Dwight Smith is President and owner of Hamill Creek Timber Homes Ltd. They are located in Meadow Creek, at the north end of Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, Canada. Hamill Creek is a timber frame company that designs and builds timber frame structures, and delivers them throughout North America. The process starts in the forests that surround their area, which produce some of the best Douglas Fir and Cedar that can be found in North America.
We asked Dwight how he got started with timber framing, and he told us: “As a young carpenter I had an opportunity to build a barn for a client that had timbers supporting the roof. While researching ways to join the timbers in this barn, I stumbled upon timber frame construction. I was instantly intrigued by the beauty and sensibility of this method of construction and this started me on a path to learning more about timber framing. After cutting the large mortise & tenon joints and assembling this barn with pegged joinery I became hooked, a timber frame convert and instant believer that this form of construction was both a better way to build homes, and at the same time demonstrated the craft of building in a very pleasing way.”
As Dwight continues, “From there, working in my garage with one employee, we had an opportunity to build a small timber frame home. One timber frame led to another and then another. Seeing people embrace the craft and get so excited about this type of construction was truly inspiring . Our business rapidly grew and evolved into a company that today employs more than 40 people. It is very exciting and lots of fun to see employees inspired and proud of their work, and have the opportunity to work with clients so appreciative of this age old craft.”
With more than 25 years specializing in the design and crafting of timber frames, Hamill Creek’s skilled team can handle any size project, big or small. Their motto is: “If it can be drawn we can build it “ They operate their own sawmill, which produces all the timber and lumber that goes into their projects. As Dwight says, “We have a very experienced design team that works directly with our clients or other architects to design timber frames for small cottages, homes, lodges, churches, bridges and many other types of structures. Using a combination of leading edge technology and traditional timber framing techniques, our highly skilled timber frame craftsman shape, join, fit, and finish the timbers, readying them to be delivered and installed anywhere in the world.”
One of Dwight’s proudest accomplishments was building a timber frame lodge in a very remote and spectacular mountain setting, with helicopter access only. The building site was at the base of a glacier in British Columbia, and due to weather at high elevations they had a very short window to start and complete the project. The remote setting offered many challenges, from the logistics of moving material in mountain weather conditions, mobilizing crews & equipment , to keeping their crews camped out all summer . With all the challenges they faced, his crew persevered and together they built and delivered this amazing timber frame lodge on top of a mountain both on time and within budget.
Dwight told us, “Raising or installing a timber frame home is always one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of this job. Seeing all the many pieces assembled and lifted into place and come together is a truly rewarding experience for everyone involved. It is always a special and proud moment to have the many home owners truly appreciate and celebrate this time with our crew, and being there for this occasion. It makes all of us proud to be part of building their home.”
Every timber frame shop experiences challenging projects. One of Hamill Creek’s most memorable was a large commercial structure using round logs. The challenge was using traditional timber joinery techniques to work with irregularly shaped timber pieces. When completed, the project filled 10 shipping containers, which were then shipped across the Pacific Ocean to a resort island. There, Hamill Creek’s crew assembled the timber frame and the large roof was then covered with traditional African thatch grass. The finished product highlighted a truly spectacular timber roof.
Dwight believes in the importance of pre-planning to eliminate pain points in timber frame building. In his experience, any complications in the construction process are usually design related. He says, “Having an experienced timber frame designer involved at the early stages of any design will both enhance how the timber frame is integrated with the overall building design and offer solutions and details that make construction simpler. “
Want to find out more about Hamill Creek Timber Homes Ltd? Here is their contact information.
PO Box 151, 134440 Hwy 31, Meadow Creek V0G1N0
Toll free: 1-888-713-1800, Phone: 250-366-4320
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