s minds may be the actual different types of timbers.  So I thought that we could run down a short list of the most popular timber species and get a little commentary on the pros and cons of each one from you.
    • Eastern White Pine
    • Doug Fir
    • Cypress
    • Cedar
    • Southern Yellow Pine
    • Red Oak
    • White Oak
    • Any others

Just to let folks know,  I met Will during a week at the Heartwood school, taking the compound joinery class – one that I would recommend to everyone. This was an extremely enjoyable week for me, actually taking some time off and doing it during a vacation and did enjoy learning the traditional method for laying out compound joinery and making new friends some that I still see at Guild events eight years later.  I even went relatively on the cheap – sleeping in the back of my pickup truck at the local state park.

  • Can you tell us a little bit about the history of the Heartwood school and how it came into existence?
  • I mentioned a couple classes for what other types of programs and classes do you offer?
  • Anything special happening this year or something this past year that is a highlight for you and the school.
A little bit about the Will Beemer taken from the Heartwood School website:
Will Beemer is one of the directors of Heartwood programs. Will helps teach many of our courses and has been designing and building houses for over 40 years. He has been a construction foreman at the Arcosanti project in Arizona, design instructor at Cornell, and served as co-Executive Director of the Timber Framers Guild for eleven years. He has organized and taught building workshops around the world, including timber framing courses at Palomar College in San Diego, North House Folk School and at the Colorado State University Mountain Campus. He has written for Fine Homebuilding, Joiner’s Quarterly, Wood Design & Building, and Timber Framing 

Episode 6 – Timber Frame Talk Radio

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